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A new approach to logging and modelling faults at the Dugald River Pb-Zn-Ag deposit, North West Queensland


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Author K George


The Dugald River lead-zinc-silver deposit is located approximately 60 km north-west of Cloncurry and 87 km north-east of Mount Isa. The development project is expected to turn operational in 2018. The resource is estimated to contain 61.1 Mt at 12.6 per cent zinc, 1.9 per cent lead and 34 g/t silver, with a projected mine life of 25 years. The evolution from exploration project to development project has presented multiple challenges for the technical team. Understanding and modelling the structural complexity of the deposit has been one of these challenges.

Historically fault zones were logged as a lithology, with structural measurements recorded in a separate database table. When underground drill programs and development commenced in late 2012, it was recognised the deposit was more structurally complex than had been modelled. The extensive number of fault zone lithologies in core logging, made it difficult to identify fault trends and model faults in 3D software packages.

In 2014, a structural project was conducted to produce a fault model for the deposit. The project highlighted that by logging the faults as a lithology, a shortage of fault characteristics was being recorded. Additionally, structural information could not be filtered to identify different fault sets due to the lack of information available to filter on. One of the major outcomes of the study was to change the methodology for the structural logging of drill core.

Faults are now logged in a separate structural log. The structural log collects two types of information: interval data and point data. The interval data represents the damage zone of the fault in the surrounding rock and the point data the plane of movement for the fault. The faults are further characterised by their intensity on a scale of one to five, the type of fault structure (fault breccia, fault vein etc), the minerals present on the fault surface and structural measurements when available.

The new data set allows fault data to be filtered based on fault characteristics, making implicit and explicit modelling of the faults more timely and accurate. The data set can be used to produce fault wireframes as single surfaces from the point data or hanging wall and footwall surfaces from the interval data. The logging method and how its applied in fault modelling form the focus of this paper.


George, K, 2017. A new approach to logging and modelling faults at the Dugald River Pb-Zn-Ag deposit, North West Queensland, in Proceedings Tenth International Mining Geology Conference 2017, pp 315–320 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).