Electromagnetic method, using helicopter, maps new mineral opportunities in Bahia.
The increase in the level of scientific knowledge, investor confidence and operational efficiency are causing a new growth cycle in mineral production in Bahia. Representatives of Xcalibur Multiphysics, a company specializing in geophysical and marine solutions, held, in recent weeks, the delivery and presentation of data obtained in the latest aerogeophysical survey conducted by CBPM (Companhia Baiana de Pesquisa Mineral), in the north of the state.
The analysis made in the first half of this year aims to obtain more detailed information about the mineral opportunities in Bahia with the application of the latest aerogeophysical technologies available in the market, as explained by the CEO of Lasa Prospecções, representative of Xcalibur in Brazil, Henrique Duarte.
“The technology used is the electromagnetic method, in the time domain, by helicopter. It is a method developed by the company, in Canada, and the differential of this method is that it allows you to investigate mineral deposits at depths of up to 500 metres, depending on the occurrence”.
The analysis was carried out in the first half of this year, with the application
of the latest aerogeophysical technologies
Also, during the presentation, the representatives of Xcalibur shared a little more of the challenges faced and also more information about the methodology and equipment used in this mapping. Henrique Duarte stressed that this is the most modern system on the market, which ensures more quality and accuracy in the images. “It is the method available in the industry with the best signal quality, the best resolution, so CBPM is with data at the forefront of what we have today in electromagnetic aerogeophysical surveys”, he stressed.
During the survey 1,178 square kilometers were covered, which corresponds to more than six thousand linear kilometers of aerogeophysical data. With the delivery of the results, the CBPM technical team starts the analysis of the data obtained as explained by the geologist and master in geophysics, responsible for the CBPM Geophysical Projects, Ives Garrido. “The next step after the delivery of the final products, the CBPM technical staff will work these data to elect areas for exploratory drilling and for the discovery of new deposits”.
The geologist reinforces that the areas surveyed by CBPM encompass regions with high and diversified mineral patrimony. “As the State of Bahia is traditionally a miner, mining is a fundamental activity that forms the basis of important production chains in the State. The publication of the results of these aerogeophysical surveys provides the private sector with a large volume of reliable information that points to countless opportunities for the development of the sector,” he analyzed.
Ives Garrido, responsible for the Geophysical Projects of CBPM
Investments in Research
For the president of the Companhia Baiana de Pesquisa Mineral (CBPM), Antonio Carlos Tramm, besides Bahia already having a regional aerogeophysical coverage of high resolution, with this new work, it represents one of the best investments for the mineral development of the state. “Without a doubt, the return of these surveys in the mineral sector will be translated into a modernization of the already existing data, resulting in more speed in the identification of new mineral opportunities.”
In the years 2019, 2020 and 2021, according to data from the National Mining Agency (ANM), Bahia was one of the states that invested the most in mineral research. Adding up public and private investments, more than R$800 million was invested both during the research authorization phase and during the mining phase, which reflects the result that Bahian mining has been achieving in recent years. Over a decade, the amount was more than R$ 1.8 billion of investments in mineral research.
Tramm points out that although Bahia already has high resolution regional aerogeophysical coverage, this new work, in addition to applying more modern methods, obtains a very significant detail in the discovery of new mineralized areas. The results shall significantly increase the participation of the mineral sector in the economy of Bahia. Currently the state presents a significant number of requests for research, after the completion of each airborne carried out and made available by CBPM.
Over a decade, Bahia has had more than R$ 1.8 billion of investments in mineral research
“This high spatial resolution survey, combined with the evolution of current geological knowledge, represents one of the best investments for the mineral development of the state of Bahia. Without a doubt, the return from these surveys in the mineral sector will be translated by the significant increase in the number of research authorizations”, he stresses.
The new cycle of aerial surveys was carried out in regions selected based on geological interest and in areas identified from the regional aerogeophysical surveys. Initially the Northern Bahia Metallogenic Province (PMNEB) was mapped, especially in the Campo
Representatives of Xcalibur shared challenges, methodology and equipment used in the mapping
Alegre de Lourdes region, as clarified by the technical director of CBPM, Rafael Avena. “These surveys are the most modern of today and important for the discovery of new mineral deposits, as they collect several sets of data that will certainly serve as a subsidy for a new exploration program in the State of Bahia.”
The project uses airborne electromagnetic systems in the time domain/magnetometry, in semi-detail/detail, installed in helicopters. The PMNEB is located in the extreme north of Bahia, in an area mainly under the influence of the marginal bands of Rio Preto and Riacho do Pontal, which are part of the northern border of the São Francisco Craton, holder of important mineral deposits, among them the large Fe-Ti-V deposit associated to the mafic-ultramafic Complex of Campo Alegre de Lourdes, the expressive deposit of phosphate rocks associated to the Carbonatite Complex of Angicos Dias and also the magmatic deposit of Ni-Cu sulfides denominated Caboclo dos Mangueiros.
The geologist and master in geophysics, responsible for the Geophysical Projects of CBPM, Ives Garrido adds that the interpretation of all this data will allow the selection and prioritization of new target areas for a program of exploratory drilling, whose results will allow the generation of other new research projects.
“These studies are demonstrating the existence of various geophysical signatures translated by specific multiphysical features associated with those related to the mineral deposits already known, providing a better understanding of the recognized metallogenic potential of the region and the discovery of new mineral deposits,” he concludes.
