Comparison of Ore Reserve Grades with Mill Head Grades Using Statistics in Two Gold Mines, Sudbury District, Ontario

Exploration & Mining Geology, Vol. 1, No. 3, 1992

FRANCIS T. MANNS Artesian Mineral Associates, Toronto, Ontario, Canada,and ELAINE ELLINGHAM Altair Consultants Ltd.,Rexdale, Ontario, Canada

The Orostar and Scadding were two small gold mines owned and operated by Orofino Resources Limited. Conventional statistical treatment indicates an identical arithmetic mean grade of 0.22 oz/T Au for both mineable reserves. Further, the deposits are both shown to have cut weighted average reserve grade of 0.21 oz/T. Orostar mined out at 0.206 oz/T and Scadding at 0.156 oz/T Au. The combined exploration and development database contained 1394 fire assays, more than enough for statistical confidence in a normal distribution. Therefore this study was initiated to determine, if possible, why the mill head grades were lower than the averages and to experiment with several methods to determine whether a reliable statistical mill head grade estimation method would emerge. Despite the identical reserve grades, distinct differences in the grade distribution histograms are present. By studying the arithmetic and log-normal grade distributions, with some attention to South African practices, this paper reports on those differences which may account for the considerable divergence in the mill head grades. Furthermore, this study casts considerable doubt on the industry standard method of cut weighted averages. The global mill head grades of the two deposits have been derived from the arithmetic average grades by graphic means. This precise method of mill head grade prediction, if applied to complex orebodies, could permit selective grade control and result in direct cost savings by allowing the operator to detect false value stopes, benches or levels and emphasize reliable regions of not only gold mines, but also uranium or base metal deposits.