Various styles of gold mineralisation pose problems during sampling because of their complex gold grade distribution and presence of coarse gold. Effective sampling and sample preparation forms the basis of resource estimates. The design of a sampling and assaying protocol must be based on a thorough understanding of the mineralisation in question, which should include consideration of gold particle size and mass distribution. The proportion of coarse gold within samples has a profound effect on the requirements for sample preparation and assaying. Choice of preparation procedure and assay type is of critical importance if sampling errors are to be minimised. Traditional fire assays, using small charge sizes, often understate assays gained from large charge sizes and techniques such as screen fire assay and LeachWELL. Proper application of the Theory of Sampling reduces errors during collection, preparation and assaying. A quality control/quality assurance program must be implemented and critically assessed. A case study from the Ballarat mine is presented, which is characterised by substantial quantities of coarse-gold hosted in quartz veins. Diamond core drilling is the key input into resource delineation. A number of different sampling and assay options have been trialled over the recent project history. The current sampling protocol utilises whole drill core, using LeachWELL assays after logging and photography.
Dominy, S C, 2017. Sampling coarse gold-bearing
mineralisation – developing effective protocols and a case study from the
Ballarat mine, Australia, in Proceedings Eighth World Conference on Sampling
and Blending , pp 71–84 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).