Mineral Exploration

HGI expertise covers many applications with our comprehensive suite of mineral exploration services. We begin with remote sensing geophysical technologies, such as airborne Electromagnetics (EM), a powerful tool for mapping the subsurface and detecting mineral deposits from the air. This aerial perspective allows us to cover vast areas quickly and efficiently, providing a bird’s eye view of potential exploration targets.

Navigating the complexities of mineral exploration necessitates a well-orchestrated strategy that fuses technology with geological insights.

Moving closer to the ground, we employ a range of ground-based geophysical methods to get a more detailed picture of the subsurface. Magnetotellurics (MT) helps us map the Earth’s subsurface electrical conductivity, indicating the presence of mineral deposits. Seismic methods, both refraction and reflection, help us map the subsurface structures and indicate the presence of oil and gas reservoirs. Resistivity methods help us map the subsurface resistivity, indicating the presence of groundwater or mineral deposits. Induced polarization (IP) is a method used to detect disseminated sulfide mineralization, which can be associated with various ore deposits such as gold and copper.

Moving deeper into the subsurface, we use borehole geophysical methods to get a more detailed view of the subsurface geology and structure. These methods include logging measurements taken within drilled holes or wells to assess properties such as natural gamma radiation, electrical resistivity, magnetic susceptibility, and sonic velocity, which can provide crucial information about the subsurface rock formations and fluid content.  Together, these methods provide a comprehensive picture of the subsurface, helping to unlock the potential of the Earth’s hidden resources.

A Brief History of Geophysics in Mineral Exploration

The use of geophysics for mineral exploration dates back to the early 20th century. Initially, gravimetry and magnetometry were employed to identify anomalies in the Earth’s gravitational and magnetic fields. Over time, more advanced techniques such as induced polarization, electrical resistivity, and seismic methods were developed and refined. These methods allow us to create detailed subsurface images, revealing the presence of mineral deposits and aiding in delineating ore bodies. Today, geophysical methods are integral to mineral exploration campaigns, providing valuable data that drives decision-making and resource allocation in mining operations.


Example – Case Study

A base (copper) and precious (gold) metal geophysical exploration project was conducted in the Atacama desert of northern Chile.  The exploration made use of electrical resistivity, induced polarization (IP), and to a minor extent, magnetometry.  The induced polarization targeted large pockets of disseminated sulfides usually associated with gold and copper deposits.  The project lasted approximately 10 months over which approximately 100km of dipole-dipole data were acquired.  Induced polarization results are displayed below.


The results of the induced polarization are displayed below. Our state-of-the-art techniques facilitated the identification of critical zones of interest for further exploration and extraction.

IP Results for a base (copper) and precious (gold) metal geophysical exploration project conducted in the Atacama desert of northern Chile.


Our Approach

Navigating the complexities of mineral exploration necessitates a well-orchestrated strategy that fuses technology with geological insights. Our approach is constructed on this fusion, aimed at uncovering the full potential of a prospect while minimizing risks and optimizing resource allocation.

Strategize for Better Results

Our expert geophysicists assist in formulating a plan that involves acquiring and amalgamating geophysical data with established geology and geochemistry. This initial step of target identification is crucial, and its subsequent reinterpretation with the initial drilling results is pivotal in forming a comprehensive insight throughout the exploration lifecycle.

Sharpen the Focus

The initial data gathered from surveys is invaluable, even if it corresponds to unsuccessful drills or misses. Every piece of data, whether positive or negative, aids in fine-tuning the exploration strategy and directing the subsequent phases of exploration. Regardless of the type of mineral being targeted, the integrated geophysical data provides the roadmap to a successful exploration journey.

Maximize Potential with Data Re-evaluation

Revisiting and re-evaluating data at every stage of the exploration process is fundamental to identifying new opportunities. By employing advanced 3D modeling techniques, we can visualize the subsurface in greater detail, thereby recommending additional survey methods and datasets that could enhance the value of the exploration project. This meticulous approach ensures that every investment made in geophysics is thoroughly examined for maximum potential.