pXRF Reveals Stone-Age Industry with Staggering Output

pXRF Reveals Stone-Age Industry with Staggering Output

ObsidianMine

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

pXRF

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

 

 

Expedio – Always Accurate Data 

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

GettyImages-107336394-large_trans++yrExcyLmJ2rXkhVv_9NiELMgJa5sK6WpbOg8eJ81aug

 

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.
(more…)

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)

https://www.swiftpage1.com/speasapage.aspx?X=2T0XA6ASIMY1W3DW00ZNW9

expedio

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

 

 

Expedio – Always Accurate Data 

Is the worst over?

Is the worst over?

BoomCrashClock

Resource stocks have been rallying in recent weeks, with miners across all sectors – even the bottom end – enjoying gains.

Australia’s largest resource stock, BHP Billiton, hit a 2016 high today by rising more than $A20 – quite impressive when you consider the stock was threatening to fall below $14 in January.

While gold players have come off the boil, with many reaching 2016 (or in some cases, all-time) highs last month, almost all are much higher now than their 2015 closing prices.

Morgans analyst Adrian Prendergast noted this was the second re-rating event in resources to occur so far this year.

“The injection of positive sentiment has been enough to help commodity prices stabilise, which in turn we expect will be enough to pull us out of the downgrade cycle that has been undermining confidence in resources,” he said.

Prendergast noted that the improvement in some commodities had caught many by surprise.

Many thought the gold price was destined to dip below $US1000 an ounce this year, and there was almost no one who would have tipped an iron ore price of $60/t.

“We expect sentiment had become weak to such an extent that we are now likely to see a widespread ‘relief rally’ unfold across the sector, which could continue in fits and spurts throughout the remainder of 2016 carrying commodities to more sustainable (higher) levels.”

ANZ Research noted last week that while commodities had been one of the best-performing asset classes this year, the issue of oversupply remained, particularly in iron ore and coal.

“Whether commodity markets continue to move higher from here or suffer a reversal will be dependent on supply,” ANZ said.

“The recent rally raises the risk of previously curtailed supply being reactivated. In markets such as industrial metals, margins are improving quickly enough to see that occur in the short term.

“Whatever the case, the sustainability of this current rally will be reliant on how each supply side of the market reacts over the coming months.”

Morgans believes that now is the time for investors to “dip your toe back into the sector”.

It seems that many are, with positive early signs emerging across the sector.

MNN has noticed a substantial pick-up in the quantum and value of capital raisings, and in a further positive sign, many have been oversubscribed.

Most notably was Pilbara Minerals’ $A100 million raising, while Western Areas raised $70 million.

Gold developer Gascoyne Resources secured $15 million, while West African Resources was “swamped” with investor interest after a run of high-grade results, last week raising $12 million.

To earlier stage projects, Salt Lake Potash boosted its $5.2 million raising to $8.4 million on high investor interest, while Hastings Technology Metals scored $9.6 million off the back of a prefeasibility study.

At the much smaller end, raisings by Core Exploration, St George Mining, Helix Resources, Tyranna Resources, WPG Resources, and Liontown Resources were oversubscribed.

All of these signs have led Lion Selection’s Hedley Widdup to declare the time as 5 o’clock on the firm’s investment clock.

“The clock has moved from 4.30 in late 2015 to 5 o’clock now in reflection of improved liquidity for miners,” he told MNN.

“This time is just before the boom starts to take place, so we are saying the stage is set.”

Widdup said the cycle had bottomed.

“Investors broadly have changed their view toward miners, and the realisations that miners are 1) cheap and 2) probably have very little downside on price, have now set in,” he said.

“The conclusion is not centred on the longevity of the recent rally – the rally is only an important piece of evidence.

“Capitulation is over, and strong cash generation and growth appetite in gold is likely to lead to more balance sheet-funded M&A.”

Original article by Kristie Batten of MiningNews.net view the original article here

expedio

 

 

Expedio – Always Accurate Data 

Exports Surge on the back of Mining Technology

Exports Surge on the Back of Mining Technology

mining technology

Mining has long been thought of as a business of shovels and sweat, but in reality it is now driven by advanced mining technology and sophisticated software. Resources-linked technology is also one of the great unsung export success stories. At present, about 60 per cent of the mining software used around the world originates in Australia.

According to an Austrade report, “Mining Software and Related Technologies”, exploration and mining software (EMS) generates more than $600 million a year from mining-related revenues, more than $240 million of exports, and directly employs more than 2500 people.

The size and type of EMS firms varies, with 100 companies in the sector, ranging in size from less than $1 million to more than $100 million in annual sales. The sector is concentrated in Western Australia (45 per cent of businesses) and Queensland (30 per cent).

