National Virtual Core Library HyLogging data and Ni-Co laterites: a mineralogical model for resource exploration, extraction and remediation
Cracknell, MJ and Jansen, NH, National Virtual Core Library HyLogging data and Ni-Co laterites: a mineralogical model for resource exploration, extraction and remediation, Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 63, (8) pp. 1053-1067. ISSN 0812-0099 (2016) [Refereed Article]
The National Virtual Core Library (NVCL) HyLogging core-scanning system generates mineralogical information from visible, short-wave infrared and thermal infrared spectroscopic data. Currently, HyLogging data are freely available for more than 1500 drill holes via the AuScope Discovery Portal and various Geological Survey websites. With any new technology, there is commonly a lag between provision and take-up by users that can be aided by the publication of case studies in the scientific literature. This paper uses the Mt Davies nickel–cobalt (Ni–Co) laterite deposits, located in northwest South Australia, as a case study to assess the accessibility and representation of HyLogger data and provides an example of its application to all aspects of resource mining: exploration, extraction and processing, and remediation. In this study, we combine HyLogger-derived scalars indicating Fe-oxide and clay mineralogy with historical geological logs and assay data. In general, background Ni grades (<0.1 wt%) are linked to the presence of montmorillonite + hematite ± goethite, moderate grades (0.1–1.0 wt%) are associated with goethite ± nontronite ± saponite ± kaolinite ± montmorillonite, and higher grades (1.0–2.0 wt%) are coincident with goethite and minimal clay alteration, suggesting that goethite hosts Ni mineralisation. Gibbsite, where it occurs, is found immediately above zones of moderate to high Ni grades and may be an important proximal indicator mineral of nickeliferous laterite. Such a case study serves to suggest opportunities for further data modelling and search and query functionality that could facilitate increased use of this important digital geoscience data resource by the Australian minerals industry for all aspects of resource exploitation: exploration, extraction, processing, and environmental remediation.