Case Studies

McArthur River
Uranium Mine

Uranium (high grade

Imaged a compact high-grade uranium deposit at ~600 m depth

Muon geotomography successfully imaged a compact high-grade uranium deposit under 600 m of sandstone at the McArthur River uranium mine. These deposits are virtually impossible to detect with conventional geophysical exploration techniques.

Canada’s Athabasca Basin hosts the highest-grade uranium deposits yet found. This ore body at the McArthur River mine in Saskatchewan, Canada, is near an unconformity, above the basement rock, but under almost 600 m of sandstone. In addition to the depth, other challenges include complex geology and naturally occurring radiation.

Muon detectors were placed at a depth of 600 m providing a large field of view (over 1 km across on the surface) with sufficient locations to enable good 3D imaging of the deposit despite complex geology.

Muon geotomography successfully imaged this high-grade uranium deposit with high statistical significance, demonstrating a new technique for discovering hard these hard-to-detect deep compact high-grade deposits.

Overview of project showing the compact ore shell at about 600 m depth, the detector locations (cubes) and a section of the density profile from muon data.

Closeup of ore shell model with section of density profile from muon data. Detectors are shown as cubes.

Radiometric image from one muon detector showing the high-grade deposit (dark region).

Presented at:

Presented at:

Multiple Projects
& Locations

Several (zinc, copper, lead,
silver, uranium)

Our results have also been presented at numerous conferences

Pend Oreille

Multi-metal lead/zinc (MVT type deposit)

Blind test successfully imaging a
MVT deposit at ~ 500 m depth

This blind test of muon geotomography demonstrated the effectiveness of the technique to image a Mississippi Valley Type (MVT) deposit. It also showed that a compact ore shell model could only be produced with a combination of muon tomography and 5% of the drill data.

Teck’s MX700 deposit is an MVT lead/zinc ore body deep underground in Washington state, USA. It had been well-drilled and its wealth of geological data would provide a good blind test for muon geotomography. Afterwards it could be used to study how few drill holes would be required to produce a good ore shell model.

Placing four muon detectors at depths of 650 m provided good views for 3D imaging. First a blind test was performed; then the geological model was refined using a combination of muon geotomography and 5% of the available drill data.

Successful blind test with muon geotomography, followed by a refined ore shell model combining muon tomography and 5% of the drill data.

Overview of project site showing the ore shell,  slices of the 3D inversion and detector locations.

Closeup of ore shell model. Detectors are shown as cubes.

Presented at:

Presented at:

Myra Falls Mine
BC, Canada

(VMS type deposit)

Imaged a VMS deposit at ~300 m depth in mountainous terrain

Muon geotomography imaged the Price deposit, a multi-metal VMS ore body at Nyrstar’s Myra Falls underground mine in BC, Canada. The survey was conducted on the side of a mountain.

The ore body is located under a provincial park in an environmentally sensitive area. Exploration drilling from the surface was to be avoided. This polymetallic volcanogenic massive sulfide (VMS) deposit contains zinc, copper, lead and silver, providing good density contrast from the surrounding rock.

Using muon detector locations at a depth of about 300 m in mountainous terrain the Price deposit was mapped in 3D.

The muon geotomography results agreed well with measurements from underground drill core data.

“Because this technology has the potential to detect and image deposits at depth, it will refine the exploration search area, which will reduce the amount of expensive drilling required and further efforts to minimize environmental impact”

Rick Sawyer, P. Geo,
Manager, Exploration and Geology
Nyrstar Myra Falls Ltd.

Price deposit shown with a slice of the 3D density model from muon geotomography

Closeup of ore shell model with section of density profile from muon data. Detectors are shown as cubes.

Presented at: