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Application of implicit geological modelling to improve the grade control process at White Mountain gold mine, Jilin Province, China

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Author S McKinley

Description

The White Mountain sediment-hosted gold deposit is located in north-eastern China. Mineralisation is associated with silica–hematite–altered polymict breccias that occur within dolomite at or near the contact with overlying sandstone. Economic gold grades are controlled by the distribution of the polymict breccias and can transition rapidly to low or zero grade over short distances. This results in sharp and highly irregular ore contacts on whose accuracy proper stope design and ore control is reliant at this blasthole underground mine.

Short-term
planning and ore control utilise a grade control model created from infill
drilling and grade control sampling (ie face and wall sampling). Typically, the
grade control model was maintained by time-consuming manual editing of earlier
made contacts to incorporate any new data. This approach also was quite
error-prone due to:



  • the complexity of the breccia and ore grade contacts

  • irregularly oriented and/or insufficiently dense drill holes

  • inconsistent incorporation of grade control sampling.

These errors resulted in unplanned dilution and ore loss due to inaccurate interpretation of the ore contacts.

The primary advantage to implicit geological models over conventional, manually-built wireframe models is that they can be updated very quickly and frequently. In a mine setting, the power and efficiency of using an implicit model is greatest where the use of manual inputs or editing can be minimised. Recently a workflow was set-up for the mine geology team to create an implicitly-modelled ore shape for short-term planning needs by using all data, especially all grade control samples. The resultant 3D shapes provided metre-scale accuracy and consistently reconciled complex ore geometries much faster and to a higher degree of quality relative to the wireframe model. The mine stakeholders can now obtain an accurate ore model that will always be in sync with available data.

CITATION:

McKinley, S, 2017. Application of implicit geological
modelling to improve the grade control process at White Mountain gold mine,
Jilin Province, China, in Proceedings Tenth International Mining Geology
Conference 2017, pp 385–392 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and
Metallurgy: Melbourne).