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The Client

Sovereign Metals Limited controls a widely recognised strategic rutile province across its substantial ground holding in Malawi. The group’s flagship project, Kasiya, has been identified as one of the world’s largest rutile deposits and is positioned to become a sizeable operation.

Project Definition

With geological offices in Perth and Malawi, the company’s stated intent is to generate a long-life mining project. Efficient and effective communication and secure, accurate data capture is a must to assist in success.

Sovereign Metals Malawi

The Problem

Sovereign originally operated with multiple spreadsheets, each containing 25MB of data. Although the data capture was being very well managed, every time a file became too large a new sheet would need to be created. This was an inefficient means of both collecting and storing data. Large spreadsheets can be onerous, difficult to navigate and hard to share with other members of a team.

There were also geological implications; the data capture process required to work with mineral sands is complex, and Excel simply wasn’t the best tool for the task.

“There are many steps of geological data capture for mineral sands, purely because it comes in a variety of different sample types and must go through various processing stages,” says maxgeo Database Administrator and Sovereign Account Manager, Locky Page.

“Additionally, some of the data capture is handled in Africa and the rest in Australia, so the calculations for each must be carefully and accurately managed to maintain data integrity”.

The Solution

The maxgeo solution began with the customisation of a maxgeo data schema (MDS) to meet Sovereign’s specific needs and reflecting the many analyses that snowball from the original singular drill sample.

Sovereign’s rutile analysis begins with a single drill metre sample that is composited and ticketed with a sample ID. Both the metre and composite samples receive portable XRF (pXRF) analysis with individual ID’s. Composites are then sized through sieves, weighed and progress through the workflow to gravity and magnetic separation. At each stage samples are weighed and undergo further PXRF analysis with new ID’s, making data capture more complex at every step.

There are more than six sample types and eight individual XRF analyses on each sample, reflecting Sovereign’s commitment to sample integrity and quality. “Depending on the location and Lab the sample is analysed, the calculations were unique to that step in the workflow, which was another consideration I had to make when preparing the database to make correct calculations,” says Locky.

The Outcome

Following initial constant communication with the client, and a few systematic tweaks to ensure following required workflows and reporting, Locky is now satisfied that he has fine-tuned the database to a stage where the process is simplified and universally accessible.

The client is equally impressed with the resulting system and the level of consultation and care in the mapping process.

“Our data is our biggest asset, and its effective management is one of our biggest challenges. Locky’s helped us clean and store it in a way that’s easy to filter, view and extract. He’s shown incredible patience with a complicated mineral sands data set and terrific expertise to get our database to where it is today.”  

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