Mineral exploration is the process of finding ore to mine which has a financial benefit. Mineral exploration is a much more intensive, organized and professional form of mineral prospecting and, though it frequently uses the services of prospecting, the process of mineral exploration on the whole is much more involved.
Stages of Mining Exploration
There are different stages of mining exploration.
Stage 1: Area selection
This is the most important step in mining exploration because t’s determining the most suitable location to being mining. Wrongly selecting an area can mean costly delays and missed deadlines.
There are theories we apply to determine where the best locations would be to start mining. These methods are tried and tested an have proven successful in helping us in Ghana so far
Stage 2: Political, Sovereign and other associated risks
Often when companies find precious minerals like gold there is an associated risk politically. Socially and politically there can be problems associated with mining, however Black Star Refinery has the express permission from the Ghanaian Government, the precious minerals commission and support politically to make Ghana a precious minerals force within the world.
Black Star Refinery also employs local nations to work within our refinery and as such this create employment for the country. We provide the best standard of care for our employees and this is received warmly by the people working for Black Star Refinery, the Government and the precious minerals commission. Black Star Refinery has the necessary permits and licenses from the PMMC and the environmental protective agency for mining.
Stage 3: Target generation- regional scale
After a site has been determined, we have ensured the people of Ghana and the legal authorities have provided express permission with signed agreements documenting our mining, we set about looking for a specific area to start.
There are areas where you can drill which will be easier than othes and complex drilling techniques which we deploy to efficiently and strategically meet our objectives. We use geophysical methods, remote sensing and geochemical methods to determine our start point.
This process can take time and it’s our people who make the process the success it has become today.
Stage 4: Resource evaluation
It’s important to understand the quantity and quality of the area being drilled. We review the area by sampling and determine how far is required to be drilled to meet the quality and quantity standards set.
We always provide a resource evaluation of any site to ensure the quality is of the highest standards.
Stage 5: Reserve definition
Reserve definition is undertaken to convert a mineral resource into an ore reserve, which is an economic asset. The process is similar to resource evaluation, except more intensive and technical, aimed at statistically quantifying the grade continuity and mass of ore.
Reserve definition also takes into account the milling and extractability characteristics of the ore, and generates bulk samples for metallurgical testwork, involving crushability, floatability and other ore recovery parameters.
Reserve definition includes geotechnical assessment and engineering studies of the rocks within and surrounding the deposit to determine the potential instabilities of proposed open pit or underground mining methods. This process may involve drilling diamond core samples to derive structural information on weaknesses within the rock mass such as faults, foliations, joints and shearing.
At the end of this process, a feasibility study is published, and the ore deposit may be either deemed uneconomic or economic.
Stage 6: Extraction
Once these 5 stages are complete we can begin to extract the gold and refine the mineral at the Black Star Refinery.