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A simple and accurate method for Ore Reserve estimation and Mineral Resource depletion in caving mines

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Author A D Campbell
ID P201708032

Description

Conversion of Mineral Resources to Ore Reserves requires a multidisciplinary approach and application of a number of Modifying Factors. The Modifying Factors for mining, particularly dilution and recovery in a caving mine are complex and can be difficult to determine. Cave flow modelling software is widely used for mine planning, scheduling and forecasting metal production. However, the conversion of Mineral Resources to Ore Reserves remains a difficult and subjective process and a consistent approach to convert Mineral Resources to Ore Reserves as part of the cave flow modelling process is not published in the literature. This is due to the difficulty in estimating the Ore Reserve that remains as cave stocks at a particular point in the mine schedule, the recovered tonnage and grade of the diluting material at various stages in the mine life, as well as the Mineral Resource classification of both the recovered and diluting material that forms the Ore Reserve. The key principle of this paper is the tracking of the Mineral Resource classification in the flow model used to estimate the Ore Reserves. This is critical to defining the Ore Reserve as Proved or Probable and enabling transparency in the reporting process. An approach for dealing with mineralised external dilution in the Ore Reserve estimation process is also provided.

This paper outlines the approach to convert Mineral Resources into Ore Reserves developed at the Ernest Henry mine sublevel cave (EHM SLC). The same method could be used in any cave mine and applied at any stage of the mine life. The process replaces broad-brush assumptions for the mining Modifying Factors, such as dilution and recovery, as these are determined numerically as part of the model computation. This paper explains the Ore Reserve estimation method with a worked example to enable the reader to adopt the process at any caving mine. Mineral Resource classification within the block model is embedded in the cave flow model and the flow model results used to attribute tonnes, grade and the mixed proportions of the Mineral Resource classification for material extracted from each drawpoint. This information is then used to convert planned mine production into the appropriate Ore Reserve classification. Since the flow model simulation follows the mine schedule, it can be used to predict depletion and cave stocks at any stage of the mine life, and can calculate a residual block model at the end of the mine life. The accuracy of the flow model is checked by validating the forecast ore grade and metal tonne with reconciliation data from the concentrator which is also used to calibrate the flow model.

CITATION:

Campbell, A D, 2017. A simple and accurate method for Ore Reserve estimation and Mineral Resource depletion in caving mines, in Proceedings 13th AusIMM Underground Operators' Conference 2017, pp 253–260 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).