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Geological and Chemical Methods Used in Prospecting

Discuss about the Policy Change and Industry Associability.

Prospecting is the search for mineral deposits that are economically exploitable with various activities such as collection of fossils, looking for ore indications, sediments, and panning (Arkhipov 2011, p. 618). According to (Tsokhas 2017), mineral prospecting involves determining of mineral contents within the area where mining will probably take place and taking the samples for analysis. Prospecting aids in searching for mineral deposits. During prospecting, geologist uses different methods to point out mineral targets such as geological surface mapping, geochemical analysis, and geophysical measurements.

Mineral exploration is a progressive process of collecting information to assess the possibility of minerals being found in a given with activities such as material sampling and evaluating. According to Syed, Grafton, Kalirajan, and Parham (2015), mineral exploration is an intensive procedure of mineral prospecting that involves the use of geological, geophysical and chemical methods. According to Ryan 2015), mineral exploration checks the mineral potential of the mine area and its worthiness of being explored further.

To be in a position to get critical information that facilitates coming up with reports that validates the existence of mineral resources (Kellow & Simms 2013, p. 461). Exploration reports facilitate the issuance of operational permits, licenses, and leases from relevant government authorities so that the mining project can be put under environmental assessment (Cardoso Takano et al. 2016). To enable carrying out of accurate compensation for the effects that the mining operation may cause to the lives and properties of the affected residents. Mineral exploration also facilitates appropriate rehabilitation platforms for the affected residents. Syed, Grafton, Kalirajan and Parham (2015),  assert that exploration process allows the mineral exploration company to provide appropriate medical facilities for residents who will be affected, training for jobs so that the residents can be suitable for employment in the company. Exploration aims at ensuring that there is a determination of mineral quality and quantity of minerals before mining. Through exploration, reports produced will govern the depth that needs to be mined, and the areas to ensure that there is a maximum return on the investments being made (Scott 2010). Exploration provides public with knowledge through the reports from exploration.

Carrying out an economic survey before the acquisition is critical because the extraction should provide profits to the mining company. Through examining financial risks to be in a position of knowing the possibility of the variance in the actual revenues and the anticipated revenues at investment time. The economic approach entails economic risks that the exact production cost and mineral price that’s expected don't concur. Checking on the geological factor to be ensured the presence of mineral deposits in the region, their quality, and quantities. Kellow and Simms (2013) note that geological risks can be put into question like the likelihood of mineral deposits being in existence. Analyzing of technical factors to be in a position to know if the mineral can be mined with existing technology or adoption of future technologies. It is appropriate to be cognizant if there are technical mining problems that are not anticipated with the extraction of the mineral ore processing. Social, political and environmental influences of the mineral deposit area should be checked if the mineral to be extracted in line with the state’s guidelines for protection of the environment. Minerals are supposed to be obtained in ways that the local community prefers because the risks are the possibility and extent of the environmental dilapidation that will affect the local community (Kellow & Simms 2013).








Dart Mining NL (Mining of gold,  lithium, silver)

Lala Seven Pty Ltd

Geological setting Corryong. Mode of gold formed through metamorphic reactions that release quartz, carbonates, and oxides. Silver is formed through dissolusion of brine in earth’s crut where thaere are hot temperatures where they are collected up to earth surface through vents as hot brine. The hot brine comes into contact with cold sea water where they precipitate as mixture of sulphide  (Heenetigala et al. 2015).

Gold (Quatz rock), Silver (argentite, chlorargyrite and galena)

Gold is used in jewelry, dentistry and medicine. Gold is also used in the making of monuments, statues and headstones. Silver is used in manufacture of jewellery, in medicine industry, electrical contacts in, solar panels,chemical production of formaldehyde, mirrors  and glass.


Kagara Ltd (Mining of copper and zinc-lead)

Consolidated Tin Mines

Geological setting Maitland. Mode of copper formation of ore bodies formed in underground magma hydrothermal veins through which heat escapes (Cardoso Takano et al. 2016). Through compression, sand and mud are compressed forming sedimentary rock where copper ore gets trapped.

