The contour method of estimating mineral resources

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 95, No. 1063, 2002

H. Agnerian and W.E. Roscoe

The contour method can be used to estimate the mineral resources of a mineralized body. It relies on geological interpretation and allows the geologist to determine the plunge of a mineralized ore shoot along the dipping plane of the mineralized body. The technique is best applied to estimate tonnage and average grade of relatively planar bodies, i.e., where the two dimensions of the mineralized body are much greater than the third dimension, such as Archean lode gold vein deposits or mantos of massive sulphide mineralization, based on exploration drilling. For these types of deposits, the contour method can provide a clear view of the “mineralization landscape” with “peaks” and “valleys” along the plane of the mineralized vein. The technique also reduces the “nugget effect” of local high values commonly present in gold deposits. With sufficient drill hole information, the contour method may be used to estimate the tonnage and average grade of individual blocks within a mineral deposit. General procedures for the contour method are described in this paper, along with examples and explanatory notes.
Keywords: Estimation, Mineral resources, Tonnage, Average grades, Mineralization, Ore.