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Quality Assurance and Quality Control of the Interpretation of the Geological Economic Commodity Concentrations is Important in Getting a Mineral Resource Estimate Right


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Author T Lee


The mining industry, both here and internationally, is continually developing increasingly sophisticated software to compute mineral resource estimates, but these processes cannot compensate for a flawed geological interpretation of the geology of the economic commodity(s) concentrations. Quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) is becoming increasingly common in association with the sampling and assaying practices within the industry. However, it is rare in the case of a geological interpretation associated with mineral resource estimation. Why?

In the context of this paper, QA/QC relates to the use of statistical and graphical tools to show that the geological economic commodity concentrations have been appropriately domained. Domaining is essential to improve the chance of getting a mineral resource estimate right.

Commodity value and acceptable concentration variation within a mineral resource can be ingredients that make mineral resource estimation difficult to get right. But it is possible to get it right a very high proportion of the time. It is more likely to occur when inappropriate data consolidation is minimised.

In any case, inappropriate data consolidation is significantly reduced when the geological interpretation is strongly consistent with the data and it is demonstrable. To achieve quality global estimates of geological domain concentrations, it is essential that the geology of the prospect is understood sufficiently that the deposit is appropriately domained. Appropriate domaining occurs when sample populations are separated in such a way that only data in harmony with each other within the population contributes to the domain’s concentration estimate.

The paper will use four brief case studies to illustrate how QA/QC can be used to display data and validate the underpinning geological interpretation through its associated domaining to get it right when it comes to a mineral resource estimation.

Lee, T, 2007.
assurance and quality control of the interpretation of the geological economic
commodity concentrations is important in getting a mineral resource estimate
right, in Proceedings
Evaluation 2007
, pp
Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: