There is a strong need for protocols in exploration programmes, like geological quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) logging and sampling procedures that ensure compliance with various African mining standards, which ensure accurate, transparent and auditable exploration results.
“Most geologists keep abreast of the latest developments with regard to the technical aspects of exploration and know how to manage a drill rig and log core; however, few understand why exploration tasks must be carried out in a specific compliant manner,” says Venmyn exploration manager Andrew de Klerk.
This is an issue addressed by Venmyn’s exploration procedures and protocols, he states.
Minerals adviser Venmyn added exploration services to its offering in February, which it says have been well received by the African mining and exploration industry.
De Klerk says the company added exploration services to its portfolio to ensure the industry has access to independent verification procedures as part of its service offering, from greenfield project development assistance through to resource estimations, public reporting and prefeasibility studies.
“The need for this independent service became apparent because enquiries from companies requiring such services had increased,” he says.
De Klerk says the value of an exploration or mining company is fundamentally based on its mineral resources and mineral reserves and, as a result, a properly constructed and compliant exploration programme ensures that the value attributed to projects is an accurate and fair reflection of the asset base.
“If an exploration process is unknowingly flawed, one will discover exploration issues later down the line, which have a negative impact on the mineral resources and their inherent value,” he says.
These independent prepared and verified exploration protocol documents advise directors, project managers, geologists and field technicians alike on the required compliant manner in which to carry out exploration to produce an accurate, transpar- ent and auditable database of exploration results that can be trusted by investors, adds De Klerk.
“From a client’s perspective, the exploration protocols provide confidence in an exploration programme, as they ensure that all exploration is performed cor- rectly and according to various relevant compliance codes, avoiding flawed resource estimates later down the project chain.
“From a strategic perspective, by offering this service, Venmyn has been able to cement client relationships from the beginning of the project life cycle. “In doing so, clients are more likely to stay with us throughout a project’s life,” he explains, adding
that Venmyn does not offer exploration field services, as this would jeopardise its independence in later mineral resource reviews.
“The protocols are company, code, geology, commodity, programme and staff specific and we focus on the implementation of the most rigorous QA/QC necessary to provide an independent auditable, transparent and compliant exploration database.
“Venmyn can assist clients in exploration programme planning, recommend the type of exploration needed and describe to, and advise, clients on how best to undertake an exploration programme,” states De Klerk.
Venmyn’s exploration protocols are suitable for all commodities, with the most recent protocols having been compiled for coal, gold and iron-ore.
De Klerk says the main challenge with regard to these protocols is aligning them with the relevant commodity and assigning the necessary QA/QC logging and sampling protocols.
“Training and emphasising why protocols need to be carried out remains a challenge; however, this is addressed by specific presentations that discuss the importance of various aspects of the protocols,” he notes.
Going forward, De Klerk says, the company intends to continue providing project-specific exploration protocols for various commodities, including precious metals, base metals and bulk commodities.