Margarita Driller and Geologist on sit

A driller and a geologist walk into a bar

If a driller and a geologist walk into a bar with a willingness to teach and listen to each other, they’ll both soon realize the benefits of working together for project success.


The title may sound like the start of a bad joke, but this article aims to delve deeper into the relationship between geologists and drillers in the exploration and mining industries.

These two professions are central and are at times glorified, with the heroic notion of a steely-eyed geologist intently focused on a small, glistening rock chip while the brawny, tanned driller pulls steel rods somewhere on a remote mountain top.  Unfortunately, reality is more like two old men bickering over invoices or complaining about clogged cyclones. Whether we want to believe it or not, these two professions, as different as their backgrounds or personal interests may be, are kindred spirits who have much to gain and learn from one another if they simply take the time to talk and listen.


First signs of improvement in two years

“It’s absolutely essential that geoscientists experiencing tough employment conditions do not lose contact with their profession, peers and colleagues” AIG President, Mr Mike Erceg

First light at the end of a very long jobless tunnel for Australia’s geos?  READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

The jobs outlook for Australia’s geoscientists has shown the first small signs of improvement in two years with the number of professional geoscientists in Australia seeking work or unable to secure satisfactory self-employment, falling fell in the June quarter compared with the preceding period.

The survey received 1095 responses this quarter from an estimated 6,000 geoscientists in Australia, working in all sectors of exploration and mining, government, education, research, environment and a range of other fields of practice.

On a state by state basis, decreases in both unemployment and under-employment were evident in all states except South Australia where unemployment remained static but under-employment  amongst self-employed geoscientists increased.

Geoscientist unemployment and under-employment in Australia June 2009 – June 2016
Geoscientist unemployment and under-employment in Australia June 2009 – June 2016

Case Study – A well-established Diamond mine


Case Study

A well-established Canadian diamond mine in the Lac de Gras region, Northern Territories


  1. Difficulties with data flow and data management
  2. Data was fragmented and in many different formats
  3. A non-observational style of geological logging was causing delays and hindering data flow
  4. 3 month delays to use collected data lead to frustrated geologists and management


Self-managed database – Expedio introduced a self-managed database solution and provide support

Data Logging: Expedio implemented a data logging solution that could be used offline with a standardised interface that adjusted the logging style of the geologists to an observational technique. This technique reduced logging time as geologists were no longer adjusting logs to fit standard geological blocks

OCRIS Logix: A stringent data management process that streamlined the workflow of uploading data from the field logger to the production database.

OCRIS Model: Expedio’s single interface data management solution integrated with our anywhere logging software centralised and standardised all company data.

Data Management: Expedio removed the frustration of waiting months for valid usable data. Data is now usable within hours of it being collected in the field. This allowed for the collection of analytics on production which identified inefficiencies that could be addressed. Centralising and standardising the data provided Logging Geologist, Geology Supervisor, Plant Operators, Plant Supervisors, Diamond Pickers, Resource Modellers and Mining Engineers access to the most current data set as required.

GBIS/Geobank Optimisation: A decade of experience in optimising GBIS/Geobank systems allowed Expedio to get the most out of the client’s current data management system.


Support OCRIS Logix was delivered to the client onsite, with remote support by Expedio.

Robust system – The self-managed system has required little to no maintenance since its implementation over 5 years ago.

Validated data – A single source of validated data ensured all departments are using the latest reliable and accurate  data sets.

Reporting – Data is now available to all departments within hours of collection, management can now act decisively regarding their resource and production in real time.


The driving force behind any data management system is that it delivers Always Accurate Data


Case Study – A large gold miner in North Sumatra


Case Study

A large gold miner in North Sumatra, Indonesia


  1. Complicated data entry systems
  2. Non-standard assay management system
  3. Geologist and field staff were logging on paper in the pit
  4. Slow turnaround for grade control data users from capture to reconciliation stages
  5. No consistency and no data flow control mechanisms
  6. Non-compliance: A culture of database schema changes to force non-valid data into the database
  7. Non-compliance: Allowing non-valid data into the database compromised the veracity of the dataset and compounded several major issues within the database
  8. Language and cultural barrier to locate the source of their data issues
  9. Several generations of data consultancies had tried and failed to solve large scale issues in the importing, validating, exporting and reporting of the data.