Copper (Chalcopyrite, Tetrahedraite, Digenite, Covellite, Malachte, Cuprite, and Tennantite ), Zinc-lead (marl, dolomite and limestone)

Copper is used is used in manufacture of electric cables, roofing material, jewellery, coins and industrial machinery. Also used in fertilizer and insecticides manufacture. Zinc-lead is used in galvanizing of other metals, die-castings production, production of alloys (of silver, nickel and aluminium)

New South Wales

Rio Tinto Coal Australia

(Mining of coal)

Aluminum Corporation of China

Geological setting Mount Thorley Warkworth, Hunter Valley. Mode of formation is through oxidation of vegetable mater in water and carbon dioxide forming peat. Peat is subjected to pressure that form sediments called lignite (Kellow & Simms 2013). Additional pressure forms bituminous coal which is soft coal. Combined temperature and pressure leads to formation of anthracite which is hard coal.


Thermal coal is majorly used in power generation and metallurgical coal used majorly in production of steel. Coal is used in pharmaceutical industries in making of creosote oil, aspirin, phenol and benzene. Manufacturing of paper. Bituminus coal is used for production of coke

Western Australia

Fortescue Metals Group

(Mining of iron)

Nev Power

Geological setting Pilbara. Mode of formation is through precipitation of silica and iron, which result in chert deposition.

Sedimentary rocks from oxide group hematite, hematite and goathite

Manufacture of steel and metallurgical products like auto parts, magnets and catalyst. Production of tools, automobiles, and building structures

Used in the medical industries in maintaining of bones and teeth. Iron is used in production of iron chloride used in sewerage treatment and colorant for paints, feed additives and textiles. It is incorporated in insecticides as iron arsenate.

South Australia

Oz Minerals Ltd (Mining of copper)

DFA International

Geological setting Prominent Hill Mine.  Mode of copper formation of ore bodies formed in underground magma hydrothermal veins through which heat escapes. Through compression, sand and mud are copmresed forming sedimentary rock where copper ore gets trapped.

Chalcopyrite, Tetrahedraite, Digenite, Covellite, Malachte, Cuprite, and Tennantite  

Copper is used is used in manufacture of electric cables, roofing material, jewellery, coins and industrial machinery. Coper is ued in jacketing of small armunitions, the pharmaceutical industry in cancer therapies and antimicrobial doorknobs. Making of clockwares, statues and musical instruments such as horns, saxophones, trumpets and trombones. Also used in fertilizer and insecticides manufacture.

Importance of Exploration Reports and Benefits

Prospecting and exploring Greenfields tend to rely on the predictive power of ore genesis frameworks with the aim of finding the mineral deposits in unexplored environments where their existence is not well known (Ferguson, Pündrich, & Raftery 2014, p. 143). The process thus requires the geologist to with the conceptual idea of the mineral deposit to make an attempt of exploration in the site (Chalabi 2014, P. 117). The process involves activities such as ground-based geophysical and geological survey and prospecting as well as the determination of the drill targets as grassroots explorations. However, advanced exploration comes with clearly defined mineral resources since there is a reasonable prospect that can be developed in standalone mines (Beltrán, Hacker, & Begun 2016, P. 494). In carrying out the process in places that adjoin national parks and reserves with species and artifacts therein require essential strategies that will be in line with the regulations. The procedure is aimed at ensuring that no harm is imposed on the species of animal within the area as a result of the mining activities.

According to Chalabi (2014), environmental rehabilitation and protection are under the Mining Act regulation for every operation through a standard condition and endorsements on various granted mineral titles. The conditions under the environmental protection act are placed only on granted rights with the aim of minimizing any injury or negative impact on the environment and resources therein (Ferguson, Pündrich, & Raftery 2014, p. 164). The requirements of security bonds and rehabilitation plans should thus be imposed in areas adjoining parks before the commencing of any mining activity. The aim of the environmental law is not only to protect the species but also minimize any activity that may directly or indirectly pose a danger within the specific locality.

