The Geological and Mining Law of 9 June 2011 defines both exploration and appraisal of mineral resources. According to the aforementioned Law, exploration is defined as: ”delivery of geological operations that are intended to locate and initially prove a deposit of mineral resources, an aquifer or a rock complex for underground storage of carbon dioxide”, whilst appraisal is defined as: "delivery of geological operations within an initially proven deposit of mineral resources, an aquifer or a rock complex intended for underground storage of carbon dioxide”.
Both exploration and appraisal operations are subject to licensing.
In more specific terms, exploration involves all analytical work and geological operations that are required for preliminary proving a mineral deposit.
Exploration may include geological studies (mostly those associated with exploration for useful minerals) that consist of landform surveys and analyses, studies of geological history of a particular area and land observation for potential showings of useful mineral presence under the ground. Occurrence of coal, salt, iron and copper ore, sulfur or arsenic deposits is identified this way.
Geophysical surveying that involves 2D and 3D seismic, magnetometric, electrometric and radiometric surveys, is the next method that allows for identification of mineral deposits which, for example, display higher seismic wave propagation velocities or specific magnetic properties. Exploration based on mining methods involves the excavation of mining workings or the drilling of both shallow and deep wells. This is the most expensive set of exploration methods. The stage of exploration is intended to investigate the area with geological and seismic methods in as much detail as possible.
In the phase of appraisal, geological works are performed within the initially proven deposit of mineral resources. In order to obtain geological (resource proving) documentation, the deposit must be investigated in detail so as to establish deposit boundary, primary and associated products, production parameters, recoverable reserves, depth to deposit and pay interval thickness.
If successful, the appraisal phase ends with the development of the deposit proving documentation which makes it possible to apply for a production concession.
author: Agnieszka Szczypiorska