A Computer-Assisted National Coal Inventory

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 71, No. 794, 1978

J. A. Irvine and G. D. Williams, Institute of Sedimentary and Petroleum Geology, University of Alberta, Calgary, Alta.

In 1972, a cooperative program to map and estimate the quantity of Tertiary coal resources in southern Saskatchewan was initiated by the federal and Saskatchewan governments. More than 700 exploratory boreholes were drilled over a two-year period, and data were obtained from other organizations on an additional 1500 boreholes in the area. Strati-graphic data and data on each coal seam penetrated in the boreholes, along with technical and location data for each borehole, were stored in a computer data base for convenience of retrieval, modification and manipulation. Programs and program packages were developed or adapted to: (1) select borehole information defined by variable retrieval parameters from the data base; (2) calculate derived information, such as overburden ratios, cumulative net coal thicknesses, mean weighted center of gravity of coal seams in each borehole, etc., from the selected data; (3) produce posting maps of either selected data or calculated information in various combinations at variable scales on a plotter or CRT display; (4) produce contoured structure, isopach or ratio maps, and perspective diagrams as appropriate, utilizing plotter or CRT display; (5) calculate and categorize quantities of coal in place within user-defined "mineability-economic-reliability" limits. The emphasis in computer utilization was placed on geological credibility of the results and ease of operation by relatively untrained geological personnel, resulting in extensive use of interactive methods. The single most important benefit derived from using computer-assisted procedures is the ability to produce new maps and quantity estimates rapidly and inexpensively as a result of availability of new data or/and changes in external criteria which impose economic or mineability constraints.
Mots Clés: Coal, inventory, Computer applications, Exploration, Boreholes, Data collection, Resource estimates.