1st sampling campaign for IBL project completed, analyses to begin immediately, reporting by end-March

Last week sampling of several interesting bentonite beds was undertaken underground where we could enjoy nice warm temperatures and shelter from the snow at the surface. Drilling of the bentonite resulted in excellent samples, with virtually no core loss (many thanks to the drilling team!). In addition, we collected  hand specimens from other interesting sites while the drilling went on. 

Drill bit ready to start through the mud shale to reach bentonite behind the tunnel profile.

In the mine, after having examined tens of bentonite beds of varying thickness, we focussed on a few of the most promising ones. The days underground were very well spent as they just made it even more clear how unique the Tsukinuno site is, allowing us to investigate various processes of interest (see Home).

Outside it was snowing most of the week, but that just made it easy to clean the muddy boots.

Samples have been sent to various labs to wait for the analyses to start. These first results will be used for preliminary interpretation and to guide further work plans.

Samples have been sent to several labs worldwide for analyses and the first technical report will be available for RWM (UK) by the end of March this year for review. These first results will be used for preliminary interpretation of host rock–bentonite reaction studies of relevance to deep exploration borehole sealing and to guide future work in the project over the next few years.

Finally, samples have also been sent to the University of Waterloo in Canada to investigate microbial populations in bentonite under repository-relevant conditions of lithostatic pressure, temperature and bentonite density.

-field team