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Ore-Sniffing Dogs Rediscovered By Mining Industry

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the chopper-fetch-gold dept.

Science 78

An anonymous reader writes "In the 60s and 70s Sweden, Russia and Finland were the foremost players in the game of ore dogs, using dogs to sniff out ore deposits for mining. The technique was forgotten in the last century, but this article shows they're now being used again to discover ore deposits. From the article: 'The keen noses of sniffer dogs are proving so successful at locating ore that even the mining giants are sitting up and taking notice. Berenice Baker talks to Peter Bergman, geologist and CEO of the Swedish company OreDog, about his plans to turn the canine skills into a multi-million dollar global industry providing exploration services for the mining industry while offering a Google-like working environment for staff.'"

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while offering a Google-like working environment (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40162469)

Ummmm... why is this important? and what would stop someone else from offering a Foxconn like working environment along with a much cheaper service?

How they locate ore deep underground ? (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#40162565)

I always wonder how they manage to locate ore buried deep underground

There are mines that are like hundreds of feet underground

How they manage to pinpoint the ore in the first place?

Re:How they locate ore deep underground ? (4, Funny)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 2 years ago | (#40162989)

You tell them there are bones down there.

And wait.

Re:How they locate ore deep underground ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40164635)

Eh, my dog doesn't like bones much.

However, if I tell them there are some snacks under there, oh boy he digs like a crazy man.
Ain't that right Scoob'?

Re:How they locate ore deep underground ? (1)

mirix (1649853) | more than 2 years ago | (#40163727)

Bunch of techniques. There's planes with a big inductive loop around them that fly low and find.. magnetic ores, i suppose?

core samples, etc.

Only mine I've been to is 1km underground, and has been operating since the 60's or so... not sure how they discovered it back then. A thousand metres of dirt seems nuts, when I think about it.

Re:while offering a Google-like working environmen (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 2 years ago | (#40163741)

what would stop someone else from offering a Foxconn like working environment along with a much cheaper service?

The RSPCA?

Re:while offering a Google-like working environmen (1)

plopez (54068) | more than 2 years ago | (#40167453)

Proving that dogs have more rights than workers.

Re:while offering a Google-like working environmen (2)

Shag (3737) | more than 2 years ago | (#40163763)

And what would dogs want with foosball tables and beanba... okay, okay, I'll grant you the beanbag chairs.

Re:while offering a Google-like working environmen (1)

TheMathemagician (2515102) | more than 2 years ago | (#40164731)

How do they fit the pool tables and bouncy castles into five feet high passages, half a mile underground?

Re:while offering a Google-like working environmen (1)

plopez (54068) | more than 2 years ago | (#40167491)

I've been in mines with 20 foot roofs.

Re:while offering a Google-like working environmen (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | more than 2 years ago | (#40215423)

Five FEET high?

What sort of mines have you been in, apart from those poof-ish modern ones. T'Owd Man would cut his coffin levels 8inches wide at the bottom (for your feet) widening to 18inches wide at a height of 30 inches from the floor, then tapering back to about 10 inches at the top, 36inches above the floor.

Real Men (T'Owd Men) cut their own tunnels with the sweat of their brow and feathers and wedges. So they'd make them big enough and no more. And then you wonder why the would so-often exploit, follow or expand natural cave passages. Much to the mild disgust and frank astonishment of cave divers who, surfacing after a thousand-metre dive in muddy water ... would find T'Owd Man had left hobnail boot prints and candle stubs in what should be *his* virgin cave passage.

So I guess you could say... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40162471)

they've created a new breed of rock hound?

Re:So I guess you could say... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40163003)

For under-sea mining can I get a rock lobster?

Re:So I guess you could say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40166411)

My office mate read this and commented about my dog (who has the embarrassing habit of sniffing women's crotches):

They got an ore dog but you've got a whore dog!

Maybe I can sell the bitch!8-(

Google-like work environment (5, Funny)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#40162487)

Dogs will be allowed to spend 20% of their time sniffing whatever they like!

Re:Google-like work environment (5, Interesting)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 2 years ago | (#40162761)

No. According to the founder, it's going to be 2/3 work, and 1/3 sniff whatever you want (thus exceeding the Googler's former practice).

