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Analysis

Airborne Geophysical Accuracy Down to the Meter,

Wed, 10/21/2015 - 13:53

MPX Geophysics (MPX) has been active in Mexico since 2006, and its success here has led it to branch out into other Latin American countries. Despite setting up offices in Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, Mexico remains MPX’s largest market in Latin America. The extensiveness of the Mexican mining industry is a major cause for this, with the sector accounting for 80% of its business in the country. MPX offers airborne geophysical services to mining clients in Mexico, including airborne magnetics, electro-magnetics, gravity, and radiometrics. John Currie, Director of Business Development at MPX Geophysics, explains that the company has worked with most major and junior mining companies in Mexico. In fact, it is this elite client base that led to MPX’s rapid expansion across the continent. “Most of our clients are active in this entire region. This results in repeat business for us in other countries,” explains Currie.

MPX’s panoply of airborne services has encouraged clients to use it as a one-source supplier for their projects and Currie states how his company gets involved in each new project. “Typically, the procedure when a client obtains a new concession is to first perform the airborne geophysics, which can cover a large territory quickly and at a relatively low cost. We are then able to interpret the data from the airborne survey to find areas with interesting anomalies which need further investigation. That is where ground geophysics comes into play.” Given that MPX’s client list reads like a who’s who of the Mexican mining industry, it is intriguing to find out how all these companies came to realize value airborne geophysical services. “Compared to other countries, Mexican companies are fairly advanced in their knowledge of our technologies. I can compare this with Peru, where we have to educate geologists about what our geophysical services can offer to them. In Mexico, we find that most of our clients are highly knowledgeable about these services already,” says Currie.

The latter part of MPX’s service offering varies according to the client. According to Currie, larger mining companies often have their own interpretation department and proprietary methods for using the data provided. However, junior companies are not in the same position, allowing MPX to offer its interpretation services acquired over years of worldwide exploration experience. On top of that, MPX is operating at a level far beyond what has previously been seen in Mexico. “SGM has very coarse data for much of Mexico flown ten or 20 years ago. Many clients have asked us to re-fly some of the areas that SGM has previously flown. We can fly at higher resolutions and at a more tightly lined spacing,” says Currie. That elapsed time period is vital as the last 15 years have seen leaps of technology in areas like GPS. The data provided by MPX has a positioning accuracy of up to 1m as opposed to the data from that time having error margins of 20m or more.