The Industrial Chair “3D Common Earth Model for resources targeting”, GeomIn3D, is an industrial research project in the field of geo-resources. The project brings together academic researchers from Nancy and Strasbourg with Orano as an industrial partner. The objective of the project is a reorientation of the exploration strategy for giant uranium deposits (i.e. high grade / high metal tonnage) in the Athabasca basin and more broadly to develop new tools for the exploration of uranium deposits. The mining industry faces major challenges in discovering new deposits, in a context where their exploration is more difficult and expensive. Increasing the discovery rate for giant deposits is therefore a major industrial stake for Orano which is the target aimed by this chair. This ambitious project is based on an exceptional mutual knowledge between the players and an established research framework which reduces the risks. Orano and Nancy scientists have been collaborating in the field of geosciences for 40 years and this collaboration has largely contributed to the scientific recognition of the GeoRessources laboratory (the leading European laboratory in “Mining and Mining Engineering”) and to training through research (more of 150 theses defended in 40 years) by geologists and scientists from Orano. GeomIn3D aims to develop beyond this historical partnership framework by proposing a research project based on conceptual and methodological breaks. With this aim in mind, GeomIn3D is articulated into 3 task groups. Group 1 focusses on the geological model of giant deposits and the definition of their footprints compared to sterile or weakly mineralized zones. The goal is to define the specific giant deposits formation mechanisms and to convert them into favorability criteria towards discovery. Group 2 is dedicated to geophysical imagery of the explored areas and to the development of procedures reducing the uncertainty of the models. The combination of these two groups of tasks will result in a 3D Common Earth Model to aid exploration, in which geological and geophysical data will be reconciled. GeomIn3D will allow industrialization of both scientific and technical solutions and result in a transition from conventional conceptual approach for defining exploration targets to a quantified approach in a 3D repository. Group 3 of the Industrial Chair will focus on consolidating this multidisciplinary approach by bringing together scientific and technical expertise in metallogeny, numerical geology and 3D modeling, and geophysics. This consolidation will be achieved through joint governance of research and training and through academic publications, workshops, networking seminars and exploration oriented know-how transfer. This chair will rely on the contribution of numerous engineering students, post-docs and fixed-term contracts who will carry out this work in a stimulating environment. Training through research, driven by the complementarity between the operational and scientific experiences of the two actors, is one of the central points of the project, with a desire to jointly train Orano employees and students from University of Strasbourg and University of Lorraine.
Monsieur Julien Mercadier (GeoRessources)
The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.
Help of the ANR 719,918 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: October 2021 - 48 Months