Miguel Martínez works as a Senior Geochemist in the Business Development Area in ALS Global. His focus is the diffusion and support of new technologies and methodologies offered by the company, such as hyperspectral mineralogy, soil analysis and isotopic geochemistry. After graduating in the Universidad de Chile, he served as a geologist for more than 15 years in metal mining. Most of that time he worked in exploration teams for copper deposits in Andes Mountain Range, using innovative geological exploration methods and techniques.
Why do we collect exploration samples the way that we do? This presentation will try to get exploration geochemists and geologists to think about how and what they sample, and how changes driven through preparing the sample for analysis can bias the interpretation of data. The resultant data might highlight (or miss) some important processes that can have a crucial role in how explorers choose to progress an exploration program. Geochemical orientation can have various goals, but a common goal is to determine how far from mineralization pathfinder elements are dispersed, and how this presents in the area being explored. Understanding the distribution and behavior of pathfinder elements in an exploration project can help identify the best sample media and analytical method for the job. Also, this talk explores some variables that are commonly examined during geochemical orientation, and the influence that these can have on geochemical responses and the reproducibility of results. Results from a well-planned geochemical orientation survey can help explorers to focus on any mineralization signal amongst the noise of variable lithological and other background artefacts. Exploration opportunities exist in many previously explored areas for the savvy explorer, simply due to previous sub-optimal sample collection, preparation and analysis procedures used in the absence of well-considered orientation data.