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The mineral exploration is an engineering discipline that applies various sciences, methods and technologies to the difficult issue of locating the economically valuable surface/underground resources/reserves, as well as providing estimations of their grade, tonnage, and the geometry. The mineral exploration consists of three different stages of prospecting, semi-detailed, and detailed. At the end of each exploration stage, the mineral exploration engineers based on the changes in the probabilities of successful exploration and estimated costs decide to continue further explorations or not. Although this knowledge is one of the most difficult engineering disciplines in terms of application, but due to its close relationship with nature, it is one of the most fascinating sciences.

 

The major topics of research in the Mineral Exploration Engineering

  The various topics as listed below are discussed in this engineering discipline:

  • The geological studies (mineralogy, petrology, structural geology, and economic geology)
  • The application of different ground or airborne geophysical methods (implementation, processing, modeling, and interpreting data) for mineral, petroleum, gas, and water exploration or engineering and environmental issues 
  • The application of different geochemical methods (implementation, processing, modeling, and interpreting data)
  • The remote sensing methods (processing, modeling, and interpreting data)
  • The planning and optimization of exploration projects
  • The geotechnical studies
  • The petro-physical studies
  • The sampling methods (planning the sampling network and implementation)
  • The planning of preliminary drilling networks and the optimization of supplementary drilling networks
  • The QA/QC studies of data, the geo-statistical modeling of both the rock types and ore grades
  •  The modeling, evaluation, and classification of mineral reserves
  • The geo-metallurgical modeling (the modeling of ore specification)
  • The data fusion methods (from all different exploration sources)
  • The instrumental mineral analysis methods for the characterization of surface/underground resources/reserves
  • The exploratory drilling and the exploration studies of ground waters
  • The feasibility studies in mineral exploration projects
  • The application of novel geochemical, ground/airborne geophysical methods
  • The application of intelligent methods (neural network, fuzzy, neuro-fuzzy methods) in mineral exploration

In the graduate level of mineral exploration engineering discipline (i.e., master and doctorate) will deal with the issues such as nanotechnology, geo-metallurgy, modeling and reserve simulations, the engineering, and environmental studies, the rare earth elements exploration as well as the above mentioned topics.

 

The tasks and goals of the Mineral Exploration Engineering discipline can be summarized as follows:

  • Increasing the basic and engineering knowledge of mineral exploration
  • Developing, investigation, and utilization of advanced mineral exploration methods such as data processing, simulation, and modeling
  • The planning and management of exploration projects in different stages of prospecting to detailed explorations
  • Making the choice of the most suitable exploration method in regards to the environment under prospect
  • The identification, planning, and modeling of resources/reserves with the least possible error
  • The optimization of exploration operation
  • The empowerment of students using more hands-on projects

 

The Program duration

The maximum duration of the program is determined by the laws set by the Iran's Science, Research and Technology ministry. But the program duration normally takes 4 semesters for M.Sc. and 8 semesters for PhD degrees. At the moment, the bachelor of mineral exploration engineering program does not have any sub discipline.

 

The role and the ability of alumni:

  • The suitable utilization of different exploration methods based on the region understudy
  • The surveying, collection, processing, modeling and interpretation of data from different information sources
  • The management and planning of exploration projects
  • The optimization of existing methods and the development of new methods
  • The technical consultancy, and supervising the exploration project

 

The courses in Master's Degree (24 units):

The total number of credits required to complete this package is 32 educational-research units. The educational credits consist of 12 mandatory units and 12 optional ones according to the background education and defined project for each of the students, which are determined by the educational unit. The number of research credits is 8 units, of which 2 units are in the form of a seminar covering mostly theoretical studies, review of publications and the provision of research proposal in relation to the subject of the project, and 6 units devoted to the thesis.

 

Educational and research courses in Master's Degree

Mandatory course

12 credits

Optional courses

12 credits

Seminar

2 credits

Thesis

6 credits

All

32 credits

 

 

   In addition to the above mentioned points, if MSc students have not passed the courses (or equivalent ones) previously at the undergraduate level, they must complete compensatory courses in accordance with their curriculum and with a minimum score of 12. These credits do not count on the units required to complete MSc level. The number of compensatory courses will be based on the field of students in undergraduate level, and are determined by department experts.

 

The mandatory courses for Mineral Exploration Engineering in Master's Degree

No.

Courses

Credits

Types

Hours

1

The advanced engineering mathematics

3

Theory

48

2

The advances geostatistics

3

Theory

48

3

The modeling of mineral reserves

3

Theory

48

4

The remote sensing and advanced GIS in mineral exploration

3

Theory

48

 

 

The optional Courses for Mineral Exploration Engineering in Master's Degree

No.

Courses

Credits

Hours

Prerequisite

Total

Theory

Practical

1

Advanced exploration geophysics

2

32

32

-

-

2

Advanced exploration geochemistry

2

32

32

-

-

3

Exploration of metallic ores

2

32

32

-

-

4

Exploration of non-metallic ores

2

32

32

-

-

5

Exploration of geothermal resources

2

32

32

-

-

6

Graphical methods in exploration

2

32

32

-

-

7

Advanced hydrogeology

2

32

32

-

-

8

Exploration sampling

2

32

32

-

-

9

Feasibility studies in mining

2

32

32

-

-

10

Project management and control

2

32

32

-

-

11

The application of intelligent methods (fuzzy, neural networks, genetic algorithm)

2

32

32

-

-

12

The special issues

2

32

32

-

-

13

Engineering ethics

2

32

32

-

-

 

 

  • 12 credits from the optional courses are selected according to educational unit endorsement.
  • Dissertation is 6 credits which is mandatory for M.Sc. students.

 

 

Courses in Ph.D. Degree (18 units):

  • The total number of credits required to complete this package is 36 educational-research units.
  • Students must choose 18 credits on the basis of educational unit and supervisor(s) suggestions from the proposed list.
  • Dissertation has 18 credits which is mandatory for PhD students.

 

The mandatory courses for Mineral Exploration Engineering in PhD Degree

No.

Courses

Credits

Types

Hours

1

The management and planning of exploration projects

3

Theory

48

2

The new methods in exploration

3

Theory

48

3

The exploration of special elements

3

Theory

48

4

The analysis of exploration geophysical data

3

Theory

48

5

The analysis of exploration geochemical data

3

Theory

48

6

Seminar 1

1

-

-

7

Seminar 2

1

-

-

 

 

  • The minimum credits chosen from the above Table are 6.
  • The rest of courses are chosen from the optional master courses Table, up to 12 credits.
  • The doctorate thesis is 18 credits and it is mandatory for Ph.D students.

 

The academic experts of mineral exploration discipline are ready to collaborate in exploration projects in every stages of prospecting to the detailed exploration.