October 2021 – Technical Webinar

BCGS Technical Talk – October 2021

Speaker: Alan G. Jones, PhD.

Title: Mining for Net Zero : The impossible task

Date: Thursday, October 14, 2021

Time: 1:00pm – 2:00pm PDT

Location: Webinar video via Zoom.

Bio:

Alan G. Jones, a Manchester lad (Mancunian) and a Manchester United supporter for life, took Physics as his first degree at the University of Nottingham from 1969-1972. At the end of those 3 years, not finding jobs in physics very attractive (which perhaps he should of thought of before), Jones decided to go into geophysics and did the 1 year MSc in Applied Geophysics (1972-73) at the University of Birmingham run by the inspiring Don Griffiths and Roy King. His MSc thesis project was a DC resistivity survey, and to model the data he developed a Monte-Carlos inversion code for DC resistivity, which he called CRASH as it kept doing so. Still not enthralled by the idea of work, he then undertook a four year PhD in Geophysics at the University of Edinburgh (1973-77) in magnetotellurics under the pioneering and visionary Rosemary Hutton. One aspect of his PhD work was in developing a Monte-Carlos inversion code for MT data – he did get that one working.

Subsequently lured by German beer, Jones went to Muenster University in NW Germany for almost four years (1977-1981) where he studied induction in Scandinavia and led Muenster’s International Magnetospheric Study (IMS) geomagnetic array study. A short stint at the Geological Survey of Sweden rounded out 1981, after which he moved to the University of Toronto for two years (1982-83) where multiple lunches with luminaries Nigel Edwards, Dick Bailey, Chris Chapman, Gordon West and George Garland broadened his perspectives tremendously.

An unexpected job offer from the-then Earth Physics Branch (EPB) of Natural Resources Canada took him to Ottawa in 1984, and he subsequently experienced the subduction (aka “amalgamation”) of the EPB into the Geological Survey of Canada in 1986. The leadership and mentorship of Alan Green during the 1980s at EPB/GSC was a tough trial-by-fire education into the necessity of explaining and justifying electrical conductivity studies, and he learned a lot under Alan Green’s mentorship.

Becoming Section Head of the group in 1987 was Jones’s first taste of management, and a stint as Acting Director in 1989 of the Continental Geoscience Division of the GSC cured him for life of any managerial aspirations in government.

Jones was very fortunate to be in Canada during the tremendous heydays of the Lithoprobe programme, and he led the EM aspects on most of the transects and had a stint as Chair of the Scientific Committee. Lithoprobe was outstanding not only in the science undertaken but in bringing together Earth scientists of all disciplines at transect workshops.

In a post-Lithoprobe world, Jones found the GSC to be too limiting in its vision and outlook (an attempt to convince a manager to allow Jones to be involved in the INDEPTH project in Tibet elicited the response “which province of Canada is Tibet in?”) and he eventually managed to escape in 2004 to Ireland, where he became a Senior Professor (appointed by then Irish President Bertie Ahern no less) and Head of Geophysics at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS), a research institute modelled on Einstein’s Princeton Institute for Advanced Studies. Jones stayed 11 years at DIAS undertaking studies on three continents including the largest academic MT study to date, which was in southern Africa (SAMTEX), before the call of Canada brought him home in February 2015. He built up the Geophysics Section from 7 to over 35 during his tenure, and oversaw the initiation of the Irish National Seismic Network (INSN) and the initiation of the Seismology in Schools programme. He also formed and was Director of the Irish Geoscience Graduate Programme (IGGP), which brought broad teaching to geoscience graduate students across the whole of the island of Ireland. And the MT work he pioneered in Tibet led to fundamentally new understanding of the processes of continental convergence, and in Southern Africa to a better understanding of lithospheric-scale structures.

Jones took early retirement in January 2015 to return to Canada.

