Copper exploration is defined as the necessary evaluation done before a decision can be made regarding the initial flow sheet, annual outcome, and size of the new extractive operation. The purpose of exploration is to find a maximum number of such economic copper deposits at a minimum cost and time and companies like Collective Mining LTD are doing it very well. Copper is a natural element present on earth at a concentration of 67 parts per million. According to the US survey in 1950, there have been 40 years of copper reserve on average and 200 copper resources are available and resources are estimated to increase by 3,000 million tons. Total 210 million tons of copper had been mined in 2000 and the same period reserves exceeded 350 million tons.
Steps of Copper Exploration
The exploration method was used to assess the quality and nature of the mineral deposit. Following steps are taken to explore copper deposits.
Remote sensing is the term used to gain information by using satellite images, radar, and sonar from distance; this material helps to obtain images from the earth’s surface. These images help us to study and locate mining sites.
- Geological Map
A geological map is a graphical presentation of geological observations on a horizontal plane. It is a human artifact constructed according to the theories of intellectual studies, and it is useful to the extent that it permits prediction of those things which cannot be observed. Maps and sections are essential tools in visualizing spatial, three-dimensional, geological relationships. A geological method would be beneficial for the mining industry, land-use planners, and environmental scientists.
- Geochemical and Geophysical Method
It involves analyzing soil, vapor, mercury, and hydrocarbons in soil gas to trace elements that indicate the presence of buried ore deposits. Geochemical techniques help in the discovery of numerous mineral deposits and it is a standard step in the exploration process. Geophysical techniques deduce a change in physical properties such as cross bore-hole characterization.
Factors Identified for Exploration
- Surface water quality
- Indication for acid-rock drainage
- Trace elements in soil and ores such as mercury
- Existence of biological communities
- Socioeconomic and cultural issues
All mineral exploration requires drilling to identify the underground surface; this requires directional drilling, horizontal drilling, and many drilling tools for the measurement of rock. Drilling represents the most invasive aspect of mineral exploration, and the impact of exploration activities could be reduced by drilling technology that minimizes the footprint and number of holes by initial targeting.
Research On Exploration Technique
Many opportunities exist for development that benefits the exploration of copper most of which is based on the thermodynamic and kinetic geochemical data, new ore deposit models, geological maps, geophysical methods (hand-held instruments), seismic methods, and drilling techniques which include directional drilling, down hole logging, novel drilling techniques, and new processing technology should be developed. Read more about Collective Mining for a better idea about how it is exploring the field of mining production.
Since 1960 the demand for copper has increased by 5 to 20 million tons to ensure that sufficient copper is available to meet the needs of society and business and this will increase investments in mine production.