The SIT4ME Project

Deep understanding of the resource base is the most important economic leverage to optimize mining operations. SIT4ME improves this knowledge combining controlled-source seismic with seismic noise recording above and underground, generating a high, locally ultra-high resolved 3D image. Deep mining customers benefit most as drilling is expensive and potential field geophysics lacks resolution. Upscaling concerns methodology, soft- and hardware.

Developments in seismic techniques (hardware and software) have substantially changed ore exploration approaches, making high-resolution seismic surveys more affordable. New leading edge acquisition and processing technology has increased the capabilities of seismic imaging. Now, massive data acquisition programs (3D-3C) are attainable. Research carried out within environmental seismic noise interferometry, depth migration, and seismic tomography opens a variety of options, increasing imaging possibilities and resolution power of seismic data. Careful assessment of these new possibilities requires an ideal largescale data acquisition program and strong research efforts in developing new data analysis procedures, taking into account the different possibilities of such a unique seismic data base. This proposal targets to innovate in seismic imaging protocols, resulting in solutions of strategic importance for mineral exploration.

Exploring deeper and obtaining high resolution images is an asset of the greatest relevance to the mineral exploration and exploitation. Active mining areas carry out exploration using conventional geology and geophysical approaches at different scales as part of their regular activities.The resolving power of many classical geological and geophysical approaches to mineral exploration decrease beneath a depth of few 100’s meters. Adapted forms of seismic reflection imaging show the greatest potential for extending exploration beyond these depths. The SIT4ME project builds on the extensive R&D experiences already obtained by the consortium partners in imaging deep targets within different geologic environments.

The SIT4ME project targets on significantly improving the efficiency of mineral resource exploration, which is the key factor to enhance proven reserves of critical minerals. The project involves the acquisition of unique data sets in two mines representing typical customers and geological environments.


The project aims to foster seismic technologies for mineral exploration specializing in deep basement (crystalline environment). The project integrates essential new developments in exploration based on both, passive and controlled source seismic methods. The requirements defined by the challenges of mineral exploration and the field/mine characteristics require a maturity effort to make these exploration technologies efficient in this environment. The main challenge is the generation of a 3D image of the subsurface with enough resolution to be able to characterize new targets as well as hazardous zones for mining works.


SIT4ME imaging technologies aim to contribute significantly to deliver discovery efficiently and improving exploration success in environments that are technically challenging. Seismic technologies including surface and borehole methods, are able to provide high-resolution 3D images of the subsurface constraining geometry and nature of the underground geology . They are capable of imaging geological structures that host mineral deposits and can be used for targeting the ore bodies. The variety of targets, the size and geometry of the ore bodies, and the seismic noise generated by the mine operation activities, among other issues, constitute challenges that imaging technologies need to overcome.


SIT4ME innovative solutions integrates multisource (controlled & seismic noise derived from exploitation activities)recording at the sirface and underground with localized caracterization studies. These solution results in tomographic models (physical properties) and structural images.

Working packages

  • WP0 - Feasibility study - Leader: DMT GMBH& CO
  • WP1 - Project Management - Leader: ICTJA-CSIC
  • WP2 - Deep Imaging in Precambrian age Hard-rock Environments - Leader: Uppsala Universitet
  • WP3 - Deep Imaging in Carboniferous age Volcano-Sedimentary Environments - Leader: ICTJA-CSIC

The project features two main field sites: Grpenberg and Aguas Teñidas. Each imaging case is handled by the insttitutions in its home country.

Expected outcomes

  • The development of specific imaging technologies will have an impact on the re-activation of exploration and exploitation of previously exploited areas.
  • Improvement of the sustainability in brown-field exploration.
  • Generation of a new sector in “hard rock exploration geophysics” for which new specialists will be needed.
  • Addressing a new technology for the exploration in hard-rock environments.
  • Development of new approaches to exploration.
  • Optimization of the application of new and existing seismic data acquisition infrastructure owned by the consortium members.
  • Training activities on exploration for subsurface targets in hard-rock environment.
  • Reduction of the risk in exploration projects.