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Geostatistics in the Statigraphic Orebodies at Mount Isa


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Author Dowd PA and Scott IR


In stratigraphic orebodies, estimation of footwall and hangingwall location is often of more importance than grade estimation. Contoured grade estimates often produce smeared boundaries and the use of accumulations and thicknesses as variables re-introduces the original problem: location of the point at which the estimate is to be made. The paper introduces statistical and geostatistical techniques for the solution of the problem and illustrates the techniques with a case study from Mount Isa, one of the world’s largest producing silver-lead-zinc deposits. Solutions for calculating variograms in orebodies of variable dip, strike and plunge are presented together with relative variograms for individual metals, metal accumulation and orebody thickness. Optimal methods for hangingwall and footwall location are introduced and illustrated with an example. Orebody boundaries are then kriged after which individual metal grades are kriged within the estimated boundaries. The boundary estimates are compared with manually interpreted boundaries and known boundaries in mined-out areas. Grade and tonnage estimates are compared in mined-out areas.