Database solution – A self-managed database solution with support from Expedio

OCRIS Mobile: Expedio designed and implemented a robust data capture solution customised with the client’s business rules, validation and formulas. Changes are delivered quickly and easily applied

OCRIS Logix: A stringent data management process from field logging to data management with a full, demonstrable audit trail.

OCRIS Model: Expedio introduced a standardised and secure data management system using Expedio’s own schema design and software configuration optimised for Gbis / Geobank Increased database security controls allowed the company to regain and maintain  the veracity of their database.

Global experience: Years of experience working around the world meant Expedio was able to address cultural and language barriers by building trust with the onsite staff and deliver on our proposed solutions

Custom validation: Customised rules and views ensured non-valid data would be unable to corrupt the new schema. With these rules in place Expedio was able to validate and audit their entire dataset and correct many historic data issues

GBIS/Geobank Optimisation: A decade of experience in optimising GBIS/Geobank systems allowed Expedio to get the most out of the client’s current data management software.


Data Capture – Field logging process delivering a clean, controlled and rapid flow of data with errors trapped and corrected at the point of capture by the user

Export data on demand – Users can generate ready to use data on demand in standard formats for each production department in addition to automated mailouts of QC data results

Dataset control – Validation rules, views and security permissions

Data Management – By outsourcing the development and support to Expedio, onsite staff can now focus on the day to day data management. The data managers can now provide clean, valid and effective data to the Geologist, Engineers, Metallurgists and Surveyors onsite.


The driving force behind any data management system is that it delivers Always Accurate Data


pXRF Reveals Stone-Age Industry with Staggering Output

pXRF Reveals Stone-Age Industry with Staggering Output


Under a cloudy winter sky, the eastern slope of Mount Arteni has the dull monotone of a barren wasteland. At 6,715 feet, its spare crest is dwarfed by the snow-capped 13,419-foot summit of nearby Mount Aragats, the highest point in the Republic of Armenia. The only signs of life are ragged clumps of wild grass, bent horizontal in a frigid wind from the high Caucasus.

Then the clouds suddenly break, and Arteni explodes into a dazzling mosaic of sunlit mirrors. Every square foot of ground, as far as the eye can see, is carpeted with fragments of glassy obsidian, many of them chipped and flaked into razor-sharp weapons and tools.

“We are looking at the remains of a gigantic open-air workshop,” says archaeologist Boris Gasparyan of Armenia’s National Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology. Countless blades, hand axes, scrapers, chisels, arrowheads, and spearheads produced at the mountainside “factory” circulated over a vast exchange network that long precedes the oldest recorded instances of formal trade.

Equipped with new technology that can precisely identify the origin of obsidian tools—even down to a single lava vein in a specific volcano—scientists have come to believe that Arteni was a central component in what amounts to a far-reaching Paleolithic arms industry. Its products have been traced north over the Caucasus to present-day Ukraine and west across Anatolia to the Aegean, almost 1,600 miles away.

Estimates of Arteni’s output are staggering. Active production is thought to date back to the Lower Stone Age, when the region’s first skilled artisans were early Neanderthals. Their successors mined the same materials up to 1000 B.C.E. Gasparyan and his Armenian associates, along with their American, Japanese, and European collaborators, have harvested thousands of Paleolithic tools at Arteni and other local sites.

They have barely scratched the surface, he says: “The number of obsidian implements here from different periods, from the Paleolithic to the Bronze and Iron Ages, is impossible to count. It is in the millions.”

Technology’s Windows on the Stone Age


Scholars had long recognized the importance of the Caucasus in the saga of human history. But the violent convulsions of the 20th century—two world wars, the Russian Revolution, and the establishment of the Soviet Union, which annexed the region in the 1920s—held research to a minimum. With the Soviet collapse at the end of the 1980s, archaeology came to a complete halt. Although Armenia gained its independence in 1991, more than a decade passed before the extraordinary wealth of its resources was understood.

By 2011, says anthropologist Ellery Frahm of the University of Minnesota, it wasn’t unusual for international teams to collect 500 obsidian artifacts in Armenia in one day, numbers that quickly outran traditional methods.

Frahm met the challenge by refining two key advances in determining the origin of obsidian. The first worked on the principle that trace elements in a sample can be chemically matched to the volcano where it was produced. In effect, it bears a chemical “fingerprint.”

The conventional testing procedure was expensive and time-consuming, depending on specialized laboratories distant from archaeological sites, and requiring that artifacts be ground into a fine powder. Confronted with Armenia’s volume of artifacts, Frahm said, it was crucial “to take sourcing from the realm of ‘white coats’ in a lab to ‘muddy boots’ in the field.”

