Natural resources
Indonesia
Merdeka Copper Gold

Conducting geological surveys for copper and gold mining

About Merdeka Copper Gold

PT Merdeka Copper Gold Tbk (IDX: MDKA) (“Merdeka”) is a holding company with operating subsidiaries engaging in mining and processing activities in Indonesia, encompassing: (i) exploration; (ii) production of gold, silver, copper, nickel (and other related minerals); and (iii) mining services.

Merdeka’s major assets are: Tujuh Bukit Copper Project; PT Merdeka Battery Materials Tbk (IDX: MBMA); Pani Gold Project; Tujuh Bukit Gold Mine and Wetar Copper Mine.

The Tujuh Bukit Copper Project is one of the world’s top ranked undeveloped copper and gold mineral resources with a potential mine life of up to 30 years and could increase Indonesia’s copper production by 10-15%.

Moving from pen and paper field surveys to digital with Mergin Maps

Traditionally, Merdeka  had been conducting geological surveys using ‘conventional’ means by sending geologists out with a GPS device and a notebook to collect the survey data and write it down by hand. They would then have to bring the data back to camp and enter it into the database manually. This was time consuming and increased the likelihood of errors when transcribing data from the hand-written notes into the database. 

Merdeka  had used a different mapping software to collect the field data initially. However, they were only able to fill in descriptive data in one field on the form in the application which meant they still had to manually reformat the data to fit into their database.

Wendi Adrian, who is the Spatial Data Systems Manager for Merdeka, heard about the Mergin Maps application and thought that it had potential to improve data collection since the data could be entered in a customisable form on the app and directly synchronised to the database from the field. Mergin Maps provided seamless connectivity between field data collecting and desktop-based spatial data visualisation in QGIS which demonstrated work effectiveness in geospatial data lifecycle.

Customisable forms simplify geological survey collection

The customisable survey forms in Mergin Maps allowed the team to design forms that fit the format they needed to organise information in their project database and synchronise the forms to geologists  in the field using the mobile application. They have a team of four geologists  collecting data in the field and two administrators processing the data. The field geologists  can download the project on their mobile devices and collect the data and synchronise it from the field to the database, reducing the amount of manpower, hours and occurrence of errors in the process. 

Using Mergin Maps, they have been able to collect geological data for the Tujuh Bukit site including lithology and outcrop assessments that are used for data interpretation. The geologists  created an attribute form in the app to describe the characteristics of rock formations and collect photos of the formations in the field. All data collected then was synchronised to a master GIS project in QGIS for further interpretation.

What are the main benefits of using Mergin Maps for geological surveys?

Since switching to Mergin Maps, the team have experienced significant benefits to their project workflow. According to Ulfah Yudita Fitriani, who is one of the exploration geologists at the Tujuh Bukit site, ”The main benefits of using Mergin Maps are improved efficiency and time saved. Besides that, we can also collect photos in the app. Before using Mergin, the photos were hard to keep track of.”

One of  the senior geologists at the Tujuh Bukit site also says that, “Using Mergin Maps reduces the number of steps for collecting the data. We can do all of the tasks we need to do such as collecting data and taking photos in one application. This simplifies and speeds up the process of doing our work in the field.”

Using Mergin Maps instead of pen and paper surveys has significantly improved the efficiency of surface geological surveys for PT Merdeka Copper Gold and improved the accuracy of their data collection. The team is excited to see future development of the Mergin Maps app so that they can improve the process of their geological surveys going forward.

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