A joint research project between Luleå University of Technology, Uppsala University and Geovista funded by Vinnova, New Boliden AB and Lundin Mining.
The project will develop geological models that visualise the key spatial, geological, geophysical, geochemical and economic parameters of mineral belts and their contained ore deposits in 3D and 4D.
This will be achieved by using detailed thematic geo-information gathered at scales from regional down to individual deposits. The geo-information will be gathered from mines, drill holes, geological and geophysical maps, and remote sensing. The distribution of geological units, zonation of metals and hydrothermal alteration, structure and tectonics, and magnetic, gravity, seismic, electric and electromagnetic data and methods will be utilised.
The project requires high quality geological and geophysical data and aims to model the upper few kilometres of the crust. Consequently the project will focus on key areas of a mature mineral belt where most near-surface mineral resources have already been mined and mineral exploration is now primarily aimed at locating "blind" ore deposits 300-2000 m below surface.
We propose to develop the project in the western and central parts of the Skellefte mining district in northern Sweden. The project will produce robust 3-dimensional models for the top 3000 m of the Earth's crust along selected broad profiles that cross the Skellefte district. The backbone of the project comprises new high-resolution reflection seismic recordings, and other high-resolution geophysical measurements along the same profiles. We propose to use the well established GOCAD software to construct the 3D GIS models.
Emphasis will also be placed on the structural and tectonic evolution of the region, which will provide the 4th (time) dimension. The resulting 4D geo-models can be used interactively in order to visualise and understand the geological structure and evolution of the mineral belt, and the location of mineral deposits. The models will also facilitate the study of likely environmental and societal impacts of mineral extraction throughout the entire life cycle from mineral discovery to closure, as well as financial and legislative issues, all of which will help avoid conflicts in land use.
The project will constitute the Swedish input to the project New Exploration Technologies 4D resource modelling, which forms a prioritized area within ETP-SMR set up for FP7 within the EU. The project is a collaboration between Luleå University (expertise in geology and magnetics), Uppsala University (expertise in seismic, electric and electromagnetic methods), Geovista (experts in geophysics and 3D CAD/GIS), Boliden AB (mining and exploration company) and Lundin Mining (mining and exploration company).