Resource Database: Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences


Mineral Exploration and Exploitation

Originator Howard Colley
Department School of Biological and Molecular Sciences: Geology, Oxford Brookes University, UK
Tel. +44 (0)1865 483349
Fax +44 (0)1865 483242

The class is split into teams consisting of 5 members. Each teams acts as an exploration group for a mining company charged with organising and running an exploration programme on the island of Vanua Levu, Fiji. The database available to the teams to assist in the planning of exploration consists of the following:

This database and funding are typical of that available to exploration companies when they initiate work in remote areas. All the data are real so the students simulate a true-to-life situation. The money is of course fictional!

The aim of the exercise is to plan and run an exploration programme from the post-reconnaissance stage, involving detailed geochemical and geophysical surveying, through to the drilling stage. Each team is expected to devise a sound exploration plan that if carried through would adequately evaluate the potential of the area.

Weeks 1&2: The students get together to review the available data and select a target area and target type of deposit for exploration. Most exploration companies devise their exploration programmes with a particular type of mineral deposit in mind (e.g. epithermal gold, porphyry copper, massive sulphide). The students are required to see their lecturer no later than Tuesday of week 2 to register a prospecting licence for their target area. Licences are issued on a first-come, first-served basis. The maximum size for a licence area is 100 square kilometres.

The teams organise themselves so that one team member covers each of the following topics:

  1. Geology
  2. Geochemistry
  3. Geophysics
  4. Drilling
  5. Environmental impact

The exploration programme must be carefully costed so that it does not exceed the budget . If the team wishes to exceed your budget this is possible. The team has to make a case to the exploration manager of their company (= lecturer) and this will need to be strongly justified. If a team exceeds its budget through bad financial management it is penalised. Once the team has settled on a licence area and a target deposit it can call on the services of a consultant (the lecturer) to advise them.

Assessment: Each team makes a round-the table presentation on its exploration programme in week 8. Along with the seminar, it will submit an annual report to the Chief Inspector of Mines for Fiji (the lecturer again!). The assessment for the module consists of 20% on team round-the-table discussion and teamwork in devising the exploration programme and 20% for the individual contribution to the annual report.


Group work
Independent learning
Role play

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Page created 5 June 2000
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