Mid Sampling and Reserve Estimation Practice in the Base Metal Orebodies

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 2
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1987
The Mount Isa mine in North West Queens- land produces a total of nearly 10 million t/yr from separate copper and silver lead zinc orebodies. Sampling information is mainly obtained from diamond drilling on 30 to 40 metre centers in both types of orebodies. For the copper orebodies the majority of the core is analysed for copper content using a non-destructive bulk analyser developed by the Australian Atomic Energy Commission. The diamond drill core in the silver lead zinc orebodies is usually sam- pled as sawn half core and assayed in the com- pany laboratory using a variety of methods dependent upon the level of metal content and/or the elements required. Underground development is sampled where additional information is required to improve the ore reserve estimate. The copper areas are sampled using a standard 2.0 m by 2.0 m chip sample of the wall. The chips are taken on a 250 mm spacing. Lead areas are sampled using a 100 mm wide by 4 mm deep channel over intervals determined by the area geologists. The massive, irregularly shaped copper ore bodies are mined as large sublevel open stopes and pillars. Ore reserve estimation on both a production unit and global scale is routinely carried out using a geostatistical system developed in-house and running on a Sperry 1100 mainframe computer. Copper grade, tonnes and the Kriging var- iance are estimated at points on a user defined grid. The Kriging program uses 10 m assay composites from diamond drill core and underground chip samples. One average (rela- tive) variogram is used throughout the main copper orebodies. The validity of using an average variogram was verified by the original geostatistical study undertaken in the late 1970's.
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