Grade Control at the Yandi Iron Ore Mine, Pilbara Region, Western Australia ù Comparative Study of the Blastholes and Reverse Circulation Holes Sampling

B Menzel, ; M Wlasenko, ; J Phillips,
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 7
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2007
Yandicoogina (Yandi) open pit mine is located in the eastern part of the Pilbara region of Western Australia. It hosts pisolitic iron-oxide mineralisation distributed within a meandering paleoriver channel. The deposit is characterised by clays occurring as lenses, accretions, desiccation joint infill and voids in the pisolite ore. The irregular shapes and highly erratic distribution of these clay pods represent a serious challenge for grade control at this mine.The current grade control approach used at the Yandi mine is based on sampling of production blastholes on a 6 m X 6 m spacing. Their good spatial coverage, tight spacing and low cost make blastholes a very convenient media for grade control and ore-waste definition. However the potential downside of this grade control approach is poor sample representivity. An alternative grade control approach is to drill and sample using reverse circulation (RC) holes distributed on a 25 m X 25 m grid. This approach has been tested in Yandi mine and compared with the blasthole sampling approach for sample representivity. The impact of increased drill spacing on mining block predictions has been studied using a conditional simulation technique. Blasthole and RC samples proved to be similarly biased, underestimating Al2O3 and SiO2 grades and overestimating Fe grades, when compared to full cone assays. These results show that using RC drilling for grade control at the Yandi open pit will not necessarily improve the representivity of the grade control samples. However, increasing the grade control spacing to 25 m X 25 m will lead to more than 12 per cent of the selective mining unit (SMU) sized blocks being misclassified. This is approximately a two-fold increase in the number of misclassified SMU blocks in comparison with 5 m X 5 m spacing.
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