He is currently Senior Professor Emeritus at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, a Specially-Appointed Professor at the China University of Geosciences Beijing, and Adjunct Professor at Macquarie University (Sydney, Australia) and at the University of Western Australia (Perth, Australia). In addition, upon his early retirement he formed an MT consulting company – Complete MT Solutions Inc. – with former students and a colleague in 2016. CMTS provides high-level MT contracting services to industry clients.

Jones was awarded the Tuzo Wilson medal of the Canadian Geophysical Union in 2006, was Appointed an International Member of the Geo-Electromagnetism Committee, Chinese Geophysical Society in 2009, was elected to Academia Europaea also in 2009 and was made a Member of the Royal Irish Academy in 2010. He was a Blaustein Visiting Professor at Stanford University for the Winter Term of 2016, and was appointed a Life Affiliate Member of the Geological Society of South Africa in 2016. In 2019 he was elected a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union.

Jones is the most published (>200 papers) and most cited (>15,500 citations) scientist in his chosen field of magnetotellurics. Together with Alan Chave, he published the most authoritative textbook to date on MT – The Magnetotelluric Method: Theory and Practice (Cambridge University Press).

He is a qualified Professional Geoscientist accredited by the Professional Geoscientists Ontario (PGO).

 

Abstract:

Mining for Net Zero: The impossible task

Net Zero by 2050

The world aspires, as it must, to move away from fossil fuels to renewables for energy production and transportation as soon as possible. This notion is encapsulated in the United Nation’s mission of Carbon Neutrality by 2050. The roadmap for this is laid out in the recent Flagship report “A Roadmap for the Energy Sector” by the International Energy Agency (IEA, 2021).

This aspirational goal of Net Zero by 2050 has been signed up to by 137 countries, and in fact some countries have accelerated the timeline. Uruguay plans to achieve Net Zero by 2030, Finland by 2035, Austria and Iceland by 2040, and Germany and Sweden by 2045. The goal for vehicles is that 60% of them would be EVs by 2030. On August 5th, 2021 US President Biden set the target that 50% of the vehicles sold in the US will be emissions-free – not quite 60% but close.

These goals have been set by politicians based on policy advice, but are they achievable?

I would like to lay out just why they are certainly NOT achievable, and that most likely geoscience advice was not sought in setting these goals.

Perhaps politicians and policy advisors think that the minerals and metals needed to achieve Net Zero are lying around waiting to be extracted, but:

  1. many of our resources are being depleted,
  2. we are not discovering new major ones and bringing them to market quickly enough, and
  3. training of skilled geoscientists, particularly geophysicists, to find new resources in the 2030s and 2040s is in serious jeopardy.

Copper

Focusing on one metal that is essential for achieving Net Zero, copper (Cu), what are the needs and do we have the supply? Perhaps not well appreciated is the copper needs of electric vehicles (EVs). A standard internal combustion engine (ICE) automobile requires of order 9 kg of Cu. A hybrid EV requires 40 kg, over four times as much. A battery EV requires 83 kg, NINE TIMES the amount required by an ICE.

The world produces of order 100 million new vehicles each year, including busses and trucks (approx. 30%) with far greater Cu needs, so we need approx. 15 Bkg (=15 Mt) for these vehicles. Current recycling rate for Cu from vehicles is 55%, and is not likely to become much higher. So we need 7 Mt of NEW Cu each and every year by 2050 just for EVs alone, and to meet the 2030 goal of 60% of EVs then we need 4 Mt of new Cu by 2030.

For renewable energy sources, solar, onshore and offshore wind, similar calculations lead to a need of 1 Mt of NEW Cu each year by 2030, and double that by 2050. So we need 5 Mt of new Cu by 2030, and 9 Mt by 2050.

Right now we are producing 16 Mt of Cu globally per year, so we need to grow Cu extraction, processing and transportation by 25% by 2030, and by 50% by 2050. (And all of those steps should be done using renewable energies!)

BUT, the projections for global Cu production are decreasing, not increasing. Over 200 major Copper mines currently in operation will reach the end of their productive life before 2035. A Supply Gap of order 14 Mt of Cu is projected by 2035.