And he intends on having 200 to 300 employees, plus around 200 dogs. Right now, it's just him (1 employee) and his dog so far (1 dog). Or to be more accurate, his current company is at 1 employee and 1.2 dogs (I'm counting 0.2 dogs for the skin of the dog/wolf he's wearing on his head for the article).

Also, he's looking for investors. And not just the big guys, he's willing to accept money from the little guys as well, because he's "willing to give everybody a chance".

Re:Google-like work environment (2)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 2 years ago | (#40163755)

"willing to give everybody a chance" - Wow, where do I send the cheque?

Re:Google-like work environment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40169091)

Next year they expect to be breeding new workers using a DNA mix from gay miners, bats, eagles, and dogs. Between the gaydar, sonar, sensitive vision and noses they will be helpful for mining and shopping.

Re:Google-like work environment (1)

Sigvatr (1207234) | more than 2 years ago | (#40162821)

The dogs better get unlimited burritos and beer too.

Re:Google-like work environment (1)

Dr Damage I (692789) | more than 2 years ago | (#40164429)

So long as I don't have to be anywhere near them after they've eaten, it's all good.

Re:Google-like work environment (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 2 years ago | (#40162965)

Dogs will be allowed to spend 20% of their time sniffing whatever they like!

Yes, but only if they are willing to share it freely with other dogs outside the company.

Re:Google-like work environment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40163101)

Dog version of age discrimination in hiring:

"Pack-wide towel biting contests every night after work!"

Re:Google-like work environment (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 2 years ago | (#40163789)

My 14yo blue healer cross wants some of that towel biting action, she's also into chasing light planes across the padock despite the metal pins in her hind leg.

When do we get these... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40162553)

...in Minecraft? I have a legion of about 20 tamed wolves now. If they could all sniff out the ores it would make the mining grind go a lot faster.

Re:When do we get these... (1)

Grayhand (2610049) | more than 2 years ago | (#40163617)

...in Minecraft? I have a legion of about 20 tamed wolves now. If they could all sniff out the ores it would make the mining grind go a lot faster.

There was a bug in the beta. They kept sniffing out dog's backsides.

Lassie (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40162563)

Whats that Lassie , you have discovered a large deposit of unobtainium?

Re:Lassie (5, Funny)

Grayhand (2610049) | more than 2 years ago | (#40163607)

Whats that Lassie , you have discovered a large deposit of unobtainium?

And it's at the bottom of a well?

Dogs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40162599)

Thought the ones that weren't dogs made better gold diggers? More then one way to mine it you know...

Confucius (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 2 years ago | (#40165611)

Confucius say: dog who exploits ore, may get exploited by 'ore...

Ore-Sniffing Dogs (1)

SchMoops (2019810) | more than 2 years ago | (#40162617)

Showing up as a new feature in Minecraft in 3... 2... 1...

Re:Ore-Sniffing Dogs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40162749)

Showing up as a new feature in Minecraft in 3... 2... 1...

3...2...1... Mushroom Zombie Pigmen!

Dogs only know how to sniff two things (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40162767)

Crotch and ass.

You heard it hear first folks. Try the veal. I'll be here all week.

Captcha is "dogmas" which is another word for bitch, bitch.

Re:Dogs only know how to sniff two things (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40164839)

You Slashtards don't understand yet but I'm here giving you comedy GOLD. This place has really gone downhill.

Re:Dogs only know how to sniff two things (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40165209)

Really, why is this site even still here but for me, Anonymous Coward? Without me you'd have fuck all for comments. Slashtards should suck it.

Captcha is "reselect" as in reselect the abovecomment for +Comedy Gold.

Re:Dogs only know how to sniff two things (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40165585)

I meant to write +5 Comedy Gold but Slashcode sucks ass.

My dog has no nose (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40162797)

How does he smell?

Awful

Uhm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40162799)

"In the 60s and 70s Sweden, Russia and Finland were the foremost players in the game of ore dogs, using dogs to sniff out ore deposits for mining. The technique was forgotten in the last century,

Would that be the 1860s, 1870s..?

Re:Uhm (1)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 2 years ago | (#40164773)

I was going to say... 60s and 70s were 50 years ago, and were in the last Century whether you mean the last 100 years, or the period 1900-2000, or 1901-2001.

