Abstract

New methodologies for narrow-vein mining are making thin, steeply dipping mineralized veins economically viable mining targets. Drilling is the normal method for delineation and resource evaluation prior to mining. However, for the evaluation of narrow veins, significant drilling of barren rock is required. Controlled-source seismic interferometry has the potential to significantly decrease the costs of target delineation by providing high-resolution seismic images of thin, steeply dipping mineralized veins. We present a case study that employs seismic interferometry in conjunction with a walkaway vertical seismic profiling survey to image a thin (0.5–4 m), steeply dipping barite vein. The footprint of the seismic data acquisition is relatively small and compatible with operations in areas with limited access (e.g., mining camps). The technique requires some care with experimental design and data processing, but it is clearly demonstrated to produce a high-resolution seismic image. Furthermore, we demonstrate that inversion of the depth-migrated image can be used to quantify vein thickness and provide direct information for resource evaluation and reserve estimation.

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