Omar Hernández
Exploration Engineer
Geotem Ingeniería
View from the Top

Unlocking the Value of Minerals Below the Surface

By Alejandro Ehrenberg | Tue, 02/16/2021 - 12:36

Q: What issues do geophysical methods solve for your clients?

A: Geophysical methods are indirect techniques that provide information that mining companies need to know before starting their exploration. These methods can help companies identify targets and have a clear view of what lies beneath their mining operations. GEOTEM offers a wide range of mining services that reduce uncertainty while benefiting drilling operations.

Q: What techniques does GEOTEM offer the mining sector?

A: All geophysical exploration is based on two techniques: magnetometry and gravimetry. The first is based on magnetism in the soil and allows the measurement of the amount of magnetic susceptibility, while gravimetry measures gravitational field, which helps us to determine the density of the rocks. By applying the magnetometry technique, we can define anomalous zones where there is a specific mineralization, which are then corroborated with the gravimetry technique. Additionally, there is a technique called induced polarization that helps to determine the degree of mineralization according to underground conductivity. By applying magnetometry and gravimetry techniques, GEOTEM helps our clients to identify gold deposits, due to the high connectivity and density of the metal.

Q: How does the company differ from others in the mining sector and how does GEOTEM ensure its products and services are up to date?

A: The difference lies in the high level of our technology. We can offer the best optimization tools and processes for mining projects. We also have several partnerships that greatly improve our products and services. For example, we are allied with the German company MGT, which was the first to do magnetometry studies using drones. This technology was very expensive; however, this strategic alliance has allowed us to be the first company in Mexico to implement this technique in the mining sector. Among its most important benefits is that we can explore several areas using the drone, especially those regions that are hard to reach, like mountainous areas.

Q: What benefits do mining companies obtain by acquiring GEOTEM’s products and services?

A: We provide them with the tools to increase operational efficiency. Moreover, GEOTEM allows them to determine which exploration lines and objectives they need to implement to increase the value of their operations. We have a team of geologists, geophysicists and mining experts who study the surface and determine the areas where the mineralization is located and subsequently, we propose geophysical methods for exploration.

Q: How does GEOTEM increase the value of old and abandoned mines in Mexico?

A: We study the history of the mine we plan to work in because Mexico is a country that has been highly exploited since colonial times. There are several mines that date back centuries and have been abandoned; however, they still have a high mining potential that GEOTEM seeks to unlock. We start by searching for the mine’s historical heritage in the geological survey, then we conduct a new geological survey to elaborate new plans for the mine. We treat these mines as if they were new and therefore, we offer a thorough investigation of the mine investigation as well as the area in which they are located. This differentiates us from other companies that are similar.

Q: What are GEOTEM’s projects in other countries and how do they compare to those in Mexico?

A: GEOTEM had a mining project in India that was extensive and focused on identifying areas with gold, precious metals and rare earths. India and Mexico are mining countries but there are differences among them. For example, Indians are more relaxed at work but at the same time they are very demanding, especially with foreign companies. In addition, it was interesting to observe the differences between our objectives because in India there is a great interest in rare earths that are mainly used for products like cellphone screens and batteries. This is an area that has not been exercised in Mexico; however, this could change in the future.

Q: In which projects has GEOTEM increased the value of a mine in Mexico?

A: We worked with Newmont in 2019 and in the first months of 2020 to expand its Peñasquito mine. GEOTEM used the magnetometry technique to find mineralization zones that later were confirmed with the gravimetry technique and correlated with magnetotelluric and electromagnetic studies/methods. Currently, the project is suspended due to COVID-19; however, the results obtained from the geophysical exploration show us that there are areas of mineralization that the company could drill to find a large amount of gold. We also worked with Agnico in Guerrero. This was also a magnetotelluric project and we were able to successfully identify mineralization zones. Now, we only need to determine their degree of mineralization. We have also worked in Peña Colorada, Colima, where we determined areas of iron using the magnetometry technique. These are some of our success stories that show how geophysics can unlock and increase the value of mining projects that are beginning or are in operation.

Geotem Ingeniería offers a wide variety of geophysical exploration methodologies covering different fields of action to satisfy the dynamic needs of its clients in the engineering, infrastructure and construction segments, as well as the exploration of energy resources.

Alejandro Ehrenberg Alejandro Ehrenberg Journalist and Industry Analyst