Exploration is the fundamental step in a mining or CBM project and is one of the most critical. The data derived from the program and the subsequent interpretation of the coal deposit provides the foundation upon which all other technical and economic decisions are based. It is the geologist's responsibility to ensure that sufficient data are collected, that proper data collection procedures are followed, that interpretations are sound, and that the interpretation is conveyed clearly to the engineers and other members of the project team (Tivy and Mercier, 1991). Attention to detail in all phases of exploration usually pay off at some future date, but information which remains undocumented cannot play a part in the decision making process. A well planned and managed exploration program inevitably saves money.
The scope and time frame of an exploration program can vary considerably. The scope can be comprised of a small area requiring minimal drilling up to a large project consisting of a central camp with multiple exploration sites. The time frame can extend from days to years, depending on the program scope.