The Discovery Outcrop

Always wear safety goggles colour 2

To stumble upon in the field and recognise it for what it is – outcropping mineralisation with the grade and size potential to become an orebody. A long-anticipated moment of fierce joy and satisfaction for the lone prospector or exploration geologist.

In a near 60-year career this experience has only happened to me three times. Two of these discovery outcrops eventually led to operating mines (*), the third, after years of exploration and drill testing, failed to make the cut (I still think it will be a mine someday).  I take only modest credit for these discoveries. I was first on the ground and got the naming rights for the prospect and subsequent mines, but was part of a team, and a large element of luck was involved. All this happened 30-50 years ago when not all the low-hanging fruit had been plucked. Prospecting discovery of significant outcropping mineralisation  happens increasingly less these days. Maybe in a remote and under-prospected third world country? If there are any such left in this globalised world.

Discovery of outcropping mineralisation is invariably followed by collecting rock samples for assay.  The different types of rock chip sampling and how to collect them are detailed in an earlier blog post here.

 (*) The Greenfield Gold Mine near Coolgardie and the Magellan Lead Mine near Wiluna: both in Western Australia. 



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