A series of tests using deep-penetration technology in Western Australia could prove to be a game changer for the minerals exploration sector.
Brisbane-based company Gap Geophysics commissioned the trials, which involved the use of a helicopter-borne detection system (bird) and a ground-based two-tonne high-powered geophysical transmitter.
The trial survey took place at the geophysics test range in Forrestania, around 80k from Wave Rock in WA’s Wheatbelt region.
The technique, called Low Frequency HeliSAM, is the latest advancement in the innovative Sub-Audio Magnetics (SAM) series of technologies for the company, which includes SAM and SAMSON.
Gap chief executive officer Malcolm Cattach said the system would revolutionise the way explorers think about large-scale, deep penetration surveys because the company had made them technically possible and increased cost effectiveness.
“Exploration companies will get significantly more data from a much smaller investment. We predict it could cut surveying time by half and will save companies millions of dollars, particularly in relation to the knock-on costs of completing an exploration project,” Cattach said.
“HeliSAM also allows us to survey the sub-surface for minerals which might be hosted as far as 1km underground.”
Cattach said data could be accessed extremely quickly – often within one day – as opposed to the usual several weeks if ground surveying.
“This test is the latest advancement after 25 years of development and hard work. For exploration companies, it provides a means to explore vast areas of prospective ground and reduces the overall expense of surveys, ensuring a quicker, easier and more cost-effective alternative,” he said.
“The Forrestania site is a large electro-magnetic (EM) trial site which we’ve previously accessed to test our SAMSON and SAM technology.”
“The terrain is rough with lots of gullies and cliffs, which would be dangerous and labour-intensive work for ground surveying. The option of using Low Frequency HeliSAM not only speeds up the process, but may significantly reduce the risks.
“It means that exploration companies will be able to survey far more land for their budget.”