These same bleak projections exist also for other essential metals and minerals for achieving Net Zero, in particular lithium and cobalt.

Also, many of the minerals we need for Net Zero, especially critical minerals, are associated with supply predominantly from single sources and/or from areas with questionable human rights records. Countries and producers are adopting Supply Chain Diligence.

Finding more ethical metals and minerals

Just find more! And from ethical supply.”

OK, but the discovery rate of all metals and minerals is rapidly decreasing, the discovery space is getting deeper, and deposits are getting much harder to find and are smaller.

Also, time from economic discovery to mine has increased significantly. In the 1950s 50% of deposits became mines within 15 years, in the 2000s less than 10% became mines within 15 years.

So we need to find far, far more economic deposits in more and more inaccessible places (logistically and/or deeper) at an ever increasing rate over the next 30+ years. To achieve this we need to change our paradigm, and appropriately train young, enthusiastic minds in the broad, holistic skills required.

The paradigm shift required has already occurred in Australia, who has led the world in developing the Mineral System concept. We need to stop looking for deposits, but first take a regional view and search for physical/chemical anomalies in the mantle and deep crust that are the sources of the mineralized fluids that found pathways to the surface where they exsolved to form mineral deposits.

The training of future generations of holistic geoscientists, especially geophysicists, is absolutely critical if we are to achieve Net Zero. We must pivot today from training geoscientists in O&G, which is a sunsetting industry, but train in broad-based mining geophysics. Federal and Provincial programmes need to be initiated with such training in mind. We don’t need thousands of geoscientists, but we do need far more than are being trained right now.

Finally, Canada has to start national programmes for acquiring non-competitive data across the whole of our landmass that are equivalent to those in Australia, USA and China.

Acknowledgements

I would like to acknowledge Prof. Simon Jowitt of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Simon kindly shared some of his material with me that I use in my own presentation.

References

IEA (2021), Net Zero by 2050, IEA, Paris https://www.iea.org/reports/net-zero-by-2050.

Webinar:

A recording of this webinar will be made available after the talk on our Youtube channel.

June 2021 – Technical Webinar

BCGS Technical Talk – June 2021

Speaker: Mehrdad Darijani, PhD. CEO & Founder, Geotexera Inc.

Title: Independent, joint and constrained inversions using unstructured meshes

Date: Thursday, June 10, 2021

Time: 4:30pm – 5:30pm PDT

Location: Webinar video conference via Zoom.

Bio:

Mehrdad Darijani is CEO and founder of Geotexera Inc., a company that provides geophysical modelling and inversion services and products (software). Mehrdad holds a PhD in geophysics from Memorial University of Newfoundland, completed under the supervision of Dr. Colin Farquharson. He has over 10 years of experience with the modelling and inversion of geophysical data.

Abstract:

Independent, joint and constrained inversions using unstructured meshes

At Geotexera, we collaborate with academia not only to use the most advanced tools and methods for improving the quality of results, but also to always keep them up to date. We have the support and aid of Dr. Colin Farquharson (professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at Memorial University of Newfoundland) and Dr. Peter Lelièvre (assistant professor in the Mathematics and Computer Science Department at Mount Allison University) as our advisors. We use the software MAGNUM, which they developed in cooperation with their research groups.

The software MAGNUM has been used in many projects so far. It has been developed to be the most fully functional forward modelling and inversion software that provides many tools and methods for the inversion of different types of geophysical data using only a single platform. It is capable of doing independent, joint (using linear, correlation, fuzzy c-mean, cross-gradient, and Gaussian methods), constrained (using bounds and reference models), clustering, and MVI (for remanent-affected magnetic data using Cartesian and spherical formulations) inversions or any combination of them such as constrained joint, constrained clustering and so on. It also works with mesh-based, surface geometry, and lithological approaches. At this point, the software inverts magnetic (TMI, amplitude, and vector-components), gravity, gravity gradiometry, seismic refraction (first arrival travel-times), and muography data. In the near future, IP/DC and EM methods will be added to the software.