In many cases, mining and exploration activities are regulated at the territory and state levels (Najjar & Levy 2016, P. 86). It is because some federal laws tend to affect the mining activities including native title rights, taxation, environmental protection, occupation health, and safety, as well as employment (Simms 2013, p. 41). However, these laws tend to have a common goal irrespective of the federal jurisdiction therein.  For instance, it is also necessary that an environmental impact assessment (EIA) before the exploration process begin (Ntui 2017, P. 1541). The EIA process should be detailed enough to report on all the necessary aspects. These include a feasibility study on the proposed measures of environmental protection from both commercial and technical perspectives.  The economic cost-benefit analysis is also necessary on the proposals and the construction site to enable effective environmental survey and supervision. These processes will make it easy for the analysis, assessment, and pre-evaluation of the possible impacts of the exploration and mining process and the related facilities within the prospected area.

Economic Survey and Geological Risks Assessment

It is also necessary to have an exploration license before granting the mining process once a mineral source is identified and professionally confirmed (Najjar & Levy 2016, P. 86). According to the study, a mining lease is granted when a tenant holder demonstrates his capability of proceeding with the commercial development of the mining process and possesses all the relevant technical skills and financial capability to undertake the process. The law is essential in ensuring the holder has carried out the relevant environmental, native title, and community consultations and negotiations (Mate 2013, p. 465). In the process, there will be a clear knowledge of the jurisdictional duties necessary to carry out a mining process near a national park. Such a mining firm can thus be held responsible for any misconduct or harm to the species of animals therein.

Competent persons according to JORC are persons mandated to give public reports of results from mineral exploration, ore reserves and mineral resources whereby their commentary should be grounded and mirror on JORC code. The competent person usually must be a member of   Australian Institute of Geoscientists, Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy or a recognized organization that is professional (Cardoso Takano et al. 2016). Competent persons have five or more appropriate experience in the type of minerals that need to be extracted, and when they have any doubts during reporting then they seek guidance from their relevant experienced counterparts, or they don’t act as the competent persons (Heenetigala 2015).

Persons mandated by JORC should be capable of disclosing any conflict of interest in line with the transparency principle. If the reports are made to Autsralian Securities Exchange (ASX), and or other stock exchanges, it will ruminate rules of the stock exchange and those of JORC Code.

When the reporting of the geological exploration program is carried out by competent persons, then the report will be following the JORC code of practice. The code of practice sets the lowest standards for reporting of results from mineral resources, ore reserves and exploration (Syed, Grafton, Kalirajan and Parham 2015). The geological exploration program will be capable of providing grouping systems of the mineral extraction, ore reserves, and mineral resources following levels of assurance in geological technical and understanding considerations. Through the report by competent persons, investors are informed appropriately with information such as exploration results, public presentations and ore reserves and mineral estimates. The reports that are JORC compliant are usually guided by three fundamental principles which include competence, transparency, and materiality. JORC principles ensure that JORC compliant reports are clear with presentations that are precise, with all expected reasonable information and the work done by a competent person (Kellow & Simms 2013).

Environmental Impacts and Regulations on Mining Activities

If the results are taken by a competent person, then the geological exploration program is JORC compliant. Hence, the report will contain the additional requirements for exploration results. Other provisions will be inclusive of maps and diagrams that represent the geological environment setting which include drill hole collar sites and suitable sectional views. In the reporting that are made public, when there are changes in the ore reserve approximations that are viewed to be significant, or when there are substantial variations from the last reporting. Then, there must be a provision of summary and explanation of the changes. Sa?uga, Sobczyk, and Kicki (2015) denote that, when there are changes in material, when there is a first public reporting, there is usually need to have transparent discussions of the new ore reserve approximations for the company or developers to have the updated information.

