Ramon Carbonell and Juan Alcalde, both researchers at GEO3BCN-CSIC, are part of the editorial team that is preparing a special issue for the journal Solid Earth that seeks to provide a wide-ranging panorama of the mineral exploration. This volume is expected to bring together a number of articles aimed at exploring the current state and future prospects of mineral exploration, from different perspectives such as remote sensing, geochemistry, geology, geophysics, modelling, mineralogy and structural geology.
According to Alcalde, the issue is being prepared in a special context: “The mining industry is moving towards deeper and more complex mineral systems because shallower deposits have been already explored, and the exploration community needs to develop effective and sustainable tools to satisfy its needs”. In this sense, Alcalde notes that this special issue “will include results from the most advanced techniques that will likely drive the exploration efforts in the future”.
This special issue is derived from the EGU Sharing Geosciences Online 2020’s session entitled ‘State-of-the-art in mineral exploration’. “This session raised so much interest and attention from the attendants that we were prompted to propose this issue to the journal Solid Earth, which also belongs to the EGU, and they were very keen on the idea of hosting it”, recalls Alcalde.
One of the main topics included in this special issue is the sustainability improvement of exploration activities. “Although the exploration does not carry the strongest environmental impact of the different mining operations, there is still room to ensure and improve its sustainability”, says Alcalde.
“Despite its unquestionable importance to our technology-based economy, mining industry has a bad reputation mainly based on its past activity”, explains Alcalde. In this regard, the researcher defends that “modern mining industry has the burden of probing its profitability while being environmentally friendly”.
“Exploration is the first step in the mineral resources cycle, therefore research efforts in this area will have an important societal impact”, says Alcade. “Mineral resources are used in larger quantities than ever before in history and they are the basis of our modern society”, he adds.
Solveig Pospiech, from Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology, Alba Gil de la Iglesia, from Uppsala University; Liam A. Bullock, from the University of Oxford, and Fernando Tornos, from IGEO-CSIC are the other members of the editorial team of this special issue. “It is a multidisciplinary team that has been built considering factors such as career stage, gender, origin and affiliation of their members”, says Juan Acalde.
Papers can be submitted until the end of the year, although Alcalde says that dead-line will probably be extended due to “the current COVID-19 situation”. The editors expect that this special issue might present from ten to fifteen papers.