Geotexera is the first company that uses unstructured (triangular and tetrahedral) meshes in all its geophysical modelling and inversion services and products. The unstructured meshes enable us to easily and accurately add high-resolution topography, borehole information, geological contacts, and surfaces (e.g., those generated by Leapfrog) to our models to obtain reliable results. They can be extremely helpful when we are working with constrained inversions.

Webinar:

A recording of this webinar is available on our Youtube channel.

February 2021 – Technical Webinar

BCGS Technical Talk – February , 2021

Please note that this talk will be held at 12:00 PM PST.

Speaker: Andrea Certo and Greta Tresoldi, LSI LASTEM S.r.i., Milan Italy

Title: A Remote Resistivity Sensing System to Monitor Tailings Dams Structural Integrity

Date/Time: Thursday February 25, 2021 @ 12:00pm – 1:00pm PST

Location: Online webinar. The webinar link will be sent out via our mailing list in advance of the talk.

Bio:

Andrea Certo, Instrumentation Engineer.  Andrea will describe the development and implementation of the GRETA resistivity monitoring System

Andrea is CEO and owner of LSI-LASTEM S.r.i. which provides environmental monitoring systems for hydrological, meteorological, industrial and geophysical applications.

Dr. Greta Tresoldi, Environmental Engineer / Geophysicist. Greta will describe the geophysical implementation of resistivity monitoring and software integration for noise reduction, elimination of spurious effects, automatic inversion, translation of results to percent water saturation, integration with piezometer and other dam monitoring systems and integration with minesite monitoring networks.

Greta is a Ph.D. Environmental Engineer and Geophysicist. After three years as a university Researcher at Politecnico di Milano in the field of applied geophysics for hydrogeological risk reduction, she is now Product Manager at LSI Lastem. An earlier contributor to the G.Re.T.A. system, as she has been working on the project from its very beginning.

Abstract:

G.Re.T.A.” A Remote Resistivity Sensing System to Monitor Tailings Dams Structural Integrity

By Andrea Certo and Greta Tresoldi, LSI LASTEM S.r.i., Milan Italy

The increasing number of tailings dams’ failures in the recent decades highly demand to set up reliable systems to monitor the stability of these structures. Appropriate design, efficient operation and continuous monitoring are key solutions to guarantee the stability of earthen embankments including tailings dams.

Electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) is widely used in the mining industry for mineral exploration, groundwater studies, characterizing mine wastes and monitoring acid mine drainage. We present the capability of an Italian geo-electrical monitoring system (developed by LSI Lastem with the scientific support of Politecnico di Milano) for permanent monitoring of tailings dams.

G.Re.T.A. (Geo Resistivimeter for Time-lapse Analysis) is an autonomous ERT system including a remotely controlled resistivity-meter with two cables connected to 48 stainless steel electrodes. The protected cables can be buried in shallow trenches along the embankments. The system can be powered by solar panels or power grid. Datasets of resistivity sections and acquisition parameters are available on a cloud platform. Site-specific algorithms for time-lapse data analysis and visualization of resistivity differences for any desired measurement period are available online to monitor the subsoil in real-time. An automatic control algorithm can detect if changes have approached pre-set thresholds while sending alarms about anomalous changes to the customer.

The advancement of G.Re.T.A. is that it can be implemented as a long-term monitoring system to underline the internal heterogeneities or the tailings dams based on changes in resistivity values. The efficiency of the system has been proved in pilot sites for monitoring the internal conditions of river levees and through laboratory tests for shallow landslides. One G.Re.T.A. system was also installed in 2020 in a tailings dam in Chile to monitor underseepage. The system is capable of being used to monitor the inner properties of mine wastes, heap leaching facilities and tailings dams.

Webinar:

A recording of this webinar is available on our Youtube channel.

January 2021 – Technical Webinar

BCGS Technical Talk – January 20, 2021

Speaker: Doug Schouten, PhD. Ideon Technologies Inc.

