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Optimizing Exploratory Drill Hole Locations


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Author Scheck DE, Chatterjee PK, Baafi EY


The quality of mine planning decisions ultimately depends on reliable estimates of the characteristics of the orebody. The quant- ifiable factors such as grades or thickness can be estimated from field data gathered from outcrops or exploratory drillholes. Since outcrop data is necessarily limited to the periphery of a deposit, extensive drilling generally is required. This paper outlines a method for selecting the number and location of additional exploratory boreholes using an iterative procedure based on a mathematical optimization concept called fixed point theory. The method is illustrated through its application to an exploratory drilling program for a coal mine where optimized locations gave a lower estimate of regional and block variances than a manual Choice.