Risk quantification with combined use of lithological and grade simulations: Application to a porphyry copper deposit
School of Science
The uncertainty in the recoverable tonnages and grades in a mineral deposit is a key factor in the decision-making process of a mining project. Currently, the most prevalent approach to model the uncertainty in the spatial distribution of mineral grades is to divide the deposit into domains based on geological interpretation and to predict the grades within each domain separately. This approach defines just one interpretation of the geological domain layout and does not offer any measure of the uncertainty in the position of the domain boundaries and in the mineral grades. This uncertainty can be evaluated by use of geostatistical simulation methods. The aim of this study is to evaluate how the simulation of rock type domains and grades affects the resources model of Sungun porphyry copper deposit, northwestern Iran. Specifically, three main rock type domains (porphyry, skarn and late-injected dykes) that control the copper grade distribution are simulated over the region of interest using the plurigaussian model. The copper grades are then simulated in cascade, generating one grade realization for each rock type realization. The simulated grades are finally compared to those obtained using traditional approaches against production data. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.