In our previous blog post, we described the challenges that the mining industry faces when prospecting for new deposits of gold ore. A geology consulting company called Nevada Exploration Inc. (NGE) is developing technology and testing methodology that could make it much cheaper and easier to find new ore deposits by analyzing samples of groundwater.
Groundwater flows through and around deep deposits of ore, picking up particles of gold and other elements as it goes. These particles imbue the water with a chemical “memory” of where it has passed through. By using proprietary technology that is accurate to one-part-per-trillion, NGE can analyze a sample of groundwater and determine if it passed through a gold deposit – then follow the groundwater back “up-stream” to search for potentially gold-bearing bedrock.
Testing groundwater to find precious metals is already a proven concept, so NGE’s methodology sounds quite promising! However, there are drawbacks. Groundwater analysis merely indicates that gold may be present in proximity from the place where the water sample was collected. So while it can narrow the search area for mining companies, it can’t tell you anything about the size or grade of the deposit. NGE is still testing and refining its methodology, but in the near future, gold miners may finally have a way to reduce the cost and duration of prospecting ventures.