I hate Mineral Resource Estimation!

Author: Mike O’Brien, Senior Principal Consultant, P.Geo., Pr.Sci.Nat.


I started a resource update a couple of weeks ago.

You may know the feeling… Not looking forward to:

  • Weeks of fiddling about trying to get a geological model to fit the data. All those gaps and messy intersecting triangles inevitably leaving the best grade samples floating about in some sort of limbo.
  • Days of messing around rotating variogram and search orientations until you don’t know your right hand and right hand rules from your elbow.
  • Resulting in a bilious-looking block model that you realized too late, left out some strategic blocks on the west end that will now require you to rerun everything from step two of your workflow.
  • Desperately trying to reconcile the results with previous models and special requests to isolate and explain the changes in somebody’s favourite stope.

Aaaargh!

Then I started using a pre-release version of ARANZ Geo’s new product for estimation, domaining and geostatistical analysis Leapfrog EDGE. Gee whiz (or something like that). Domain models that fit the data. Not that surprising, as there are correlation tools that help you get it roughly right, rather than exactly wrong. A boundary analysis tool that helps to define hard and soft boundaries. Variography in the orientation that I hoped it was. The ability to modify and build new block models at any point in the long arduous process. Generate inverse distance and nearest neighbour estimates in parallel with kriged estimates. Change the data selection or even the primary domaining and see stuff update automatically. And it seems to be in the right place. And I can filter the block model and see the result as grade tonnage curves or a 3D view.

And some spare time to go for a beer.

Lovin’ it.

I still hate resource estimation, but I’m loving being on the EDGE.


About Mike O’Brien

Senior Principal Consultant, P.Geo., Pr.Sci.Nat. ARANZ Geo Limited – Expert Services (formerly QG Consulting)

For three decades Mike has been making a difference to Mineral Resources and mines. On the technical front, he has extensive experience in Mineral Resource estimation and geological modelling. He has managed technical teams to achieve results in mining companies and in consultancies. While the majority of his experience has been in gold deposits, he has expertise in the uranium, base metals and multi-product environment. A qualified geologist and geostatistician, he has been a team member and reviewer of due diligence and feasibility exercises in South Africa, Brazil, Ghana, Namibia, DRC, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Colombia, Peru and the United States. Specialties: Mineral Resource estimation, geostatistics, Mineral Resource classification, Mineral Resource reporting codes, SAMREC, JORC.


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