40 years is a century now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40162901)

I'd like to know where this "century" between "the 60s and 70s" and today is.

Re:40 years is a century now. (2)

devphaeton (695736) | more than 2 years ago | (#40164297)

We're talking about Sweden, Finland and Russia.

40 years is a metric century.

Re:40 years is a century now. (1)

Qwertie (797303) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169741)

Huh? Metric is based on multiples of 10. So 100 years is a metric century. Maybe you're thinking of 36 years, the imperial yard-century.

Google like Environment (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | more than 2 years ago | (#40162907)

Berenice Baker talks to Peter Bergman, geologist and CEO of the Swedish company OreDog, about his plans to turn the canine skills into a multi-million dollar global industry providing exploration services for the mining industry while offering a Google-like working environment for staff.

I assume dogs are going to be the main staff in a ore-sniffing dog company called OreOdg, So what exactly does the above mean?
- Dogs work a 5 day week
- One day out of the 5 days, they are allowed to sniff anything else they want instead of sniffing of ores?
- Free T-shirts

"Ore-Sniffing Dogs Rediscovered" (4, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#40163021)

Oreo-sniffing dogs still useless, and annoying

Re:"Ore-Sniffing Dogs Rediscovered" (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 2 years ago | (#40163093)

Don't you see the beauty? They're really easy to train!

Re:"Ore-Sniffing Dogs Rediscovered" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40163207)

Either yer dawg ain't werth spit, or yew gotta buncha iron in yer ass Jedidiah.

Re:"Ore-Sniffing Dogs Rediscovered" (1)

Grayhand (2610049) | more than 2 years ago | (#40163541)

Oreo-sniffing dogs still useless, and annoying

Hard to call something useless if it's a dog that can do the work of a trained geologist and lab. I'd call him impressive not useless. "Annoying" is the judgement of a person that dislikes dogs. I'm a cat person but I love animals so I still like dogs even if they can at times be annoying. Trust me if a dog found a rich gold deposit for you I think you'd learn to love them.

Re:"Ore-Sniffing Dogs Rediscovered" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40163567)

You sir are an asshat......

Annoying isn't it (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 2 years ago | (#40163977)

All those people going woosh at you

Woosh!

Look up spelling of ore and an American Cookie that Americans seem to think is pretty great but in the rest of the world is regarded as "oh that American cookie". Hint: There is a reason you can't buy twinkies outside the US. They are ABSOLUTELY FUCKING DISGUSTING. Imagine the worsed instant cake you ever tasted with more chemical after taste and less nutrition. I should have known, never EVER eat a local delicacy that has remained a local delicacy. If it tasted good, it would have gotten exported.

Oreo's by the way are exported to Holland, I guess it is pay back for Big Brother. Fair enough.

Re:Annoying isn't it (1)

shione (666388) | more than 2 years ago | (#40164809)

Part of that is because the oreos sold overseas are made in a different factory and to a different recipe which is shit. The oreos sold in the US are made there. Overseas oreos are made in either Indonesia, China, Spain or India.

US made oreos are delish but they cant beat the Tim Tam.

Keys (1)

TheRecklessWanderer (929556) | more than 2 years ago | (#40163103)

When they can find my keys, then i'll be interested.

ores (5, Funny)

fizzer06 (1500649) | more than 2 years ago | (#40163137)

Thems not ores, thems me sisters.

Re:ores (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 2 years ago | (#40163531)

Bitches be all up in your ores. Sniffin and licken.

And the jokes just write themselves... (1)

Genda (560240) | more than 2 years ago | (#40163161)

Angry man screams into cell phone standing near a small dock "Dammit I said ORE Dog not OAR Dog!!!"

Re:And the jokes just write themselves... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40163269)

The mining company is now recruiting a director to oversea the various packs of ore sniffing dogs. A cat is preferred for the position because, like most middle management jobs, it basically entails sitting around all day doing nothing.

Re:And the jokes just write themselves... (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 2 years ago | (#40165067)

Does it have to be a fat cat?

Have one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40163171)

I already have an Oreo-sniffing dog... oh.... nevermind.

SO I GOT ORE IN MY PANTS ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40163193)

Or, as the girls say, "that's some ROCK hard ore you got there" !!

