Recognition of “old fashioned” exploration techniques
Recently, PT GMT Indonesia geologists assisted an Australian-based manganese explorer to find an outcrop that had been “lost for 40 years”, justifying GMT’s continued commitment to proven and simple field practices to effectively locate mineralisation.
In the digital age, the use of satellite technology, aerial imagery, airborne geophysics, regional geochemistry and structural interpretations have become familiar aids for mineral exploration. However, at some stage a geologist will have to walk the ground. This simple philosophy drives the fundamental concept of GMT, that the best exploration tools ever invented were a compass, a geological hammer and a pair of boots.
Working in a difficult terrain, such as the jungles of Indonesia or the desolate plains of the Pilbara, GMT management firmly believes in the use of good ground observations by geologists in the field as the most basic and most necessary aid to discovering an orebody.
“The use of numerous other techniques can aid in the interpretations of regional geology and vector areas for closer examination but at the end of the day a geologist has to walk the ground” commented Brett Gunter, President Director of PT GMT Indonesia.
The discovery of the “lost” manganese outcrop in the Pilbara of Western Australia, recently commented on by the Executive Chairman of Australian-listed Spitfire Resources, is a tribute to the two GMT geologists contracted by Spitfire to the project (article on minesite.com, 20 January 2009).
In the article, it stated:
Over 40 years ago field workers from the Geological Survey of Western Australia noted on their hand-drawn maps an outcrop of manganese-rich rock in the region known today as South Woodie Woodie. From that day in the mid 1960s, until a few months ago, the outcrop was “lost”.
It wasn’t, of course. Rocks don’t disappear. The problem was that the old maps didn’t agree with the information provided by a more modern tool, a satellite-tuned global positioning system (GPS). People being people, the inevitable tendency was to dismiss the old maps and to believe the latest technology. If the GPS said there was not an outcrop where there ought to have been an outcrop, then it must never have existed at all. Oh dear, what a mistake. The mistake has, however, been made good by a bit of old-fashioned exploration, better known as walking around, over this, some of the world’s most inhospitable terrain.
Last year, without fanfare, the “lost” outcrop was re-discovered by a team of Indonesian-trained geologists working for the small Australian manganese and coal explorer, Spitfire Resources. It was a “eureka” moment, Spitfire executive chairman, James Hamilton, tells Minesite’s Man in Oz over a crisp sauvignon blanc and calabrase pizza at the curiously-named Funtastico restaurant in Perth’s inner suburb of Subiaco. “We were pretty sure that what the Geological Survey had noted had to be somewhere nearby,” he says. “The only solution was to find it the hard way, and this is country where it’s even hard to drive a quad-bike. Walking the ground was the only way, and that’s how we found it, three kilometres from where it was said to be.”
Hamilton says much of the credit for the discovery at Tally Ho should go to his small team of Indonesian geologists – it’s the same group that was responsible for the coal discoveries made in Borneo by Spitfire’s associated company, Churchill Mining. “We were having serious difficulty in recruiting Australian geologists to work in such a remote location,” he says. “The latest graduates would demand a huge salary, other perks, and then walk away when we told them where they would be working. The team from Indonesia, which is paid full Australian rates, loved the opportunity and have delivered the goods.”
This style of exploration is the GMT commitment to quality knowledge and the pursuit of generating value for the client through the discovery of areas of interest using techniques well-proven in Indonesia’s jungle terrain and, confirmed by the testament above, in other inhospitable areas of the world.
Posted on: 29.01.2009