If the results are JORC acquiescent, then it will have to report on all unresolved issues. When there is doubt, then there will be too much of information being provided rather than too little by the competent person. There should be expose of doubts in listed criteria that have possibilities of having overstatement or understatement of ore reserves. Unsettled matters that impact dependability of ore reserve statements, e.g., ambiguity in permitting process, insufficient and geothermical information are also reported (Sa?uga, Sobczyk & Kicki (2015).

Engineering geologist pinpoints geological factors that could affect construction, infrastructure or project around the mining area. According to Kellow and Simms (2013), engineering geologists examine ground materials to assess the extent of their risks and as a result of the examination provide appropriate advice. This advice entails the proper procedures for construction and the necessary construction materials fitness. The geologist offers a design of built structures from functional calculations and computer software. They provide information on how minerals will be mined in a way that is resourceful and environmentally comprehensive. Kellow and Simms (2013) point out that engineering geologists monitor production to assess how useful it is and also provide a solution to adverse effects related to land reclamation, air and water pollution and sustainability.

They present results of tests from construction materials, used in the mines like gravel, sand, clay, and bricks. The surface exploration and test results report represent settings of the mining area. The reports address issues such as the soil or bedrock that is encountered in the area giving their description. The moisture content and dry density of each of the soil or bedrock in the area. In cases of groundwater, their presence and depth should be included in the surface exploration testing report (Tsokhas 2017),. The surface report also entails information on the appropriate analysis and recommendations that are suitable for the mine plan.

According to Sa?uga, Sobczyk, and Kicki (2015), Engineering geologist provides information on laboratory tests which should have varied significant data that are appropriate. Such information includes.

  • Strength tests which include direct shear or triaxial tests. Drained tests and saturated tests are used for assessments of slope steadiness in the proposed mine areas.
  • Classification tests carried out with Unified Soil Classifion System which consists of the mine plasticity and sieve analysis tests.
  • Consolidation tests because a lot of load is placed upon the soil hence such tests are necessary (Syed et al. 2015).
  • Compaction tests for soils that will be utilized in backfills.
  • Permeability test for the part that requires piping.
  • Stabilometer test for areas of the mine that is supposed to be paved.
  • pH and resistivity test for piles that are buried.

The engineering geologist provides reports on effects that are caused by active faults that have the possibility of affecting the mining area. Active faults analysis as pointed out by (Ryan 2015) includes active faults tabulation, their estimated extent, and recurrence interval and expected level of peak accelerations at the site. In the report information on the hazards of ground shaking, liquefaction, surface rapture induced seismic land sliding are addressed. On the location of the site and effects, there should also be a site response analysis that is active. Recommendations are made in line with mine setback distance from the active faults that are close.

The technical services division is also provided with information on foundations and grading as suitable to the mine site. These include the mitigation measures for expansive soils, lateral loads for proposed and current site conditions. Site precise provisions for slope stability and shrinkage of engineered fields. Required surface and subsurface drainages that will ensure that there is long-standing stability of both the cut slopes and the fill bodies (Syed et al. 2015). Information on the extreme slope inclination that is acceptable for the cut and fill slopes that are recommended that undertakes proper drainage, terracing and erosion control.

List of References

Arkhipova, Y 2011, 'Prospects for successfully exploiting the titanium mineral/raw-material base in Russia's Far East', Metallurgist, vol. 55, no. 9/10, pp. 617-624. Available from: 10.1007/s11015-012-9476-0. [2 April 2018].

Beltrán, R, Hacker, A, & Begun, S 2016, 'Environmental Justice Is a Social Justice Issue: Incorporating Environmental Justice Into Social Work Practice Curricula', Journal of Social Work Education, vol. 52, no. 4, pp. 493-502. Available from: 10.1080/10437797.2016.1215277. [2 April 2018].

