Mineral Exploration Services

By admin • • 1 Mar 2013
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My education and work background is in economic geology and I am presently looking for more work in the mineral exploration field, both while I am finishing my masters and ideally leading into a full-time position after graduate school.

In the past I have worked for companies such as Boliden AB, Barrick Gold Corporation, Newmont Mining, and ASARCO in both ore control/mine-site production geology and exploration. I will be starting an MS program next fall focused on mineral deposit research and mineral exploration, and am mainly looking for an internship opportunity for this upcoming summer, either in the U.S or abroad.

References and resume available on request.

More locally, I also sometimes lead field trips to various Colorado mineral localities and can take you and your friends or your professional group to a number of mineralogically interesting public collecting sites in the beautiful Rocky Mountains near Denver. You are guaranteed to find something interesting and unusual, learn about the fascinating and varied geology of Colorado, and spend a fun day outside on any of my trips. I also have numerous talks prepared on the mineralogy and geology of various deposits and regions which could be arranged for your mineral club or school group. Please email me for more information.

I have also started a small Mineral Exploration Business plan, Colorado Coltan, LLC, which you can learn more about on the separate page under this heading. The idea for Colorado Coltan was simple- there is a rapidly growing global demand for rare metals and minerals within the U.S, yet domestic production of these resources is minimal. In addition, many U.S deposits have been overlooked because they are either ‘brownfield’ resources with a previous environmental or mining legacy, or are considered too small to be of economic significance by larger mining and exploration companies. However, when many of these deposits are evaluated under new criteria based on rising rare metals prices, increased knowledge of modern prospecting techniques, geophysics, and advances in geometallurgy, they may in fact be worth exploring. In addition, diversifying assets and targets within a small organization are important for maintaining both market flexibility as well as cutting edge exploration techniques which allow small, previously uneconomic deposits to become attractive targets. Colorado Coltan was founded with 3 specific targets in mind:

1.) The ‘coltan’ columbite-tantalite deposits of Colorado and adjacent states- these are potentially significant U.S sources of two highly desirable rare metals, Tantalum and Niobium, which occur in both hardrock and placer deposits typically associated with large, zoned pegmatites in stable Proterozoic crustal regions of the Western United States. In particular, we have identified and targeted a promising placer deposit in New Mexico with both tested and untested reserves in an environment amendable to low-cost surface mining with the creation of a sellable product at the mine site.

2.) Rare Earth Element deposits of Colorado and adjacent states. While there has been some exploration for rare earth elements (REE’s) in the U.S over the past 10 years, I believe there are two unrealistic targets types which have seen the majority of exploration targeting here- Carbonatite/Alkali rock-hosted deposits, such as the Iron Hill Complex in Central Colorado, and hydrothermal thorite veins hosted in shear zones of proterozoic metasediments, such as Lemhi Pass in Idaho. In the case of carbonatites, some do in fact contain significant REE’s: the Mountain Pass Deposit in California, under new development by Molycorp, is a world-class REE resource. However, there is no indication that any other known U.S carbonatites (with the exception of the Bear Lodge Deposits in Wyoming) contain this REE enrichment level, and known resources such as Iron Hill are of such a low REE grade (and skewed towards less valuable light REE’s) that they would have to be mined primarily for other commodities such as Niobium and Titanium. As for thorium veins, these also contain deceptively large ‘quantities’ of REE’s, when extrapolated from broad data sets and quantities of REE-bearing rock, but in reality these are also broadly disseminated, low-grade deposits not amendable to modern mining. What I believe has been less focused on are REE pegmatites.  Colorado alone contains thousands of highly rare earth-enriched, differentiated pegmatite deposits, most of which have received little modern exploration focus because they are either thought to be too small or already mined out. While this is true for many of these pegmatites, some contain relatively large tonnages of mineable ore, and furthermore, their sometimes extraordinary enrichment in valuable heavy rare earth elements (HREE’s) means that the value of even  modest quantity of near-surface ore could be substantial. We have a number of such deposits Identified in Colorado as well as South Dakota and New Mexico, including a greenfield, possibly large, buried rare element pegmatite target in SD. 

3.) Diamonds. The worldwide demand for diamonds, both of gem and industrial quality, is growing sharply with globalization of the Asia-Pacific region, and Northern Colorado and Southern Wyoming contain a regionally-significant diamond field with a relatively small-scale and unfocused exploration history. One kimberlite pipe or group of pipes, the Kelsey Lake mine, was briefly put into production, but closed after only a few years due to a combination of mismanagement and poor mill design, not for a lack of diamonds. To the contrary, the first sample of the mill tailings taken later from this operation yielded a gem-quality 6.2 carat stone. Furthermore, with deposits such as the Sloan I & II pipes having been tested as sub-economic in the 1970′s and 80′s, exploration could now target a large number of cryptovolcanic structures and indicator mineral trains from near-surface sediment samples which indicate there are other Kelsey Lake’s in the region, possibly bigger. Gentle Terrain, all-year road access, and the nearby city of Fort Collins ~1 hour away all help facilitate an excellent exploration environment in The Stateline Kimberlite District of Colorado and Wyoming.