Title: Advances in cosmic-ray muon tomography: a new approach to subsurface exploration

Date/Time: Wednesday, January 20, 2021 @ 4:30pm – 5:30pm PST

Location: Online Webinar

Bio:

Doug Schouten, PhD, Ideon Technologies

Doug Schouten is CTO and Co-founder of Ideon Technologies. He is a global leader in muon tomography and one of the few people in the world with the expertise to turn muon research into industrial problems solved.  Doug holds a BSc. (Hons) in physics and computer science from UBC, and a PhD in subatomic physics from SFU. Doug also has extensive expertise in computer simulation, data analysis and statistical inference – including machine learning methods and detector physics.

Abstract:

Advances in cosmic-ray muon tomography: a new approach to subsurface exploration

Canada’s Ideon Technologies Inc. is a world pioneer in the application of cosmic-ray muon tomography and has developed a discovery platform that provides x-ray-like visibility up to 1 km beneath the Earth’s surface.

Muons are naturally occurring sub-atomic particles that are produced by cosmic rays striking our atmosphere. They lose energy progressively as they pass through the Earth’s surface. As they encounter higher-density material, muons lose energy at an accelerated rate, which reduces their intensity. The intensity, and the density of the materials encountered, can be measured. Muon tomography maps the intensity of cosmic-ray muons underground, measuring the physical properties in a targeted search area. The images are then combined to produce a 3D model of any anomalies present.

A spin-off of TRIUMF (Canada’s national particle accelerator laboratory), Ideon Technologies grew from an idea that a curious Canadian geophysicist brought forward from industry. After securing seed funding in 2020, Ideon is now developing the world’s first compact muon detection instrument designed to be deployed down industry-standard boreholes – field trials are underway this spring. Proprietary algorithms and advanced inversion technologies now also allow for the combination of muon data with other data sources to enhance the characterization of subsurface geology.

Webinar:

A recording of the webinar is available on our Youtube channel.

 

2020 Annual General Meeting

Our 2020 annual general meeting (AGM) will be held:

at 4:30pm on Thursday, December 17, 2020
(via Zoom Webinar)

The main order of business will be to elect the Directors of the BCGS and review the past year’s activity.  Our bylaws allow for between 4 and 7 Directors. Five of the current directors are standing for re-election. Thomas Campagne will be stepping down as Secretary. The Executive would like to thank Thomas for his contributions to the society over the past 7 years.

We are inviting interested persons to nominate themselves for election to join the Board of the BCGS. The position of Membership Coordinator is currently open.  Please indicate your intent to do so by 23h59 on Sunday, December 13, 2020.  All names of prospective candidates will then be included on the AGM notice to be emailed out the following business day.

The BCGS directors standing for re-election are:

ChairBrendan HoweTeck Resources Ltd.
Vice-ChairGraham ParkinsonKlohn Crippen Berger
TreasurerRoss PolutnikSJ Geophysics Ltd.
Secretarypending
Scholarship CoordinatorDennis WoodsDiscovery International Geophysics Inc.
Student LiaisonDominique FournierMira Geoscience Ltd.
Membership Coordinatoropen

The following new individuals are standing for election:

SecretaryJen HanlonDias Geophysical

Voting will occur virtually. Instructions will be provided in advance of the AGM.

We would like to remind you there are two classes of voting members in the BCGS:

  1. General members. An annual fee of $20. Will be returned as a discount should they choose to enroll in our annual symposium; and
  2. Student members. Free membership upon demonstration of enrollment in a post-secondary program at an accredited educational institution.

In order to participate in the vote, we ask that you pay your 2021 member dues online via Paypal below. These member dues will provide membership in the BCGS until December 31, 2021. Eligible students, as defined above, are entitled to vote. Please email the executive at info@bcgsonline.org to be added to the official member list.


Membership Options:




The AGM is open to all members and non-members.

As no BCGS symposium was offered in 2020, the normally offered $20 discount offsetting the 2020 membership dues paid, will be allocated to the BCGS Scholarship program.