Integrating geotechnical and hydrogeological data gathering

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SRK News | Issue 57Exploration Geology: Keys to success

Sujit Roy, Senior Engineering Geologist 
 

The Ministry of Mines is seeking to grow the mineral sector in India through a new mineral exploration policy. This policy has encouraged the mineral exploration sector in India. However, developing a greenfield mineral property and acquiring the new land required is a complex undertaking. This fact has prompted an increase in brownfield exploration of existing operations where drilling programs are usually only planned to capture the extent of the mineralisation and its grade variability. This approach often forgoes the opportunity to gather additional data, such as geotechnical or hydrogeological data, which form the basis of mine expansion planning.

In isolation, the datasets required for geotechnical or hydrogeological studies are costly to obtain but integrating geotechnical and hydrogeological data collection in brownfield exploration drilling can substantially reduce the cost.

An integrated data gathering program can easily be adopted during mineral exploration. Before routine geological logging, sampling and assaying, a geotechnical and structural logging program may produce a robust geotechnical dataset, which is key to defining the rock mass characteristics. These results can be combined with geological data to map the geotechnical domains and determine geotechnical design criteria for each of these domains that can be applied to evaluate slope design in open pits or underground mine design.

Exploration drill holes can also support hydrogeological investigations that typically include a range of tests, which not only supports quantifying aquifer parameters, but also identify faults that are frequently the principal conduit for water flows into the mine.

SRK assists clients in India to gather quality geotechnical and hydrogeological data during mineral exploration using many of these techniques. The study outcomes not only ensure compliance with regulatory frameworks, but also help achieve an optimal mine design based on geotechnical and hydrogeological data modelling.

Sujit Roy: sroy@srk.co.in

 

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