His solution was the pXRF, a portable x-ray fluorescence instrument with the dimensions and weight of a cordless drill, which can analyze an artifact’s chemical composition in ten seconds without pulverizing it. Although it had been in laboratory use for several years, the device wasn’t employed extensively in the field until 2011, when Frahm began adapting it for Gasparyan-led projects. Since then, he says, “We have analyzed more obsidian specimens than all other prior studies in Armenia combined.”

He followed up in 2014 with a more innovative procedure, developed at Minnesota’s Institute for Rock Magnetism. Frahm and his colleagues focused on tiny black grains of magnetite, an iron oxide with magnetic properties, which are suspended in obsidian and give it its ebony color. Magnetic measurements, explains Frahm, “can reveal how these grains differ in size, shape and composition from one portion of an obsidian flow relative to another part,” he says.

The measurements fine-tune source data dramatically, yielding a far more detailed fingerprint and shedding valuable light on the toolmakers’ work habits. Did they always mine a preferred seam of obsidian, or did they move from one former lava flow to another for reasons that are not yet clear? Put simply, Frahm says, using a term borrowed from the modern arms industry, the goal was to open a window on “Neanderthal procurement strategies in Armenia.”

Original article by Frank Viviano of National Geographic, view the full article here




Expedio – Always Accurate Data 

Expedio Top Tip – Code Compliance

Code Compliance

Expedio’s Top Tip for May keeping Code Compliance:

Data Mining Code Compliance

Having inconsistent logging codes within a data set will cause major issues when modelling the data. “how do I use this – I can’t model my geology, how do I put this on a section?”  This can be caused by a field geologists creating there own codes in the field “Im not sure what this is, ill just use ???”

The old data management proverb of “S*** in S*** out” comes to mind.

Enforcing company codes is important, consistency in logging is the key. Having a standard set of codes allows data collected to be consistent from geologist to geologist, Field assistant to Field assistant.

Having a field logging tool that has built in checks for valid numeric ranges and valid logging codes like OCRIS Mobile is essential.

Having a process for adding new codes within your company will kept consistency when new codes are required.




Expedio – Always Accurate Data 

Boy, 15, discovers ancient Mayan city using constellations and Google Earth



I was really surprised and excited when I realised that the most brilliant stars of the constellations matched the largest Maya citiesWilliam Gadoury

DEEP within a dense Central American forest sit the ruins of an ancient city the world forgot.

And it has just been discovered by a precocious 15-year-old boy.

Quebec teenager William Gadoury claims he has discovered a long-lost ancient Mayan city using a clever combination of old-world astronomy and ultra-modern technology.

The inquisitive youngster, who has a deep fascination with ancient Maya, analysed 22 Mayan constellations and realised that the Mayans aligned their 117 cities with the positions of the stars.

It was the first time a researcher had made a direct correlation between the stars and the locations of the Mayan cities, the Journal de Montreal reported.

But William pressed on with his research, eventually coming to realise that there was one star in another constellation that didn’t appear to have a corresponding city.

If his theory and calculations were correct, that would place the missing city in a remote coastal location on the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. Using satellite images from the Canadian Space Agency and Google Earth maps, William zeroed in on the precise location — and a pyramid and about thirty ancient buildings were spotted, partially hidden, in the dense forest.

“There are linear features that would suggest there is something underneath that big canopy,”  Canadian Space Agency liaison officer Daniel de Lisle told The Independent.
“There are enough items to suggest it could be a man-made structure.”  William has named the lost city K’aak Chi, or Mouth of Fire. It is believed to be one of the five largest Mayan cities on record.
The discovery has won William praise from space agencies in Canada and Japan as well as NASA. He’s also become a local hero in Quebec.

A pivotal innovation priority for Australia

Australia ASTER Ferric Content_300dpismall (1)For those of you that missed AMEC’s 04 May media release here it is again – It sounds like good news and a $100 million won’t go astray, or will it? Please feel free to share and comment.

The allocation of $100 million to Geoscience Australia to produce pre-competitive data for the Exploring for the Future program is excellent news and is applauded.

Exploration geoscience must be central to the nation`s innovation agenda. Australia has a competitive advantage in resource development and must seize the opportunity for science and innovation, together with vital new capital investment in exploration, to improve discovery rates in Australia.

