By: Neil O’Brien, Senior Vice President, Exploration & New Business Development, Lundin Mining Corp.
Abstract: Economic mineral discovery is a high-risk endeavour that increasingly depends upon technological advances and integration of multiple disciplines to help mitigate exploration risk factors such as:
- geologic complexity
- increasing search depth
- under-sampled data sets confined to the surface, and
- finite exploration budgets.
The Neves-Corvo copper-tin-zinc-rich volcanogenic massive sulphide deposit in southern Portugal demonstrates a good case history of the maturing discovery process from the grassroots to subsequent brownfields exploration stages over a 40-year period. The original discovery of the Neves deposit will be detailed, and the exploration challenges of the Iberian Pyrite Belt will be outlined. Then the more recent regional and brownfields exploration efforts will be discussed leading up to the discovery of the Semblana copper deposit southeast of Neves-Corvo. Key elements in the discovery process are delineated as well as future exploration efforts.
Bio: Dr. O’Brien has more than 25 years of experience in the international mining industry, and holds a Ph.D. in Geological Sciences from Queen’s University. He began his career in the early 1980s in mine exploration with leading Canadian companies, including Kidd Creek Mines Ltd. Between 1990 and 2005, he held several positions of increasing responsibility within the Teck Cominco group, including the position of General Manager, Minera Teck Cominco (Mexico).
Since joining Lundin Mining Corp. in 2005, Dr. O’Brien has led an Exploration and New Business Development team that has successfully contributed to the growth of the company’s Net Asset Value through a disciplined and balanced approach in both greenfields and brownfields exploration, and through partnerships with select junior exploration companies. He currently holds the position of Senior Vice President, Exploration & New Business Development, and is based at the company’s Corporate office in Toronto.
Dr. O’Brien has extensive international experience in the exploration for, and resource development of most copper, zinc-lead, gold and silver deposit types in a variety of geological terranes, and has participated in the discovery and development of a number of significant mineral resource assets, including the copper-silver-rich Semblana VMS deposit near Lundin’s Neves Corvo mine in southern Portugal.