Geophysical logging for mineral exploration and development

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 74, No. 828, 1981

ROGER D. PLOUFFE, Uranerz Exploration and Mining Limited, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, ROGER D. PLOUFFE

In today's mining industry, it is possible to retrieve, from small-diameter holes, geophysical data for qualitative interpretation in exploration and quantitative interpretation in the development of orebodies. The primary objectives in the exploration stage are to identify where, within a hole, economic minerals are, and to help in lithological interpretations. Other aspects, which are more quantitative, are the interpretation of downhole logs for parameters which can be used in surface geophysical methods (i.e. density for gravity surveys, acoustic velocities for seismic surveys, and magnetic susceptibility for airborne and ground magnetic surveys). Recent advances in equipment design, portability and durability have made downhole logging in exploration more inexpensive and reliable. This new equipment is being used to generate very precise quantitative results. This is especially true on uranium development projects. The interpretation of gamma logs for eU3O8 values has finally become precise enough that they have begun to replace chemical values in reserve calculations. Another part of development data is density and equilibrium information, which, with today's technology, is being derived from downhole probing. In the years to come, the trends for many metals are toward neutron activation techniques, or "in-situ assaying", and the use of multiple logs for better lithological and physical rock property determinations.
Keywords: Exploration, Geophysical exploration, Logging, Downhole logging, Uranium exploration, Radioactive logging, Electrical logging, Magnetic logging, Spontaneous potential, Resistivity, Induced polarization, Acoustic logs, Caliper logs, Temperature logs, Gamma-ray logging, Neutron logging.