Amplify Mineralization Insights | Digital Rock Sampling

Shariq Ansari
February 21, 2023
5 mins to read
By digitizing rock samples, geologists are unlikely to miss even the smallest details during analysis.

Rock sampling is the backbone of a business's mineral exploration efforts, and by collecting and analyzing data obtained from this process accurately, miners can determine the precise mineral distribution. This can save exploration companies a significant amount of capital, as they can utilize resources and manpower totally in areas with high-potential mineral deposits. Mistakes in this industry can cause huge setbacks, and incorrect estimation of mineralization likelihood can be a huge blow to juniors who need their businesses to be as lean and efficient as possible.

In order to get the sampling process right, engineers and geologists have to work together on scrutinizing the various stages to create a faultless uninterrupted workflow, namely:

  1. Selection of Sampling Location based on existing geological maps, surface features, or thorough geophysical surveys.
  2. Preparation of Equipment and Resources which include hammers, chisels, or rock saws.
  3. Collection of Rock Samples from various depths once a suitable location has been ascertained.
  4. Laboratory Analysis for determining the mineral/metal potential of the site.

Exploration managers need to ensure the above sequence is carried out with real-time data collection, to produce the desired results. But hold on, the important concern to be addressed now is, how is the data collected in real-time. If the answer is a physical checklist, you can be certain that the time spent on a daily basis transferring data to a digital medium adds up to thousands of dollars in productivity losses over months. Even worse, a lot of companies then transfer data to spreadsheets, turning overall data management into a slow and error-prone process, thus missing out on real-time insights for faster decisions. When we consider metrics like sample grade, structure, quality, or composition, which have to undergo multivariate analysis for determining the deposit's economic viability, spreadsheets are simply too complex and time-consuming a solution. With developing tech, exploration companies can access detailed automated analysis for all their data collected, with just a single click. Grid is one platform that unifies all of your mining processes, including rock sampling, to create a single source of truth.

Recording sampling readings digitally ensure uniform and consistent data across the entire project [Photo by Wessex Archaeology]

How does Rock Sampling work on Grid?

On Grid, miners have access to our pre-built but completely customizable Rock Sampling template, which can be set up exclusively for your business with a few clicks. Once set up, users can use digital checklists or forms on their Grid mobile app, to quickly and accurately collect information during and after sampling. All the data collected is stored in worksheets that contain a wide variety of criteria covering all the necessary steps that geologists have to take. To give you a better idea of what the worksheet contains, let's walk you through the different criteria or columns:

  1. Project Name: Mining companies handling multiple projects can easily categorize the samples into their respective projects.
  2. Type of Sampling: Users can make a list of the different sampling methods in use, outcrop, sub crop, float, grab, or chip. When filling in the sampling checklist, they can refer to the list and select the type with one click.
  3. Sample Type and ID: A similar list can be created for Sample Type, whether it's a blank, original, duplicate, or standard sample, in the References sheet. At the time of collection, just select the option from the dropdown list.
  4. Location with Latitude and Longitude: This field automatically pinpoints the location where the sample was collected via GPS, with precise latitudinal and longitudinal values up to seven decimal places.
  5. Depth: Geologists can record the depth at which the rock was used for sampling, while they also have the open to specify depth intervals in case of multiple samples.
  6. Lithology: The lithology column lets users enter descriptive notes about the characteristics found during microscopy, along with the appropriate lithology code.
  7. Rock Color: The template provides you with a list of sample colors to choose from as provided by our industry experts, along with a color modifier that lets you choose the shade of each color, ranging from light to medium to dark, and so on.
  8. Grain Size: Users can enter the grain size here, whether it's a granule, a pebble, a cobble, or a boulder.
  9. Texture: During the inspection of the rock composition, users can specify whether the texture is crystalline, fragmental, aphanitic, or glassy.
  10. Rock Alterations: You can also find dedicated columns for recording rock alterations, including the intensity and style of each of them.
  11. Rock Mineralization: After analysis, geologists can enter the mineralization percentage in the sample, with individual columns for different minerals present.
  12. Rock Structure: To records information about any joints, faults, or veins in the rock formations, users can enter the type and further details.
  13. Dip and Dip Direction: The dip angle and dip direction of the sampling area can also be recorded with a single click, with an option for users to upload supporting images.
  14. Infill and Infill Type: To accurately analyze the continuity of the mineralization, you have access to the infill and infill type columns as well.
  15. Photos and Remarks: Grid owners can build multiple photos and remarks columns in a single worksheet in order to validate or expand on their column-wise or overall findings.

Geologists no longer have to manually manage all this data, because Grid does all the heavy lifting once they input the data. Once entered, the data is also accessed by Grid's automated analytics dashboard and reporting system, for real-time insights. This way geologists stay on top of the details and the management knows the operations are heading in the right direction. With data collection, storage, management, analysis, and reporting, in one place, the time and effort required in managing different tools are completely erased. This way, all you have to do is have one master application that handles all of your needs, and you can devote as much time as possible to your mining operations.

If you'd like to speak with an expert to learn more about how to set up a digital Rock Sampling application to turn your exploration more efficient, don't hesitate to reach out!

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Shariq Ansari
Digital Marketeer
“Using Grid to track drill program progress and day to day expenditures has allowed VR Resources to make better decisions more quickly. The highly customizable and elegant interface allows me to track and manage all aspects of our field work and it’s clear after just a few weeks that the possibilities are nearly endless. Cost tracking estimates were consistently within expected variance of invoices received giving me further confidence in managing agile drill programs. Further the development team and customer support have been top notch!”
Justin J. Daley
PGeo, MSc, Vice President Exploration
VR Resources
VR Resources
“Grid has been extremely helpful in changing the course of multiple operations, here at U-Solar. We started with one module for Materials Management, and have now adopted Grid for 3-4 more processes, all of which have been smooth and quick to implement.”
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