Mining Grade And Sampling Theory - The Logical Way To Evaluate Ore Reserves
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Jan 1, 2005
In mineral exploration the place that yields the first significant result is marked and two questions are posed immediately. Where should the next sample be drawn and how big should it be? At present the answers are arbitrary and ad hoc. They depend on personal experience and sentiment?that is hunch. The thought processes involved in reaching the decisions are unsatisfactory and unsatisfying for professionals. This paper proposes guidance on choosing sample spacing and sample size. The guidance is obtained from the grades of the samples. The grades also imply the extent of influence of each sample assay. Thus sampling and assay are integrated. The integration is achieved by changing the unit of value in which assays and grades are expressed and by exposing meanings and functions of grade beyond that of measuring rock value. The proposals are extended to guide comminution of particle size in sample size reduction and to deal with the problem of erratic high assays. Also, elucidation becomes possible of the computation of a reliable figure for average grade as a statistical weighted mean.