Since the publications of Gy’s initial work, many authors have discussed the approaches to estimate the variance of the fundamental sampling error (FSE). Experimental tests suggested by Pitard and François-Bongarçon determine the sampling parameters K and α to calibrate Gy’s formula. The heterogeneity test and the sample tree method are well known and broadly used for many commodities. However, prior to the analysis, the collection of a representative sample is an intriguingly difficult task. The composite for the heterogeneity tests often consists of run- of- mine material or processed ore on a conveyor belt. In most cases the final sample does not have enough mass, mixes different geological units, represents a rare blend and does not characterise the deposit. In order to obtain a reliable composite for trace elements and low-grade ores, sampling practitioners suggest at least half a ton of material.
To prevent the common representative pitfalls in the FSE, this case study focuses on a single gold- bearing geological unit collected in situ. With this unit being structured by the mine geologists, but with the interaction between engineers and chemists, it was possible to validate the reconciliation suggested by Pitard (2015). The heterogeneity test and the sample tree method were performed using 500 kg of a smoky quartz from a single geological domain and the results were compared to Gy’s formula. The logging practice by the geologists was modified, emphasising the definition of the size of the gold nugget or its cluster, number of grains and association. Finally, a mineralogical study was conducted on the geological unit to define the liberation factor. All the information is compiled in this paper, showing the need to fully understand the mineralisation to correctly define representative samples and proper analytical techniques.
Villanova, F L S P, Heberle, A and Chieregati, A C, 2017.
Heterogeneity tests and core logging – a final reconciliation, in
Proceedings Eighth World Conference on Sampling and Blending , pp 107–114 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).