When Jody Dahrouge started working as a consultant with Halferdahl and Associates in the early ‘90s, he didn’t envision himself at the helm of one of the most progressive and diversified mineral exploration consultancies in the country.
But today, Jody Dahrouge is president and founder of Dahrouge Geological Consulting Ltd., formerly Halferdahl and Associates. He, along with his team of experts, provide professional geological, logistical, and project management services to the world’s mineral resource industry.
Dahrouge’s career as a geological consultant took him to many corners of the world before gravitating to Edmonton-based Halferdahl and Associates.
“Halferdahl had been assisting clients in identifying, exploring, and developing mineral projects in Western Canada since 1971,” says Dahrouge. “Once I joined the company, I stayed. It was a great company to work for.”
While working full-time as a geologist, Dahrouge decided to obtain a degree in computing science, which he completed in the mid-90s. When Dr. Halferdahl passed away in 1998, Dahrouge took over the company.
From the outset, Dahrouge Geological Consulting focused on project generative services.
“By utilizing our vast private library, or by culling publically available information, we generate high-quality grassroots exploration concepts and projects for a wide array of commodities, including coal, industrial minerals, rare earth elements and rare metals, and uranium,” he says
A vast majority of the concepts the company generates are at a very early stage and are acquired via claim staking or permitting, he says, adding this approach has allowed Dahrouge Geological Consulting to develop a diversified client base of both major mining companies and early stage junior explorers.
Once a project is acquired via staking and an agreement is in place with the client, initial exploration is undertaken.
“We’ve always recognized that it takes a multidisciplinary approach to make discoveries, and while our expertise is limited to ‘geologic’ aspects of the project, we are able to bring in the applicable third party consultants and contractors to make those discoveries,” says Dahrouge.
Geological mapping and sampling are key to early-staged exploration programs, and over the past few decades, technological advances have vastly improved these techniques. Dahrouge Geological Consulting stays on the cutting-edge of technologies, as well as ensures it has the latest equipment on hand to support more advanced stages of project development.
Understanding what is required for a project to be properly explored, as well as the ongoing evaluation of the project’s merit is a fundamental precept at Dahrouge Geological Consulting as is the need to keep the client fully informed, he points out.
“During the cycle of exploration and development, one can lose focus of the ultimate goals for the client and for the project,” says Dahrouge. “Money is very difficult to raise so it’s important to ensure it goes towards a proper evaluation of that project, or towards the acquisition of a new project that offers a real opportunity.“
Explore historic data
Many early-staged exploration programs start with a compilation of historic exploration data, which is generally filed in assessment reports, so results from prior exploration programs, government, and private surveys and any other sources can be reviewed.
Often this information is compiled into a software package such as ArcGIS, where it can be evaluated and used to plan the next stages of exploration. More advanced programs, where significant drilling has been undertaken in the past might require that information be compiled into geological modelling software such as Maptek Vulan, where it can be evaluated for purposes of further exploration or development.
Concurrent with the early stages of exploration, permitting is undertaken for government and stakeholder authorization to conduct certain types of exploration. He emphasizes the importance of consulting with local communities when applying for permits.
“Very few people appreciate having a total stranger show up in their backyard unannounced, hence the sooner local people are involved the better. People like to hear about exploration, so this is almost always a positive experience. In the age of satellite phones and Skype, face-to-face communication has always been the most effective communication tool.”
Once historic information is evaluated, a number of exploration techniques can be applied. These range from simple mapping and sampling or geophysics, to more advanced stages that may require drilling for either exploration purposes or for gathering geotechnical information.
The Gibbons Creek Property is one example of the benefits of doing a full historic data compilation. The project area was acquired by Lakeland Resources due to its favourable location to host a shallow deposit in the Athabasca Basin of northern Saskatchewan, Dahrouge explains.
“After Lakeland acquired this project, they asked us to review the project from a historical perspective. As we sifted through the decades of historic exploration data archived by the Province, it was apparent that this project had been ignored during the last exploration boom of 2004 to 2008, despite having all of the right criteria to host a significant discovery. The data compilation revealed high-grade uranium boulders, alteration, and weak mineralization in drill holes and geophysical anomalies, all of which were coincident.
“Presumably nobody took the time to review the old data and unearth the potential that we recognized,” he continues. “Historic data compilation is tremendously effective for our clients as it allows them to get a few steps ahead in the exploration cycle or simply to acquire a high-quality project by staking a mineral claim.”
The review of historic information has afforded Dahrouge Geological Consulting numerous grass-roots successes, via project conceptualization, generation, and acquisition, or just through the participation in new discoveries. Significant discoveries include the Waterbury Lake Uranium Property (J-Zone – bought by Denison Mines), Saskatchewan; Patterson Lake South (PLS) Uranium Property, Saskatchewan; Parsons Creek Aggregates, Alberta (in production); and Eldor (Ashram REE Deposit), Quebec.
“We see ourselves staying on the leading edge of technology and implementing it in such a way that maximizes the potential for making a new mineral deposit discovery,” concludes Dahrouge. “We have recognized that one of the best ways to increase value for our clients is to make new discoveries; and in many cases, we use old data to do so.”