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Small-scale mining studies through the integration of geological data and geophysical modeling to enable a clean and sustainable exploration

Abstract

One of the great challenges of Small Scale Mining is related to the maximum extraction of mineral resources in an efficient, clean and sustainable way, and with a minimum of tailings and environmental impacts. To achieve this optimum relationship between mineral extraction/tailings- environmental impacts it is necessary to have detailed knowledge of the subsurface geology in the region comprising the mineral deposit and its background, and this knowledge can be obtained through geological, geophysical studies and drill holes. The Small Scale Mining explorer generally has limited financial resources for the development of activities. They are known as micro and small mining businessmen. Usually, to reduce the costs of investments related to geological/geophysical research, they stop investing in technology. In this way, the explorer doesn't obtain the necessary knowledge for the good use of the mineral good in his small exploratory business. The lack of scientific knowledge about the mineral to be explored generates a greater expense with the drilling of boreholes, and a greater environmental impact. This research project proposes to develop a methodology for analyzing and interpreting geological data and geophysical modeling, aiming to characterize the mineral deposit. Knowledge of the geometry of the subsurface mineral deposit is essential for the mining engineer to validate the conceptual model of the deposit, and thus develop the planning of an investigative campaign with a minimum of drillholes. With this integrative approach of geology/geophysical/mine engineering, Small Scale Mining can benefit and thus maximize the use of mineral goods in a rational and sustainable way, reducing costs during the process of studies, extraction and mineral processing, and minimize environmental impacts. To put this new approach into practice, electric geophysical methods (ER-Electroresistivity, RC-Capacitive Resistivity and IP-Induced Polarization) and electromagnetic (GPR-Ground Penetration Radar and TDEM-Electromagnetic in Time Domain) will be used. This integrative approach will be applied in three case studies in different Small Scale Mining, which explore sand (Descalvado, SP), barite (Cerro Azul, PR) and basalt (Orindiúva, SP/Fronteira, MG/Icém, SP), in order to prove their efficiency related to the proper use of the mineral resources by measuring its impact in mine planning. (AU)

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