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By David Seers Senior Geology Consultant - Mining Plus Peru

As an Exploration Geologist, I am often asked to undertake evaluations of projects in various jurisdictions around the world. With little more than a PowerPoint presentation and perhaps a few field maps, it can be hard to know where to start. Beyond the initial desktop evaluation, it is often necessary to field proof a project and without a local guide it can be hard find your way around.


After my years of dealing with these challenges, I have come across a number of free tools that can greatly assist with these project evaluations.


Besides the various paid tools, Mining Plus use a host of free online GIS resources to rapidly build an understanding of a project and its wider setting, even in the most remote and under explored locations. Some of the resources we use to add value to a client’s project are described below:


Quantum GIS (QGIS) – QGIS is freely available software which is excellent for displaying and manipulating geospatial data in 2D. Among many other features, QGIS facilitates:


  • Simultaneous viewing and comparison of multiple data sets

  • Easy import and conversion of many data formats

  • Direct link to Google Earth and Bing

  • Digitising of field maps

  • Basic statistical evaluation of data sets

  • Easy production of scaled maps

  • Projection of dipping structures over topography

DIVA GIS – The DIVA GIS website provides data by country, including:


  • Administrative boundaries

  • Road and rail networks

  • Waterways

  • Elevation surfaces

  • Land Sat Imagery

Google Earth – Information captured in Google Earth can be uploaded to a GPS unit. Google Earth can be used to:

  • Identify colour anomalies which might be related to alteration and or mineralisation

  • Determine vehicle access in areas where accurate mapping is not available

  • Identify local villages and any artisanal mining in the area which can be a valuable source of information once on the ground

Google Maps – Used with a smartphone connected to GPS (no need for mobile network coverage) maps and satellite images previously downloaded and stored on the phone aid navigating in poorly signed areas.


SRTM Tile Grabber – Website offering an simplified interface to download NASA’s Shuttle Radar Topography Mission data. This data is coarse but is a great tool for evaluating regional structural patterns which are often a major mineralising control.


Company websites – It is always worth searching the internet for other companies exploring in the area. Company websites might have maps and descriptions of geology which can help build a picture of what to expect once on the ground. Companies listed on the TSX are required to file technical reports which can be found on the SEDAR website.


Government portals often provide access to geological maps, exploration and mining concessions, regional geochemistry and geophysics. Peru’s Geocatmin is an excellent example of such a portal, other examples include British Colombia’s Ministry of Energy and Mines and Australia’s AUSGIN Geoscience Portal.


Using these tools to compile and exploit rich data sets ensures that when Mining Plus get on the ground they are ready to make maximum impact.


We encourage you to investigate these tools for yourself, and if you do need any assistance please feel free to me via email: david.seers@mining-plus.com



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