Multi-Sensor Aero-Geophysical Surveys Launched

IAS Prelims 2023

Government has inaugurated Multi-Sensor Aero-Geophysical Surveys over Obvious Geological Potential Areas for mineral exploration which is both time efficient and cost effective.

Minister of Mines Piyush Goyal has launched two aircrafts equipped with geophysical sensors from Dr. Babsaheb Ambedkar International Airport in Nagpur for the aero-geophysical data acquisition.

Two aircrafts equipped with geophysical sensors belonging to a consortium of service providers led by M/s McPhar International (India) with partners EON Geosciences Inc. (Canada) and Kiwi Air Ltd. (New Zealand) and brought from New-Zealand are launched from Dr. Babsaheb Ambedkar International Airport, Nagpur for the aero-geophysical data acquisition.

Geological Survey of India has planned to engage international agencies through global tender process.

Under this project called National Aero-Geological Mapping program, around 8.13 lakh square km area for the survey is divided into 12 blocks.

Four blocks have been taken up for the survey on a pilot basis. The total cost of the project is estimated as Rs 111.34 Cr.

With the exhaustion of conventional geological methods for mineral exploration based on surface manifestations in hard rock areas, necessity has arisen for search of concealed mineral deposits based on multi-thematic earth science (geological, geochemical, geophysical and remote sensing) data.

The regional multi-sensor aero-geophysical surveys are considered worldwide as an important tool to scan large areas to demarcate favourable geological environments for hidden mineral resources in a short span of time.

High quality aero-geophysical data are available over most of the already explored areas of many parts of the world such as Australia, Canada etc. and has resulted in locating many new concealed mineral deposits.

Geological Survey of India has been carrying out multi-sensor aero-geophysical surveys in different geological terrains of India since 1965. About 24 lakh square kilometres area with about 15 lakh line km has been covered with various survey specifications under different projects until date.

The study of aero-geophysical surveys has led to the discovery of number of mineral deposits like Kayar (Zn-Pb, 9.2 million tonnes), Aladahalli (massive sulphides, 4.5 million tonnes) in Karnataka and Golapalle (Pb-Zn, 14 million tonnes) in Andhra Pradesh. In addition to this, survey has also delineated significant Uranium anomaly in Nalgonda, Andhra Pradesh.

The National Mineral Exploration Policy NMEP unveiled in July 2016 has provisioned the implementation of a national geophysical mapping programme for acquiring baseline geoscience data in order to target concealed and deep-seated mineral deposits.

Under this project, around 8.13 lakh sq. km. area divided into 12 blocks is planned to be covered with line spacing of 300 m and at an altitude of 80 m above ground level. Initially four blocks have been taken up for the multisensory survey as a pilot project.

In the first phase, GSI has taken up Magnetic-Gradiometric and Radiometric surveys by engaging Project Implementing Agencies (PIAs) for data acquisition, processing, integration and interpretation. The promising areas of mineral potential once identified by this project, further high resolution Electromagnetic, Gravity, Gravity-Gradiometric and Magnetic surveys will be done in selected smaller blocks. GSI has selected a consultant for the Technical Supervision and Quality Control (TS-QC) by global tender process for the completion of the pilot project to cover four identified blocks during 2017.

The National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET) is wholly funding the project and these surveys will be completed by December 2017.

It is believed that this will not only help in identifying mineral potential areas of the country but with the release of the acquired geophysical data private investment will be attracted in the mineral exploration sector.