Cardoso Takano, C, Cruz do Carmo Flores, J, & de Lima, HM 2016, 'An Analysis of the Rate for Controlling, Monitoring and Supervision of Exploration and Mining Activities of Mineral Resources (TFRM)', Rem: Revista Escola de Minas, vol. 69, no. 1, pp. 105-110. Available from: 10.1590/0370-44672015690032. [2 April 2018].

Chalabi, A 2014, 'Law as a System of Rights: A Critical Perspective', Human Rights Review, 15, 2, pp. 117-138

Ferguson, A, Pündrich, G, & Raftery, A 2014, 'Auditor Industry Specialization, Service Bundling, and Partner Effects in a Mining-Dominated City', Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory, vol. 33, no. 3, pp. 153-180. Available from: 10.2308/ajpt-50728. [2 April 2018].

Gandataruna, K, & Haymon, K 2011, 'A dream denied? Mining legislation and the Constitution in Indonesia', Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, vol. 47, no. 2, pp. 221-231. Available from: 10.1080/00074918.2011.585951. [2 April 2018].

Heenetigala, K, De Silva Lokuwaduge, C, Armstrong, A, & Ediriweera, A 2015, 'An Investigation of Environmental, Social and Governance Measures of Listed Mining Sector Companies in Australia', Journal of Business Systems, Governance & Ethics, vol. 10, no. 4, pp. 1-17.

Kellow, A, & Simms, M 2013, 'Policy Change and Industry Associability: The Australian Mining Sector', Australian Journal of Public Administration, vol. 72, no. 1, pp. 41-54. Available from: 10.1111/1467-8500.12008. [2 April 2018].

Kellow, A, & Simms, M 2013, 'Policy Change and Industry Associability: The Australian Mining Sector', Australian Journal of Public Administration, vol. 72, no. 1, pp. 41-54. Available from: 10.1111/1467-8500.12008. [2 April 2018].

Simms, M 2013, 'Policy Change and Industry Associability: The Australian Mining Sector', Australian Journal of Public Administration, vol. 72, no. 1, pp. 41-54. Available from: 10.1111/1467-8500.12008. [2 April 2018].

Mate, G 2013, 'Mount Shamrock: A Symbiosis of Mine and Settlement', International Journal of Historical Archaeology, vol. 17, no. 3, pp. 465-486. Available from: 10.1007/s10761-013-0229-y. [2 April 2018].

Najjar, M, & Levy, T 2016, 'Environmental impacts of ancient copper mining and metallurgy: Multi-proxy investigation of human-landscape dynamics in the Faynan valley, southern Jordan', Journal Of Archaeological Science, 74, pp. 85-101.

Ntui, C 2017, 'What is law without people? A review of mining legislation and communities', Environment, Development & Sustainability, 19, 4, pp. 1539-1555.

Ryan, B 2015, 'Eduard Suess Geologist: Catalogue of the Exhibition', Geoscience Canada, 42, 3, pp. 369-371, Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost, viewed 2 April 2018.

Sa?uga, PW, Sobczyk, EJ, & Kicki, J 2015, JORC Code / Reporting of Hard Coal Reserves and Resources in Poland on the Basis of the JORC Code', Mineral Resources Management / Gospodarka Surowcami Mineralnymi, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 5-29. Available from: 10.1515/gospo-2015-0019. [2 April 2018].

Scott, B, Ranjith, PG, Choi, SK, & Khandelwal, M 2010, 'A review on existing opencast coal mining methods within Australia', Journal of Mining Science, vol. 46, no. 3, pp. 280-297. Available from: 10.1007/s10913-010-0036-3. [2 April 2018].

Syed, A, Grafton, RQ, Kalirajan, K, & Parham, D 2015, 'Multifactor productivity growth and the Australian mining sector', Australian Journal of Agricultural & Resource Economics, vol. 59, no. 4, pp. 549-570. Available from: 10.1111/1467-8489.12122. [2 April 2018].

Tsokhas, K 2017, 'Boom: The Underground History of Australia, from Gold Rush to GFC', Journal of Australian Political Economy, no. 79, pp. 140-149.

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