Geostatistical determination of sample variances in the sampling of broken gold ores

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 84, No. 950, 1991

D. Francois-Bongarcon, Inco Exploration and Technical Services Inc., Copper Cliff, Ontario

The theory and practice of sampling of paniculate material have been the focus of a continued attention on the part of the mining industry worldwide for almost a century now, because of its critical importance at all phases of a mining project, from exploration (bulk sampling, assaying) to production (grade control) and marketing (quality control). A powerful, complete theory was put together by P. Gy (1968 to 1982), but its applications to gold ores have met with limited success to date, due to the inadequacy of its sampling variance and minimum sample mass determination formulae to the challenging case of gold ores. This paper presents a research project completed at Inco Exploration and Technical Services Inc., using a geostatistical approach, to shed light on the results of P. Gy's theory, and adapt them to the case ofparticulate gold ores. After a reminder ofGy 's formulae and a simplified demonstration of the generic form ofGy's and more traditional formulae, an empirical approach, based on sampling experiments from four gold deposits, shows how Gy's formulae must be corrected to adjust to the case of gold ores. The generality of the results formula is then substantiated with a geostatistical analysis of the problem. A parameterized formula results, and indications are given on how to fit its parameters to experimental data. Application guidelines and charts to fit any case and budget are presented, along with a detailed practical example.
Keywords: Particulate gold ore, Sampling variance, Fundamental sampling error, Geostatistical microstructure, Nugget effect, Gold ores.