The development of robust 3-D geological models involves the integration of large amounts of public geological data, as well as additional accessible proprietary lithological, structural, geochemical, geophysical, and diamond drill hole data. 3-D models and maps have been available, particularly in the petroleum industry, for more than 10 years. Here, we demonstrate how robust 3-D maps can be used as interactive tools for mineral deposits exploration. In particular, we show how the interrogation of 3-D data sets can constrain exploration targets at depth.
The main advantages of this technique for the mining industry are the homogeneity of data treatment and the validation of geological interpretations, taking into account geophysical and geochemical data. Data integration and cross-correlation of geology and geophysics can be achieved in two dimensions in any good GIS package. However, the added strength of 3-D analysis is the integration of separate data sets in three dimensions to build more complete, more realistic models, and in delineating areas of high economic potential at depth. Furthermore, these models can be modified and improved at any time by adding new data from ongoing drilling and geoscientific surveys.
This paper presents two examples of 3-D models used for mineral exploration: the Joutel VMS mining camp and the Duparquet gold camp, Quebec. In both examples, the creation of the model is discussed and queries specific to the relevant exploration model are introduced. Eight potential exploration targets are generated at Joutel and seven at Duparquet. Although the targets defined are dependent on the details of the chosen queries, it is apparent that this technique has the potential to generate promising exploration activity that can engender new targets.