Science Impact

U.S. Geological Survey
Professional Paper 1721

Geological Survey of Canada
Bulletin 593

Analysis of Improved Government Geological Map Information for Mineral Exploration: Incorporating Efficiency, Productivity, Effectiveness, and Risk Considerations

By R.L. Bernknopf, A.M. Wein, M.R. St-Onge, and S.B. Lucas


screenshot of cover showing map
Portion of one of the Geological Survey of Canada's finer resolution bedrock maps for southern Baffin Island (Nunavut, Canada). The map published at 1:100 000 scale documents the distribution of principal tectonostratigraphic units of the Lake Harbour Group: psammite and pelite (PLHp map unit) in yellow, marble (PLHc map unit) in blue, gabbro (PLHm map unit) in dark green, diorite (PLHd map unit) in pale green, peridotite (PLHu map unit) in purple, and leucogranite (PLHw map unit) in reddish brown. The stratigraphic basement (PRm map unit) to the Lake Harbour Group is shown in pink. Two generations of thrust faults (open and closed teeth on hanging wall of individual faults), post-thrusting folds (F3 fold axes), and structural point data (strike and dip of planar fabric; trend and plunge of linear fabric) are also shown.


Abstract: This bulletin/professional paper focuses on the value of geoscientific information and knowledge, as provided in published government bedrock geological maps, to the mineral exploration sector. An economic model is developed that uses an attribute- ranking approach to convert geological maps into domains of mineral favourability. Information about known deposits in these (or analogous) favourability domains allow the calculation of exploration search statistics that provide input into measures of exploration efficiency, productivity, effectiveness, risk, and cost stemming from the use of the published geological maps. Two case studies, the Flin Flon Belt (Manitoba and Saskatchewan) and the south Baffin Island area (Nunavut), demonstrate that updated, finer resolution maps can be used to identify more exploration campaign options, and campaigns thats are more efficient, more effective, and less risky than old, coarser resolution maps when used as a guide for mineral exploration. The Flin Flon Belt study illustrates that an updated, coarser resolution bedrock map enables improved mineral exploration efficiency, productivity, and effectiveness by locating 60% more targets and supporting an exploration campaign that is 44% more efficient. Refining the map resolution provides an additional 17% reduction in search effort across all favourable domains and a 55% reduction in search effort in the most favourable domain. The south Baffin Island case study projects a 40% increase in expected targets and a 27% reduction in search effort when the updated, finer resolution map is used in lieu of the old, coarser resolution map. On southern Baffin Island, the economic value of the up dated map ranges from CAN$2.28 million to CAN$15.21 million, which can be compared to the CAN$1.86 million that it cost to produce the map (a multiplier effect of up to eight).

Download this report as a 55-page PDF file (pp1721.pdf; 9.7 MB).

For questions about the content of this report, contact Richard Bernknopf

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