How MineSight Implicit Modeler Can Save You Money

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In this final blog about MineSight Implicit Modeler, I want to illustrate how implicit modeling can save your company money – lots of money.

As explained in earlier blogs, Implicit Modeling can save geologists a lot of time in their daily work, but what happens when data can be interpreted in multiple ways?

The benefit of implicit modeling is that it’s easy to build multiple models based on different theories and see how it affects your profit margin. If it’s high, then you probably want to do more detailed studies prior to beginning a large capital project.

The following (unnamed) project is an example of a mine that was planned and developed on a flawed model, resulting in a significant loss of expected profit when the ore was extracted.

All the geology in the deposit area was dipping to the west and, as per standard drilling practice, holes were drilled that would intercept perpendicular to this trend as much as possible. When the holes were analyzed and displayed on screen, this trend was easy to see in both the geology and the grade:

Fig 1. A long strike view of the deposit from south to north. The blue surfaces are the geological contacts from mapping and drilling data. The drillhole colors are based on the gold grade (blue for low, red for high).

Fig 1. A long strike view of the deposit from south to north. The blue surfaces are the geological contacts from mapping and drilling data. The drillhole colors are based on the gold grade (blue for low, red for high).

Traditional manual modeling was performed on this data to produce ore envelopes for grade interpretation and economic evaluations. This manual modeling took weeks to accomplish, and because the majority of the data fit so well with the westerly dipping trend, it was decided that information relating to the grade trends would be ignored.

In the drill core, it was observed that the gold bearing veins dipped to the east, not the west. It was assumed that these were part of a conjugate set. No one had the time to see what would happen to the shape of the ore envelope using this information because of the pressure on the geologists to produce a model for the feasibility study.

Running the data twice in MineSight Implicit Modeler, however, took minutes and produced two very different sets of results:

 

Fig 2. Cross-sectional views of the deposit using a westerly and easterly dip.

Fig 2. Cross-sectional views of the deposit using a westerly and easterly dip.

A quick “back of the envelope” block model and reserves report shows us that the original model was predicting around 4.8 million ounces of gold or $6.2 billion worth of contained metal. The second interpretation predicted 2.9 million ounces or $3.7 billion worth. That is a pretty significant difference!

At this stage, neither result is necessarily correct, but it might add a level of doubt to the project that leads to more investigation of the deposit prior to committing to a capital project. For the record, it was discovered during mining that the ore was indeed dipping to the east and was contained in en echelon veins due to faulting.

This led to a significant downgrading in the profitability of the operation.

Saving time and money with MineSight Implicit Modeler – that’s shaping smart change.

Regards,

Mark Gabbitus
Product Manager, Operations
MineSight

Guest Blogger Profile:

mark gabbitusMark spent eight years as an exploration and mine geologist, becoming Senior Mine Geologist at Newmont’s Groundrush operations in Australia’s Northern Territory. Mark has since worked in mining software as a technical services manager and regional business development manager. He is now the product manager for MineSight’s Operational products and a senior advisor for Geological products.

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