Coal Exploration & Mine Development
Norwest assessed the potential of coal occurrences for a Canadian exploration and mining company holding mineral exploration licenses in the South Gobi desert of Mongolia. Norwest’s focused on resource evaluation and the feasibility of developing the coal resources for export to Chinese thermal and metallurgical coal markets.
Norwest mobilized to the South Gobi desert to conduct the initial site review. A multi-faceted exploration plan was developed which consisted of field reconnaissance, air photo and satellite imagery, exploratory trenching, surface geophysics, and exploratory drilling.
Norwest located and defined significant coal deposits of high quality thermal coal with potential for metallurgical applications. Continued exploration has increased the reportable resource base to nearly 150 million tonnes. Geotechnical and hydrologic studies were conducted to support the development of a prefeasibility mining study. The project is now a producing coal mine which exports coal to Chinese markets.
Identify Metallurgical Coal Opportunities
Norwest has been assisiting an international mining company to identify metallurgical coal opportunities throughout the Americas. The target areas were selected by evaluating public information for both operating mines and expansion properties as well as greenfield exploration targets. Once target properties were identified, a matrix evaluation approach was employed to cull and rank the opportunites in accordance with the clients objectives and priorities. The assignment resulted in identifying several key existing operations for acquisition and solid greenfield exploration plays. Norwest has developed detailed exploration plans and anticipates implementing exploratory drilling during 2011.
Mechanically Stablized Earth (MSE)
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Norwest recently completed an automated instrumentation system to monitor the performance of a Mechanically Stabilized Earth (MSE) Wall at an oil-sands mine. Historically, because of access issues in this dangerous and sensitive area, geotechnical monitoring of the structure has been difficult and unreliable. By installing data collection stations at the base of the MSE Wall we are now able to transmit piezometer data along with Measurand’s ShapeAccelArray (SAA) automated inclinometer sensors (which measure foundation performance) by radio signal on a daily basis to a data logger in a safe location away from the wall. This data logger is paired with a cellular modem so that our remote monitoring software package (Vista Data Vision) has real time access to all these sensors. This data is verified by the software and if the structures performance falls outside of engineering tolerances, alarms are sent to the geotechnical engineers on record automatically and promptly.
Oil Sands in Alberta
Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada
Legacy logs in a greenfields area indicated the presence of oil sand much farther east of Fort McMurray, Alberta than was previously believed. An independent consultant’s report suggested the potential of significant oil in place. An oil sands exploration company acquired a major land position in the area and engaged Norwest to support their exploration programs aimed at validating the concept.
Norwest led the collection, processing and interpretation of geological, geophysical and analytical data on the Saskatchewan based lease holding. The initial core hole discovered oil sand in Saskatchewan which led to subsequent drilling, seismic, and hydrogeology studies of the project areas. These studies resulted in a fundamental shift in the understanding of the eastern edge of the McMurray/Dina Formation in the Athabasca region.
Ongoing exploration in the area has led to the discovery of a significant quantity of oil in place on our Client’s properties. The data collected was analyzed and resulted in:
- The remapping of the eastern extent of the Devonian and Cretaceous strata in the project areas;
- The detailed understanding of the spatial extent of the oil in place on the Client’s properties;
- The remapping of the regional oil/water contact in the project areas;
- These results have led to a new, industry wide, understanding of the regional oil and hydro-geological regime in the Athabasca region;
- Ongoing development of the oil sands industry in Saskatchewan; and
- The data collected allowed the Client to produce NI 51-101 compliant resource reports.
Oil Shale Exploration
Over the past few years Norwest has been assisting Oil Shale Exploration Company (OSEC) with developing its oil shale resources in eastern Utah. OSEC originally engaged Norwest to prepare a resource evaluation of their holdings consisting of the former Whiter River Shale Oil Company assets and adjacent properties.
This evaluation formed the basis for a feasibility study of developing the properties using underground mining methods. Norwest geologists followed this work with a 5,500 ft core drilling program to provide fill-in geologic data. The results of this program validated Norwest’s previous resource estimates for the properties.
Reclaiming Precious Metals
A major mining company in Mexico was considering feasibility of reclaiming silver and gold from an historic tailings impoundment area. Norwest was engaged to assess and validate the in-place precious metals content and distribution in the tailings area, including conducting a drilling, sampling, and testing program.
Based on the historical data available and the validation drilling program, Norwest’s geologists prepared an overall resource assessment and summarized this work in a National Instrument 43-101 compliant report for filing on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Based on the success of this effort, the project has moved to the commercial feasibility study phase.