Two legs or four? (1)

Freddybear (1805256) | more than 2 years ago | (#40163253)

I've known some two-legged 'ore-dogs in my day, but this is the first time I've heard of the four-legged variety.

Artificial sensors? (2)

martas (1439879) | more than 2 years ago | (#40163547)

Can someone explain to me the challenges and state of the art in creating artificial sensors capable of replicating, e.g., dog's amazing sniffing abilities, even if only for specific compounds (I imagine replicating the amazing generality of canine sniffers is for now "very sci-fi").

Re:Artificial sensors? (1)

dargaud (518470) | more than 2 years ago | (#40164183)

Can someone explain to me the challenges and state of the art in creating artificial sensors capable of replicating, e.g., dog's amazing sniffing abilities, even if only for specific compounds (I imagine replicating the amazing generality of canine sniffers is for now "very sci-fi").

Here: How electronic smell detection works [boingboing.net]

why would you want to do that? (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#40164621)

you get the ability you want, and a dog

you want an inert stupid gadget instead?

Re:why would you want to do that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40169133)

you get the ability you want, and a dog you want an inert stupid gadget instead?

Because there are plenty of reports showing that dogs are often just like dousing. The owner's making the choices not the dog. An instrument can be easily verified scientifically. While checking that a dog is really working like theorized is possible, it's hard to do. Most people who use dogs want false positives, because it gives them an excuse to search innocent people. I don't see why miners would want to dig the wrong places hoping to find something else.

Re:Artificial sensors? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40165129)

I work on electronic sniffers every day. Mostly the gas sniffer type, but the rules are largely the same.

Unfortunately the sensors are largely unreliable in a number of ways. They are prone to drift and so need constant recalibration; this is due to (depending on design) the catalysts and chemical reactions inside the sensor consuming themselves or simply degrading over time. Really good sensors are really really expensive. Even the basic ones aren't that cheap, and they suck. Some are fine and been reliable for many years (smoke detectors). Others....hah.

And these are for detecting concentrations from 5-100 ppm mostly. I can't imagine what concentration you'd need to be able to sniff out underground ore.

Meanwhile in China... (3, Funny)

aaronb1138 (2035478) | more than 2 years ago | (#40163917)

When asked for comment, China said they will continue just throwing 1000s of workers with pickaxes at large piles of rocks.

At least I didn't make the other joke I thought of. Well I guess, if you insist.
When asked for comment, Chinese officials stated that the mere offer of bringing a 60 lb bloodhound to mining sites increased productivity by 18%. When we asked a foreman about the increase in productivity, he said the minor miners were famished and welcomed the company of a friendly meal.

Re:Meanwhile in China... (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 2 years ago | (#40165059)

> the minor miners
*rimshot*

Re:Meanwhile in China... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40169907)

I'm glad you didn't post the other joke you thought of. I would have been offended.

Ore finding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40163987)

You wouldn't believe the deposits that can be found in a dogs backside!

big deal... (1)

Dark Lord of Ohio (2459854) | more than 2 years ago | (#40164361)

My Labrador retriever sniffs ore when I play minecraft on Xbox. Always finds coal, diamonds, iron, gold... No problem. I just say: Gaia, find me some carbon. And she wags her tail when I approach the spot. Sheesh...

Dogs were used in Finland between 1962 - 1994 (2)

livingboy (444688) | more than 2 years ago | (#40164471)

I did google search malmikoira and the first hit was document by Geographical survey of Finland.

One fascinating fact from the document was, that drug sniffing dogs were developed based on the methods used in training of ore dogs.

For non finnish readers perhaps documents bibliography gives some leads for real information instead of jokes:

