Latest Technique in Mineral Exploration: Technology Infusion envisaged during India's XII Five Year Plan

Gsi kolkata

Gsi kolkata (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

New Delhi, Feb 22, 2013 (Washington Bangla Radio / PIB Features): The Geological Survey of India (GSI) has made phenomenal contributions in the mineral sector and is carrying out systematic investigation for mineral resource assessment of the country in geologically potential areas through modern and sophisticated exploration methods involving modern geological mapping techniques, geomorphological and lineament mapping through study of satellite imageries, aero and ground geophysical studies and geochemical mapping. As part of this GSI has initiated extensive programme of modernization on the advice of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Industries, and as per guidelines laid down by an Expert Panel on Modernization of GSI. The modernization program is aimed to improve the regional exploration for assessment of natural resources by infusion of latest state of art technology.  The technology infusion envisaged during the 12th Five Year Plan period is:

  • Strengthening of the state of the art equipment in chemical laboratories like ICP-MS, ICP-AES to match world standard in precision and also facilitate logical conclusion of mineral exploration within scheduled time.
  • Modernization and augmentation of equipment for ground geophysical survey like multi-channel gamma ray spectrometry, multi frequency EM system etc.
  • High-end petrological instrument for diamond, strategic and PGE exploration.
  • State of the art drilling machine (reverse circulation, hydraulic etc.).

In order to improve the quality of exploration for mineral resources of the country, following equipment / instruments were procured or in the process of procurement as per the plan:

  • Airborne surveys including airborne magnetic, electromagnetic and gamma-ray surveys have proved quite useful in identifying first order target areas worldwide and may be used as direct tool in exploration. The airborne survey is strengthened by procurement of heliborne multi-sensor airborne survey system comprising on board sensors like magnetic, gravity, time domain electromagnetic (TDEM) and gamma ray spectrometry and hyper spectrometry.
  • Application of geochemistry to mineral exploration, adopting conventional as well as advanced geochemical techniques, in soil surveys, stream-sediment surveys, vapor surveys and bedrock surveys has proved useful in detection of dispersion halos of hidden ore bodies. To strengthen the geochemical exploration GSI has upgraded its regional laboratories by procurement of sophisticated instruments like ICPMS, EPMA etc. for low detection analytical determinations particularly for elements like gold, PGE, rare earth etc.
  • Application of time-tested geophysical techniques in locating concealed deposits is considered as one of the most effective exploration tools. Ground geophysical survey is being strengthened by procuring new sophisticated instruments  like Multi electrode resistivity-IP unit, multi frequency EM profiling unit etc.
  • GSI has procured magneto telluric (MT) instrument to strengthen its geophysical survey over Indian  craton to image the sub continental lithospheric mantle (SCLM). The outcome of the survey will enhance the scientific knowledge of the deeper parts of the earth and will help to model the process of craton formation more accurately which in turn will help in targeting concealed ore bodies/kimberlite bodies (KCR)
  • GSI carries out offshore surveys and mineral resource evaluation in the EEZ and TW. To strengthen the marine survey GSI is procuring one deep Ocean Going Research Vessel from M/s Hyundai Heavy Industries, South Korea. This will help in assessing the mineral/natural resources present in EEZ of our country. 

The details of technological upgradation with adequate instrumental back up is as follows:

  • In the field of Thematic Geological Mapping (TGM), the technology infusion that has been envisaged includes: Field Laptop, or Table PC, Mapping GPS unit, GSI Portal, mobile mapping vans with portable generator.
  • In view of completion of systematic geological mapping over the country, an Integrated Thematic Mapping (ITM) has been visualized with required technology infusion that includes: Ground Penetration Radars [GPR], shallow drills, deep drills, Electron Probe Micro Analyzer etc.
  • As a redressal measure for effective analytical output with lower detection limits of geochemical samples, augmentation of the state of the art instruments such as ICPMS, AAS, XRF and DMA, in the laboratories of GSI has been incorporated.
  • In the field of geophysical mapping, the technology infusion that is being proposed includes high precision gravimeter and total field magnetometer.
  • For hyper-spectral mapping, Space borne and Airborne Hyperion data with specific spectral range (necessary for geological objects) are to be procured and utilized. In this context, it is contemplated to have a continuous acquisition of hyper-spectral data in collaboration with ISRO/ NRSG/NNRMS.
  • To enhance the pace of drilling and quality/reliability of subsurface information, it is necessary to induct improved techniques and equipment such as reverse circulation drilling with inbuilt system for controlled deflection of borehole path and adopting a combination of coring and non-coring operations in a single borehole. Rotary Air Blast (RAB) drilling which is fastest and cheap method is also to be inducted.  State of the art drilling machines such as reverse circulation, hydraulic rigs, etc., are in the process of procurement.

- PIB Features,  with Inputs from the Ministry of Mines, Govt. of India.