The probability of economic success in exploring for tin deposits

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 74, No. 828, 1981

VICTOR RUDENNO Tutor, School of Mining Engineering The University of New South Wales

Previous methods have employed statistical analysis to model future mineral resources. The method presented in this paper uses Zipf's Law to determine the size and grade of tin deposits still to be discovered. The law is applied independently to both known deposit tonnage and grades. A probability distribution for both tonnage and grade is computed for those deposits still to be located and then, by applying a correlation between tonnage and grade, a distribution of the probability of metal content discovery is obtained.By considering an economic cut-off in metal contained in a deposit, the probability of economic success for the next tin discovery is computed, both for a world discovery and for the special case of Tasmania, Australia. The results indicate a probability of 11-37% on a world-wide basis and 18% chance of economic success in Tasmania.
Keywords: Exploration, Tin deposits, Statistical analysis, ZipPs Law, Tonnage, Grade, Tasmania.