Australia is seen as a world leader in this field,” says Simon Ratcliffe, product development director of Maptek, an Australian-based international company. “Australians have a can-do attitude and the capacity to think across traditional borders rather than in niches, and that is very important for global miners.”

Original article by Derek Parker of the Financial Review view the full article here

expedio

Expedio – Always Accurate Data

 

 

Expedio Top Tip – Data Capture

Data Capture

Expedio’s Top Tip for March better Data Capture:

reusable data jigsaw data capture

Data capture is one of the most important processes in data management. Getting it right at the point of capture will negate many errors before they become a big problem further down the process stream.

A data capture tool should enforce strict standards on a user to only allow valid data to be entered. For example:

  • Enforce company codes – pick lists to fields to ensure adherence to company logging standards and avoid a situation of people creating their own geology codes.
  • Built in validation rules to allow worksheet checks, this provides the ability to define contextual checking of data within and across multiple worksheets. Validations will allow you to check for:
    • Overlapping or missing intervals
    • Invalid dip/azimuth/grid values
    • End depth checking
    • Invalid sample types or groups
    • Contextual or logical checking across data columns
  • Manage data flow – only allowing a user to export data once from a logging tool to avoid a double up in data in the production database and creating an issue of multiple data sets. Which data set is correct?

OCRIS Mobile allows for all of this and more, OCRIS Mobile has an unbeatable range of features combined with rock-solid data validation and management. OCRIS Mobile is the only choice if you want fast, accurate and dependable exploration or mining logging in the field.

expedio

 

 

Expedio – Always Accurate Data

RIU Explorers Conference Wrapup

RIU Explorers Conference Wrapup

RIU Explorers Conference

RIU Explorers Conference held last week in Fremantle was a fantastic event for both the technical presentations and an opportunity to reconnect with old friends and colleagues.  The focus this year was on Lithium with a broad spectrum of presenters from junior explorers to major producers, with gold and base metal resource companies also well represented.

The Expedio booth was well attended with a lot of interest and positive feedback for our new interactive dashboard reporting.

Metals X were the recipients of this year’s Craig Oliver Award for general industry excellence and the winner of the Expedio wine prize was Peter Cash from Millennium Minerals. Congratulations to Metals X, Peter Cash and thank you to the event organisers, sponsors and attendees.

RIU Explorers Conference Winner

expedio

 

 

Expedio – Always Accurate Data

Gold Bar found in German lake

Lucky Teenager finds Gold Bar….. in lake

Gold Bar

Only if it was this easy to explore for Gold, we would like to say it was because of OCRIS but that would be a lie.

A teenage girl in Germany will be allowed to keep a gold bar worth $25,000 AUD found in a lake after the owner could not be identified, police said.

The 16-year-old found the 500g gold bar at a depth of about 2m while swimming near the shore of Bavaria’s Koenigssee lake last August.

She handed it into police, who were unable to find the owner.

It is still not clear how the bar ended up in the lake.

A six-month investigation could not identify the owner and, as a result, the teenager will be allowed to keep the gold. The girl has not been identified.

The bar’s identity number had been defaced but officials managed to restore it, German media reported.

The find revived rumours of Nazi gold supposedly lost in the lake, near Germany’s southern border with Austria, but reports said the find was not connected to the Nazi era.

Original article from the BBC and can be found here

expedio

Giant Diamond Found by Lucapa

Lucapa finds giant diamond

giant diamond

The company recovered a 404.2 carat diamond during alluvial mining at Mining Block 8, above the high-priority L259 kimberlitic signature, at the Lulo concession in Angola.

The giant diamond has been confirmed as a top-tier Type IIa D-colour gem.

Lucapa said it was the biggest diamond ever uncovered by an Australian company, and was the 27th biggest recorded diamond in the world.

The previous largest diamond recovered at Lulo was 133.4 carats, found only weeks ago.

The diamond represents the fourth 100-plus carat diamond found at Lulo since mining began in August 2015, and the 114th large special diamond.

Lucapa’s average selling price for run-of-mine diamonds has been $A2360 per carat, but this stone is expected to go for much more.

Lucapa CEO Stephen Weatherell said the company (40%) and its partners Endiama (32%) and Rosas & Petalas (28%) were proud of the find.

“We have always emphasised the very special nature of the Lulo diamond field and this recovery – together with the other 100 carat-plus diamonds recovered this year alone – is further evidence of that,” he said.

Original article by Kristie Batten of MiningNews.net, click here to view the full article

expedio

 

 

Expedio – Always Accurate Data