What is an aerogeophysical survey
Non-invasive and without any impact on the environment. Aerial surveys are methods that do not require drilling on the ground or any environmental licensing, precisely because all the information is collected in the air, making the study and research in mining more sustainable. “With the current more vigorous resumption of mineral exploration activity in Bahia, mainly for exploration of copper, nickel, gold, iron, aerogeophysics becomes essential because it allows the collection of multiple data simultaneously and also the coverage of extensive areas quickly and efficiently,” explains the CEO of Lasa Prospecções, representative of Xcalibur in Brazil, Henrique Duarte. He also comments a little on how this process works and the application gains that this type of technological innovation is able to provide to the development of the mining sector in Bahia. Read the interview.
Director-president of Lasa Prospecções, representative of Xcalibur in Brazil, Henrique Duarte, explains how this type of technology works and the gains that the process can bring to mineral exploration in Bahia
Henrique Duarte, President Director of Lasa Prospecções, representative of Xcalibur in Brazil
What are the mineral opportunities in Bahia with application of the most recent aerogeophysical technologies, available in the market?
Henrique Duarte: The aerogeophysical methods can be used for the most diverse applications, from mining projects, even engineering, geotechnical, groundwater, environment, passing for projects of O&G and regional geological mapping. In the case of the State of Bahia, due to its large territorial extension, the technologies are important not only for large scale regional mapping, but also to assist in the detection or even confirmation of metallic mineral targets, either through the (indirect) detection of physical parameters expected for a certain mineral occurrence, or indirectly through the interpretation of indicative geological structures that may indicate favorability to the occurrence of another prospect.
How does this technology end up adding competitiveness to the mining sector? What is the investment in its application?
Henrique Duarte: The use of aerogeophysics becomes interesting for many companies that need to investigate extensive areas of the subsoil that cannot be covered only by terrestrial analysis, since this would take a long time to be done and usually there are access restrictions that prevent homogeneous coverage throughout the area, such as: absence of roads, flooded areas, dangerous or endemic areas, restriction of access by landowners, for example. Another advantage of aerial surveys is the possibility of collecting multiple geophysical data simultaneously, allowing different physical parameters of the subsoil to be obtained, and thus optimizing the geological knowledge of the region of interest.
After the delivery of the data obtained in the last aerial geophysical survey conducted by CBPM (Companhia Baiana de Pesquisa Mineral), in the North of the state, what did the study point out? What challenges were faced during the analysis process?
Henrique Duarte: The geophysical data collected are of excellent quality and resolution, allowing imaging of the geology in the research area as never before seen in this northern portion of the state of Bahia. Several themes and products were generated from the collected and processed data, such as: rock conductivity, decay constant, conductor source map, magnetic field, and a series of products derived from these. These products show several structures, lithologies, geological contacts and conductor bodies that cannot be observed on the surface, and that will be essential to optimize the exploratory program conducted by CBPM in the region.
“Bahia is now the best studied state geologically in the country”
President of CBPM, Antonio Carlos Tramm reinforces the importance of using technology in mining as a competitive advantage for the development of the sector in the state
Antonio Carlos Tramm, President of CBPM
Bahia is increasingly conquering a position of relevance in the mining sector. According to Companhia Baiana de Pesquisa Mineral (CBPM), in the first semester of 2022, the mineral production of the state registered an increase of 26%, while the Brazilian suffered a fall of 9%, in comparison with the same period of 2021. According to the president of CBPM, Antonio Carlos Tramm, the numbers only reinforce the importance of investment in new generation technologies to identify promising areas of new mineral deposits and, consequently, the expansion of the sector’s activity. “Without a doubt, these numbers were only possible thanks to the research work developed by CBPM over the last 50 years and that was essential to guarantee Bahia the position of the best geologically studied state in the country,” he comments. Read more in the complete interview.
How does the sector see the use of high technology in mapping favorable areas for mining?
Antonio Carlos Tramm: The use of state-of-the-art technology is part of the whole mining process. Be it in the extraction process or in the research, the new technologies are of great importance to potentiate the sector in a more sustainable way. The Aerogeophysical Survey conducted by CBPM is one more of the tools used to map our Bahia and identify promising areas for new mineral deposits.
What is the importance of this tool for mineral research?
Antonio Carlos Tramm: With the data obtained in this study, our technical team will analyze the data with the surface information that we already have in the region and, from there, define where we should continue mineral research.
And about the Campo Alegre de Lourdes region, why was it chosen to start this stage and what did the results indicate?
Antonio Carlos Tramm: Bahia already has all its territory covered by Regional Aerogeophysical Surveys. However, even being already totally covered by the magnetometric and gamma spectrometric methods, the company started a new detailed mapping, with application of the most recent aerogeophysical technologies, available in the market. The extension area for this new survey was chosen based on the mineral potentiality of the region and on the preliminary studies carried out by our geologists, who indicated the great mineral potential of the region and CBPM areas.
What is still a bottleneck for the mining sector in Bahia to develop and what are the challenges to overcome them?
Antonio Carlos Tramm: Logistics is one of the main problems we face. Currently the transportation to the ports of most of the mineral production in Bahia is done by trucks. Transportation by truck is expensive, time consuming, wears out the roads and pollutes much more than if it were transported by train. The state’s rail network is practically non-existent. The Centro-Atlantic Railroad (FCA) administered by the VLI – the company that has had the concession for the railway for more than 25 years – has abandoned most of the stretches that cut through our state. And now, after spending almost two years trying to get an early renewal, it wants to return the stretches that do not interest it (which includes the stretches in our state) and pay compensation to the federal government for the stretches returned. This resource would be applied in the construction of two or three stretches