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Development of Mineral Environmental Assessment Methodologies

Development of Geoenvironmental Model Assessment Tools


Task Objectives

The USGS Mineral Resources Program has been involved in the systematic modeling of the environmental behavior of mineral deposits at least since the early 1990s. This modeling effort has resulted in a collection of "geoenvironmental" models for specific mineral deposit types. Since the initial release of preliminary geoenvironmental models in 1995 (du Bray, 1995), considerable effort has been expended to expand and refine to the initial knowledge base, which has resulted in several updates for selected models (Seal and Foley, 2002; Seal and Hammarstrom, 2003). The current state-of-the-art for the geoenvironmental models is collection of descriptive (empirical) models that represent compilations existing geologic, geochemical, and other data for specific deposits from a variety of climatic settings. Despite the greatly improved understanding of the environmental behavior of mineral deposits that has resulted from several projects funded by the Mineral Resources Program, geonevironmental "tools" for specific mineral deposit types for use in large-scale regional to national Mineral-Environmental Assessments have not been produced, in a large part, because none of these project were specifically charged with this task.

The objective of this task is to develop geoenvironmental assessment tools for selected deposit types for use in the proto-type regional mineral-environmental assessements to be conducted by the end of Fiscal Year 2009, and in the national assessment commencing in Fiscal Year 2010. Mineral deposit types that will be given priority for the development of geoenvironmental assessment tools will include those identified by the companion project gearing up for National Quantitative Mineral Resource Assessment, and those deposit types included in the 1995 National assessment, but not included in the new assessment.

Statement of Work

Activities in Fiscal Years 2011 and 2012 will be a continuation and expansion of activities initiated in Fiscal Year 2007-2010. This task is divided into three Subtasks:

Products

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