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Methods of exploration

Geophysical surveys, bedrock mapping, geochemical sampling and diamond drilling are examples of the methods we use in exploration to find new mineral deposits.

Airborne geophysical survey

Geophysical measurements are carried out from the air, surface and underground. Airborne geophysical methods are typically carried out for mapping regional geological structures to delineate areas favorable to metal exploration. Common airborne surveys methods are magnetic, radiometric, gravity or electromagnetics. Airborne techniques are cost effective and time efficient, while significantly reducing environmental impact on large areas under exploration investigation.  

Surface geophysical survey

Geophysical ground surveys are typically carried out when a geological area of interest has been identified and exploration requires more detailed investigations. Boliden carries out electromagnetic, electrical, magnetic, and gravimetric ground surveys. Ground surveys allow for user defined parameter specification with the aim to improve depth of investigation and spatial resolution for quality modeling and interpretation.

Underground geophysics is typically performed on drillholes but can also be deployed within underground mine infrastructure. Once a drillhole is finished geophysical methods can be conducted down the hole to further improve depth of investigation and spatial resolutions at depth.

Bedrock mapping

Where there are outcrops, the bedrock is mapped to collect all kinds of geological information that can give clues of where to find economic mineralization. This typically also includes physically searching for geologically interesting boulders that have been separated from the bedrock.

This method has limited or no environmental impact since it does not involve any heavy equipment.

Geochemical sampling

Where there is a moraine cover on top of the bedrock, geochemical sampling of the overburden can be used as an exploration tool to study the chemical composition of an area. Sampling can be done by handheld shovels or by a small drill rig.

This method has limited impact on the environment if a drill rig is used otherwise none.

Diamond drilling

By extracting drill cores from as deep as 2,000 meters below the surface, the bedrock’s geology and possible mineralization can be mapped in depth through logging of the cores. This exploration method is both used from the surface and underground in existing mines.

This method has some impact on the environment as there is heavy equipment involved. However, Boliden tries to use machinery with low ground pressure. After drilling the drill rods are cut near the surface and capped to avoid water leaking out.

Bedrock 3D modeling

Based on all collected data, 3D models of the bedrock describing the geology, mineralization and economic parameters are created that guide the creation of mine plans and decision-making in mining operations.


Boliden Head Office

Boliden Group
Klarabergsviadukten 90
P.O. Box 44, SE-101 20 Stockholm
Tel: + 46 8 610 15 00
Fax: + 46 8 654 80 90