To compliment the extra geoscience funding AMEC would like to see a long term rollover and additional annual commitment to the Exploration Development Incentive (EDI) in the Forward Estimates in order to stimulate investment in eligible Australian junior mineral exploration companies who would be able to provide shareholders with a tax offset equivalent to the company tax rate.

The production of pre-competitive data by Geoscience Australia, the State and Territory Geological Surveys and the EDI are inextricably linked if we are to improve exploration outcomes and provide new mines for future generations.

These strategies are also vitally important recognising that a number of large producing mines are coming to an end and not being replaced at a fast enough rate.

New mines will create thousands of jobs and generate significant economic and social dividends for the nation and local communities. The Government should also consider its role in unlocking resource projects that are ‘stranded’ due to the lack of cost effective infrastructure (power, port and rail), approvals delays or access to finance. These need to be facilitated or fast tracked where possible.

The enterprise tax plan to reduce the corporate tax to 25% for all Australian resident companies by 2026/27 is a significant step in the right direction, but needs to be implemented sooner to be a clear incentive for job creation and an economic boost throughout the nation.

The sensible plans to cut waste, reduce unnecessary spending and red tape in Government are essential, as there are limited opportunities to increase revenue in the current economic environment. These initiatives have to be a feature of the Government`s Budget and Forward Estimates. There cannot be a ‘business as usual approach’, as times have changed considerably.

All Australian mining and exploration companies have had to implement savings and efficiency measures on a daily basis to control cash flow and keep their operations going. The Government has to do the same.

Media source: Media release:- Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC)


The driving force behind any data management system is that it delivers Always Accurate Data. Expedio has decades of experience in the resources industry and we strive to be a global leader in data management solutions.

Data intelligence, integration and new technology are changing the mining industry

Data intelligence, integration and new technology such as advanced robotics are changing the mining industry.

Data intelligence

In an attempt to preserve profit margins in a bleak market, mining giants such as BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto have began employing automated drills and driverless trucks to assist with production. Previously, Business Review Australia reported how Rio Tinto has begun using drones to help its mining efforts.

As smaller mining companies have been forced to close due to the 28 per cent productivity collapse over the past 10 years, the new technology helped Rio Tinto reduce costs by eight per cent since 2013, even though the company increased output by five per cent.

As the demand for iron ore in China — the world’s largest user — continues to slow, price will most likely fall with it as major suppliers expand output by using lower-cost reserves. The use of autonomous machines will see the top four mining companies have their global market increase from 64 per cent in 2010 up to 79 per cent in 2018.

When Rio Tinto released its “Mine of the Future” program back in 2008, commodity prices were rising to record highs. The goal was to efficiently use more autonomous technology to access more iron ore while improving safety for employees.

After using just 10 driverless trucks in 2012, Rio has now expanded to 66. These vehicles can run all day without a driver who needs to take lunch or bathroom breaks.

According to Caterpillar chief engineer of mining technology Michael Murphy, autonomous vehicles can save over 500 work hours a year since one worker can monitor as many as 50 driverless trucks.

Autonomous drills in underground mines are even more profitable, as employees using normal equipment not only take significant time walking from the opening to the work site, but are operating in dangerous working conditions as well.

And the rest of the mining industry is catching on. According to a survey by International Data Corp., about 69 per cent of 190 mining companies are considering remote-control equipment, while 29 per cent are considering an increased use of robotics.

Whether we like it or not, machines are becoming more and more prevalent in today’s world.

Original article by Eric Harding of Australia Business Review, view original article here




Expedio – Always Accurate Data 

Expedio Top Tip – Azimuths and Magnetic Drift

Azimuths and Magnetic Drift

Expedio’s Top Tip for April understanding Azimuths and Magnetic Drift:


Managing azimuths and magnetic drift is very important in maintaining the integrity of your downhole survey data.

Steps in managing azimuths and magnetic drift correctly:

  • Correctly reference azimuths recorded – Is the reading measured in True north, Magnetic north or Grid north. Incorrectly collecting and storing this data will have a massive effects on the quality of the data set.
  • Know the magnetic north to grid north conversion – Magnetic declination tells you the direction of magnetic north, measured from true north, and convergence tells you the direction of grid north, measured from true north. For example countries such as Brazil  have a 23 degree swing between national grid north and magnetic north. Get this wrong and you will miss your target.
  • Be aware of magnetic drift –  Variations in the Earth’s outer core results in changes to the magnetic field and hence the position of the magnetic north and south poles over time.