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Evaluating mineral resources

in a narrow vein-type deposit

Rodrigo Zúñiga and Xavier Emery

Department of Mining Engineering, University of Chile

ALGES Laboratory, Advanced Mining Technology Center, University of Chile


• Introduction: motivation, aims and scopes

• Methodology
– Direct approach
– Indirect approach

• Case Study
– Presentation of data
– Application of direct and indirect approaches
– Results

• Discussions and Conclusions


• Little experience / increased

difficulty for quantifying mineral
resources in vein-type deposits:
– outlying data
– poor spatial structure
– narrowness of mineral vein

• Limitation of geometrical methods

• Potential for geostatistical

Aims and scopes

• To apply multivariate geostatistical techniques for

quantifying resources in vein-type deposits, at an exploration

• To compare two geostatistical approaches for modelling vein-

type deposits: Direct and Indirect approaches.

• To compare Kriging and Simulation in each approach.

• Case study: Application to a gold-silver deposit


• Direct approach 1) Vein 2) Grade

Geometry Distribution

1) 3D modelling of the vein geometry

2) Modelling the grade distribution within

the vein

1) Vein Geometry 2) Grade Distribution

A) Kriging Indicator Kriging
Truncated Gaussian Gold-Silver
B) Simulation
Simulation Co-Simulation

• Indirect approach

– 2D modelling of the vein thickness

and metal accumulations Thickness [m]
Mean Grade [g/t]
• Thickness along direction perpendicular to
the principal plane of the vein Accumulation = Grade * Thickness
• Accumulation is the product between
thickness and mean grade


Thickness and Accumulations

A) Kriging
Thickness and Accumulations
B) Simulation
Case study: gold-silver vein deposit
Basic All the data Data within the vein
• Data set from exploration Statistics Au [g/t] Ag [g/t] Au [g/t] Ag [g/t]
drill holes: 24,729 samples N° data 24,729 24,729 1,747 1,747
with a length of 0.5 m Mean [g/t] 4.03 64.43 50.93 731.42
Correlation 0.70 0.64

• Information on:
– Gold and silver grades [g/t] Plan View

– Vein indicator
(code: inside=1 ; outside=0)

Principal Planes of the vein

Sector Azimuth Plunge

Northern N13°E 83°
Southern N 4°W 83°
Direct approach
P in Grade in Grade out
Steps for resources modelling
In each sector:

1) 3D modelling of indicator data Pin

Indicator Kriging Truncated Gaussian Simulation

2) 3D modelling of grade data (inside and outside) LEGEND


Cokriging Cosimulation

Grade final = Pin ⋅ Gradein + (1 − Pin ) ⋅ Gradeout Grade final

Grade final = Pin ⋅ Gradein LOW
Direct approach

Resources Report
• TONNAGE = Indicator Pin × block dimension × rock density

Mean of 100 realisations

Direct approach

Resources Report Mean of 100 realisations

• METAL = Grade final × block dimension × rock density
Direct approach
Grade final = Pin ⋅ Gradein
Studying the two variables Indicator and Gradein

• Results of Indicator Kriging explain the difference in tonnage and metal between
kriging and simulation in the direct approach
Indirect approach

Steps for resources modelling

1) To estimate thickness and
accumulations for each drillhole

Statistics N°data Mean

Silver Accumulation [g/t * m] 372 2297.1
Gold Accumulation [g/t * m] 372 168.2
Thickness [m] 372 3.1

Northern and
2) To convert the coordinates Southern planes

(X,Y,Z) (Y,Z) Plane YZ

3) Modelling of thickness and Co-Kriging

accumulations Co-Simulation
Indirect approach

Resources Report
• TONNAGE = thickness × block dimension × rock density

Mean of 100 realisations

Indirect approach

Resources Report
Mean of 100 realisations
• METAL = accumulation × block dimension × rock density
Results Direct v/s Indirect approach
Tonnage Gold Metal Silver Metal

Resource reports by simulation are more similar

Discussion: Direct approach
Drawbacks of direct approach

• Vein modelling
– Extrapolation issues (non-stationarity) with Indicator Kriging.
– Discretization into small blocks

• Grade modelling
– Variogram analysis: outlying data values + narrowness of the vein

Traditional variogram Correlogram => Variogram

Difficulty in modelling
spatial structure along
direction perpendicular
to the vein
Discussion: Indirect approach
Drawbacks of indirect approach

• Geometric issues
– Complex geometries may be difficult to handle (definition of a local plane)
– Calculation of actual thicknesses and accumulations is approximate if drill holes
are not perpendicular to the vein
– Needs a large number of drill holes
– Does not provide a 3D model

Advantages of indirect approach

– Avoids modelling along direction of vein thickness

– Uses regularised data (accumulation)

1. Indirect approach seems more robust.

– Kriging and Simulations give similar results.

2. Direct approach is not robust when modelling the vein geometry.

– Extrapolation with Indicator Kriging overestimates the resources
– Truncated Gaussian Simulation gives more realistic results.

3. Multivariate geostatistical techniques are applicable in vein-type


4. Simulations are an interesting alternative in the vein-type deposit


• FONDECYT Project nº1090013

• ALGES Laboratory at University of Chile