SAND IN THE GROUND HAS NO INTRINSIC VALUE: A CASE STUDY OF LOST DATA
Our work conducted at several prospective mines in the region indicates that documentation of seemingly incidental observations during the early phases of site exploration can later save thousands to millions of dollars as a site enters the permitting process. These oft-neglected data include: precise location and elevation data for boreholes, thorough geologic descriptions of overburden materials, depth-to-water measurements in boreholes, detailed descriptions of cemented intervals, and collection of assay samples through the full thickness of a deposit. These data can help to identify and locate faults, assign value to overburden previously assumed to be valueless, determine which areas must be blasted prior to removal, determine whether a site can be dry-mined or must be dewatered, and estimate proportions of various sand products (e.g. 20/40, 40/70).
Case studies demonstrating the effect of quality field data, or lack thereof, on the results of resource evaluations will be presented. The case studies will emphasize the importance of an unbiased characterization of the site specific lithology and depositional environment to assessing the operational and economic viability of mine development.