Oman Mineral Potential Mapping and GIS
Oman has recently opened up exploration with the granting of nine exploration tenements in the well-known, under-explored, Semail Ophiolite Belt. The Sohar Region in northern Oman has a history of copper mining in volcanic rocks belonging to the Semail Ophiolite dating back to the Bronze Age. Mining companies have continued to operate in the district and have discovered approximately 44 M tonnes of 1-2% Cu in three key deposits. The ophiolite belt hosts VMS-style deposits, which are believed to have formed around active hydrothermal vents and black smokers on a mid-ocean ridge. More than 150 massive sulphide prospects have been discovered along the 500 km strike length of the Semail Ophiolite and are very similar in morphology, ore type, mineralogy, and geochemistry to those found in Cyprus.
Kenex used geological, geochemical, and geophysical data to determine the mineral potential of the Northern Semail Ophiolite Belt for VMS copper-gold mineralisation, using the weights of evidence spatial data modelling technique. The weights of evidence model was created using predictive maps representing the four stages of the mineral system model (source, pathway, trap, and deposition). The predictive maps chosen had the best regional coverage and a significant spatial association with known mineral occurrences (training data). The model identified more than 70 target zones; 9 of these are existing mines or current operations, and the remaining targets are of previously unidentified mineral potential. These remaining targets can be followed up by clients with access to the modelling, to prioritise geophysical and drilling programmes.
In addition to the GIS-based mineral potential mapping, economic modelling of the output targets allowed the explorers to take into account financial cost and potential return on their exploration targets. This was done by calculating the exploration risk by combining the geological probability of success with the cost of exploration and reward from development. This economic modelling allowed the identification of the highly prospective targets that have the best returns in an exploration portfolio and has allowed the explorers to selectively increase or decrease their holdings to maximise exploration expenditure.
Our modelling has shown that VMS copper-gold mineralisation remains an attractive economic target for exploration in Oman.
During the early part of 2016, several of our team were heavily involved with a large country-wide database development and mineral potential mapping project in Oman. A number of commodities were modelled and for several of the lower value bulk commodities (e.g. limestone and silica sand) economic and infrastructure spatial analyses were also performed, to determine which known deposits and exploration opportunities would be most beneficial in the project portfolio.