A patch of land near Wave Rock in WA’s Wheatbelt has played host to a series of tests that could revolutionise the minerals exploration sector using new deep-penetration technology.
Brisbane-based company Gap Geophysics commissioned the trials of their new system, which involved the use of a helicopter-borne detection system (bird) and a ground-based 2-tonne high-powered geophysical transmitter. The trial survey took place at the geophysics test range in Forrestania, around 80km from Wave Rock.
Called Low Frequency HeliSAM, the technique is the latest advancement in the innovative Sub-Audio Magnetics (SAM) series of technologies for the company, which includes SAM and SAMSON.
CEO of Gap Geophysics Dr Malcolm Cattach said, “The system will revolutionise the way explorers think about large-scale, deep penetration surveys because we’ve 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,” said Dr Cattach.
“The new equipment can cover approximately 120 kilometres per day against standard ground surveys, with comparable outcomes, which can typically cover between 2-3 km per day,” he said.
“HeliSAM also allows us to survey the sub-surface for minerals which might be hosted as far as one kilometre underground.”
“Data can be accessed extremely quickly – often within the day – as opposed to the usual several weeks if ground surveying.”
“This test is the latest advancement after25 years of development and hard work.”
“For exploration companies, it provides a means to explore vast area 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.”
The test results are slated to be presented by Dr Cattach in a paper at the AEGC conference in Sydney next February.