Estimation of marine mineral reserves

Garnett, R. H. T.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 14
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1999
Reserve estimation is a process that commences with sampling and culminates in the issuance of a reserve statement. The tin, gold and diamonds that occur as marine placers on the continental shelf are low grade with very erratic mineral distributions. Sampling, using a variety of special equipment, determines the extent and grade of the mineralization. The sample size is important, especially for diamonds. Together with the sampling density, it determines the accuracy of the grade estimate. Bulk sampling is a confirmatory process. The choice of mining equipment, either new or developed from onshore activities, dictates the unit costs, the cutoff grades and the selectivity of extraction. Thus, the size of the blocks that comprise the mining plan and the reserves are determined. A variety of estimation methods of different reliability are available, with the most sophisticated being kriging. Dilution and losses during mining must be taken into account in estimation, and a grade-volume curve should be constructed. Diamond deposit estimation also involves an extra variable, the dollar value of the stones. During and after mining, essential feedback on the accuracy of un estimation may be given by the RIE factor and by a mineral balance. Reserve estimates are required for several reasons and may be subject to public disclosure. The use of the correct definitions is, therefore, important.
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