Researchers develop new cost-effective method to find copper
Porphyry-type copper deposits provide 75 percent of the world’s copper and a significant amount of molybdenum and gold. These rare deposits, which originally form at several kilometers below the Earth’s surface, above large magma chambers, are most economical to mine. However, most near-surface deposits have already been discovered.
Dr. Ben Williamson, a geologist at the University of Exeter, and Dr. Richard Herrington from the Natural History Museum of London have developed a new and cost-effective way for mining companies to identify these copper deposits, particularly those located deep underground.
The project, funded by Anglo American, compared the chemical compositions of minerals from magmatic rocks that host porphyry deposits against those which are barren. A case study was then undertaken of a major new porphyry discovery in Chile, to test their theory. Minerals from magmatic rocks which host porphyry deposits have distinctive chemical characteristics which can be used as one of a suite of indicators to home-in on porphyry deposits.
The main finding in the report, which was published in Nature Geoscience, is that the magma chamber below the porphyry undergoes discrete injections of water-rich melts or watery fluids which enhance the magma’s ability to transfer copper and other metals upwards to form a porphyry copper deposit.
“This new method will add to the range of tools available to exploration companies to discover new porphyry copper deposits,” said Williamson. “Our findings also provide important insights into why some magmas are more likely to produce porphyry copper deposits than others, and add to our understanding of how their parent magmatic rocks evolve.”
Axora launches global challenge for digital technology
Axora is launching the world’s first international competition to discover new cost-saving digital technology for industrial companies, which can produce rapid benefits within a year.
The Metals & Mining and Oil & Gas sectors have recently experienced budget cuts of 20% on average, driven by a variety of factors including the global pandemic, slump in demand and price wars. The Axora Cost-Saving Technology Challenge aims to transform these industries by discovering innovative, digital solutions that reduce cost fast and pay for themselves, whilst achieving the same or improved productivity, health and safety and sustainability standards.
“While digital solutions can help to get work done quicker and more cost-effectively, they typically require a three-year ROI, and if there’s no flexibility in the budget, a full budget planning cycle is needed to get things moving”, said Dr. Nick Mayhew, Chief Commercial Officer, Axora.
“Yet, extra financial cost is often incurred in delaying digital projects, so customers have asked us to highlight solutions that can have an ‘in year payback’ whereby the cost spent on the solution and deployment will be more than recovered within the budget year - this accelerates the timeline and drives positive business impact, quickly.”
The Axora Cost-Saving Technology Challenge
Axora is keen to learn of any digital cost-saving innovation which: meets the 12-month payback timeframe; can be deployed in any part of the value chain including upstream, downstream or midstream oil and gas, metals processing or mining; and is ready for market. The Axora Cost-Saving Technology Challenge is open to entrepreneurs, start-ups, academics and sector leaders across the world. The competition will be judged by a panel of leading industry experts.
“We’re passionate about supporting our industries and customers through all forms of digital transformation and the cost-saving solutions we are searching for could also provide a lifeline to many mining and metals and oil and gas companies in the current economic climate,” added Dr. Mayhew.
Improving productivity, safety and sustainability
Up to ten finalists will be chosen to pitch their solutions at a digital pitch day later this year, after which Axora will validate the ROI models and vet the solutions. The winner will receive the ‘Axora Market Accelerator’ sales and marketing package worth £10,000. This includes a two-hour workshop, promotion through Axora’s thought leadership content and inclusion into its digital demand engines, providing the opportunity for the winning solution to benefit thousands of industrial companies. Entries are open until May 31. Full details of the competition including terms and conditions can be found here.
To learn more about the Axora B2B digital solutions marketplace read our feature in the latest issue of Mining Global magazine.