Aaltonen, U. & Unhola, K. 1999. Suomen koirat sodassa ja rauhassa. Gummerus. 1999.
Ekdahl, E. 1976. Pielavesi: the use of dogs in prospecting. Journal of Geochemical Exploration 5
(3), 296-298.
Hamilton, S.M., Cameron, E.M., McClenaghan, M.B. & Hall, G.E.M. 2004. Redox, pH and SP
variation over mineralization in thick glacial overburden. Part I: methodologies and field investi-
gation at he Marsh Zone gold property. Geochemistry: Exploration, Environment, Analysis 4 (1),
45-58.
Hyvarinen, L. 1965. Selostus lohkare-etsintÃjà koskevasta tutkimuksesta jossa vertaillaan lohkare-etsintÃihin koulutetun koiran sekà kokeneen lohkare-etsijÃn keskinÃisià tyÃsuorituksia. Geo-
logian tutkimuskeskus, Arkistoraportti M17/Vrs-65/2.
Hyvarinen, L. 1997. Saatanan moluuppi. Espoo 1997.
Kahma, A. 1965. Trained dog as tracer of sulphide bearing glacial boulders. Sedimentology 5;
Atlas Vol. 1. No. 4.
Kahma, A., Nurmi, A. & Mattsson, P. 1975. On the composition of the gases generated by sulphide-bearing boulders during wethering and on the ability of prospecting dogs to detect samples
treated with these gases in the terrain. Geologian tutkimuskeskus. Tutkimusraportti 6.
Laitakari, A. J. 1969. Koira malminetsijan apuna. Pielaveden ja Keiteleen Sanomat 25.4.1969.
N:o 16, s. 6.
Lindmark, B. 1987. Volframitutkimukset Kangasalan Ahvenlammin alueella vuosina 1983 -
1985. 45 s. Geologian tutkimuskeskus, arkistoraportti, M 19/2142/-87/1/10
Mattsson, P. 1979. Outokummun Sanomat. 43 (3), s. 18-19.
Nilsson, G. 1971. The use of dogs in prospecting for sulphide ores. Geol. For. Stockholm Forh.,
93, 725-728.
Nilsson, G. 1973. Nickel prospecting and the discovery of the Mjovattnet mineralization, northern Sweden: a case history of the use of combined techniques in drift-covered glaciated terrain.
Teoksessa: âoeProspecting in areas of glacial terrainâ. Institution of Mining and Metallurgy, London, 97-109.
Orlov, A.P., Robonen, V.I. & Kirilenko, G.M. 1969. Geologicheskie poiski s rudorozysknumi
sobakami. âNedreâ, Moskva. 47 s.

a new gold rush (1)

0111 1110 (518466) | more than 2 years ago | (#40164555)

I didn't think minerals even had an odor. Will 2012 be the start of a new global gold rush? Sulimov dogs are about to get a lot more expensive. If I weren't allergic to them even I might get in on the action. Just start giving them a delicious piece of steak every time they find the gold and silver coins you've hidden. The question I have is how do you pay a dog a fair wage? They would probably be happy to work for food. I could pay my Sulimov in expensive cuts of steak and elaborate home cooked meals.

Confused (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 2 years ago | (#40165025)

while offering a Google-like working environment for staff.'"

How do you offer a dog a Google-like working environment?

20% of your work time is free for burying bones?

the last century? (1)

flibbidyfloo (451053) | more than 2 years ago | (#40165399)

"In the 60s and 70s Sweden, Russia and Finland were the foremost players in the game of ore dogs, using dogs to sniff out ore deposits for mining. The technique was forgotten in the last century"

If it was being used 40 years ago (in the 70's), then it wasn't forgotten in the last century. Or did the OP just mean "at some point within the last century"?

Not impressed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40166055)

Orcs are pretty stinky already.

Hat of Distraction (1)

hoboroadie (1726896) | more than 2 years ago | (#40166093)

I find it rather amusing to carry on a serious conversation with someone who is wearing such a bold item. Monty Python in real life.

Cut out the middleman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40166941)

I'm sure I saw on one of these Customs reality shows on TV that they have money-sniffing dogs to detect currency smugglers.

Why waste time having Rover sniff for rocks when you can train him to just find the money!

Dump your gold stocks now! (1)

plopez (54068) | more than 2 years ago | (#40167727)

And paladium and platinum etc. Soon there will be thousands of packs of dogs roaming the Earth propspecting for gold. Soon the world will be plauged by gold, and other precious metals, over production and the price of gold and gold stocks will plummet. Gold will become a commodity metal and soon we will all be drinking from beer cans made of gold.

It's just supply and demand, as St. Adams Smith foretold. There is no escape from the "invisible paw".

the distance of smell (1)

minstrelmike (1602771) | more than 2 years ago | (#40182451)

It does seem weird that dogs could smell ore hundreds of feet deep.
OTOH, I've read where sharks only need two molecules to detect blood.
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