Corescan Imaging Technology Used to Identify Minerals

Updated: January 24, 2019 07:23 PM

Corescan imaging has been going on at the DNR's Drill Core Library in Hibbing for nearly a month. And on Thursday, WDIO got a chance to check it out.

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"It's a mobile laboratory, built in Australia, and it's inside a 20-foot long shipping container," explained Don Elsenheimer, project manager and geologist.

The technology uses advanced imaging, scanning drill core samples row by row, and collecting data that's invisible to the human eye. The results will show how the minerals formed, not just which ones are in there.

Traditional core sampling analysis has included looking at the sample with a magnifying lens, or having it cut apart and then broken down in a lab to find out the chemistry make-up. The Corescan method, according to the DNR, is non-destructive. So the archive of core samples dating back to drilling from 100 years ago, can be preserved.

Of the library's more than 3 million feet of drill core, 16,000 feet of it from four different deposits will be scanned. Elsenheimer, said they picked carefully. There are deposits that include iron ore, manganese, titanium, and gold that are being examined further.

"We're working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. We can do about 50-53 boxes a day," Elsenheimer said. 

And because the DNR is a public agency, the material and results from the scans will eventually be put out for the public and other geologists to check out.

"It's about more than the next deposit. It's about how we can be more efficient as we develop existing resources, too," Elsenheimer added.

Heather Arends, the Mineral Potential Section Manager, told us, "These resources are important. It we understand them better, we can better manage them."

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