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Minerals 2019, 9(4), 238; https://doi.org/10.3390/min9040238

Integrating the Theory of Sampling into Underground Mine Grade Control Strategies: Case Studies from Gold Operations

1
Camborne School of Mines, University of Exeter, Penryn, Cornwall TR10 9FE, UK
2
Western Australian School of Mines, Curtin University, Bentley, WA 6102, Australia
3
WH Bryan Mining and Geology Research Centre, University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia
4
MSA Global LLC, Bayanzurkh District, Ulaanbaatar 13370, Mongolia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 4 March 2019 / Revised: 10 April 2019 / Accepted: 12 April 2019 / Published: 17 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sampling across the Mine Value Chain)
PDF [1881 KB, uploaded 17 April 2019]

Abstract

Grade control aims to deliver adequately defined tonnes of ore to the process plant. The foundation of any grade control programme is collecting high-quality samples within a geological context. The requirement for quality samples has long been recognised, in that these should be representative and fit-for-purpose. Correct application of the Theory of Sampling reduces sampling errors across the grade control process, in which errors can propagate from sample collection through sample preparation to assay results. This contribution presents three case studies which are based on coarse gold-dominated orebodies. These illustrate the challenges and potential solutions to achieve representative sampling and build on the content of a previous publication. Solutions ranging from bulk samples processed through a plant to whole-core sampling and assaying using bulk leaching, are discussed. These approaches account for the nature of the mineralisation, where extreme gold particle-clustering effects render the analysis of small-scale samples highly unrepresentative. Furthermore, the analysis of chip samples, which generally yield a positive bias due to over-sampling of quartz vein material, is discussed.
Keywords: gold mineralisation; grade control; Theory of Sampling; sampling errors; representative sampling; fit-for-purpose sampling gold mineralisation; grade control; Theory of Sampling; sampling errors; representative sampling; fit-for-purpose sampling
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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MDPI and ACS Style

Dominy, S.C.; Glass, H.J.; O’Connor, L.; Lam, C.K.; Purevgerel, S. Integrating the Theory of Sampling into Underground Mine Grade Control Strategies: Case Studies from Gold Operations. Minerals 2019, 9, 238.

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