Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy]]> vol. 114 num. 1 lang. es <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Sampling and Analysis: Best Practice in African Mining</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>President's Corner</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Professor Emeritus status conferred on Wits Mining Professor Huw Phillips</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>CSMI boosts research plans for 2014</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Hugh Scott-Russell</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>From metal to money: the importance of reliable metallurgical accounting</b>]]> Metal inventories are usually reported in financial statements of mining companies. However, the value of these inventories can be reliable only if the metals in stock are measured within acceptable tolerances. Reliable metal balancing requires accurate mass measurement, sampling, and chemical analysis. Many mining companies are usually unable to validate the accuracy of metals in inventories at the end of their financial year. This is mainly due to poor mass measurement, sampling, and chemical analysis practices. This has an adverse impact on metallurgical accounting and metal valuation. In addition, it puts a lot of stress on external auditors, who have the duty to recommend the approval of the financial statements to the board of directors. Although a full value chain of metal reconciliation includes the accuracy of Mineral Reserve definition and grade control at the mine, this paper discusses the implementation of best practices for mass measurement, sampling, and chemical analysis at processing plants. This is an important aspect of sampling and reconciliation that is required in order to improve the reporting of inventories in the financial statements of public mining companies. <![CDATA[<b>Sample support size and spacing determination for resource development of a marine placer gold deposit</b>]]> Successful resource development for a marine placer gold deposit requires continuous sampling throughout the life of mine. The cost of sampling marine placer gold deposits is exponentially more expensive than for terrestrial placer and non-placer gold deposits and thus warrants a comprehensive cost-effective sampling strategy. The optimum sample support size depends on expected gold grade, desired confidence limit, and shape and size of the gold grains. The optimum sample spacing depends on the continuity of the deposit, required confidence limit, and cost-benefit analysis of a sampling programme. The current study combines sample support size and spacing determination for resource development of a marine placer gold deposit. The study used two methods to calculate the sample support size - modified Gy's formula and the approach pioneered by Clifton et al. (1969). Using historical drillhole data, a geostatistical simulation of a representative geological/mineralization domain was created on an extremely dense grid. The simulation realizations were validated using statistical, spatial, and graphical methods. Additional sample support sizes were then created by combining adjacent simulation nodes to form double, quadruple, and octuplet multiples of drill diameter sizes. The simulations were sampled at three different spacings: 100 m x 100 m; 50 m x 50 m; and 25 m x 25 m and then each sample set estimated into 50 m x 50 m blocks with ordinary kriging. A comparison between the actual and estimated block results was then carried out and the confidence of each sampling pattern (sample spacing and sample support size) determined. A cost-benefit analysis was then used to determine the optimum sampling strategy for the marine placer gold deposit. <![CDATA[<b>The 'simulated chip-sample model' as a method for quantifying error and bias in sampling thin carboniferous reef types</b>]]> A brief history of channel sampling in South African gold mines is followed by a chronicle of different sampling events and sampling methods that used the traditional 'hammer and chisel' approach as well as diamond core extraction of the sample. The problems associated with each method of sample collection are documented and the use of a laser scanner to measure the exact volumes of sample material extracted from a correctly delimited sample site are considered. Areas where increment delimitation errors (IDEs), increment extraction errors (IEEs), increment weighting errors (IWEs), and increment preparation errors (IPEs) occur were investigated. A 'simulated chip sample model' is introduced and provides the basis for comparing the percentages of error introduced as a result of improper sampling. The heterogeneity experiment showed that reefs that are more homogenous tend have lower extraction errors than the more complex carbon-rich reefs, which may contribute to understanding the poor mine call factor on mines exploiting the latter types of reef. <![CDATA[<b>Determination of sampling configuration for near-shore diamondiferous gravel occurrence using geostatistical methods</b>]]> Diamondiferous linear beaches in Mining Area No. 1 have been the mainstay of Namdeb's diamond production for more than 80 years. Most of the onshore beaches have been mined out, but in recent years mining has been extended offshore into the surf zone through a process of beach accretion. A total of 61.6 million carats has been produced from the gravel beaches since their discovery in 1928, and Mining Area No. 1 is considered to have great remaining potential from areas currently submerged under water. To date, the surf zone has remained largely unexplored due to the consistently strong winds, currents, and large waves which make access to this area extremely difficult. This paper describes the processes used in developing a practical methodology for exploration of the surf zone in a domain extending approximately 22 km long in a northwest-southeast direction and 0.3 km wide in a perpendicular direction adjacent to the current Mining Area No 1. The vigorous surf zone poses multiple technical challenges in terms of obtaining geological and diamond information. In order to access the area for sampling, a jack-up walking probe drill platform (PDP) with a 5-inch diameter reverse-circulation drill has been developed to carry out exploration drilling in the dynamic surf zone. The hydraulically driven platform has eight legs, each of which is 18 m long. Four of the legs are in fixed positions on the fore and aft sides of the platform. The other four moveable legs are fitted to sliding frames attached to the port and starboard sides of the platform. The sets of fixed and moveable legs can be raised and lowered by hydraulically powered jacking stations. By alternately lifting and lowering the sets of fixed and moveable legs in conjunction with the frames moving back and forth horizontally, a walking action is performed by the PDP. The platform can walk at a speed of 10-15 m/h, depending on weather and footwall conditions. Optimization of sampling for diamondiferous gravel occurrence in Mining Area No.1 was undertaken through creation of a virtual orebody on which different sample configurations were tested. The input data for the construction of a virtual orebody comprises a set of drilling data, collected from recently accreted areas directly adjacent to the 22 km x 0.3 km target domain. The input drilling data covers only 34% of the domain, and for the purpose of this study, a single realization is deemed to be sufficient. The texture obtained from using only the drilling data to construct a simulation did not make geological sense; hence it was necessary to make use of analog data in order to improve the simulation. The first analog data used consists of the gully patterns found in the metasedimentary Precambrian bedrock footwall. Gullies are, in general, gravel filled and it is fair to assume that gully patterns form a subset of the total gravel occurrence. Total gravel occurrence includes marine terraces (governed by sea-level stands) above bedrock peaks, together with gravel within gullies below bedrock peaks. The second analog 'data' introduced is through the use of 'expert interpretation'. The indicator drilling data is interpreted by expert opinion and the 2-dimensional result is hand-sketched, digitized, and then pixelated. The pixelated data set is then used as input for variogram calculation. This study cannot provide a single definite optimization result as the nature of the data does not permit this. The use of different validation approaches (conditioning data, where available; expert interpretation; and gully pattern data), however, can give a very good indication of how to balance sampling effort with de-risking aspects related to geological continuity. Work undertaken by sampling the simulation will give an assessment of the relative probabilities of determining gravel occurrence in the study area. This study showed that a 50 m x 400 m cross-configuration will be a good initial sample spacing for highlighting areas where gravel may be absent, and further infill drilling may be required. The relative efficiency of a 50 m x 400 m cross off-set sampling configuration has been demonstrated using a trumpet curve versus sampling effort when using kriging as the estimation method. <![CDATA[<b>Sampling the coal chain</b>]]> Coal is a complex heterogeneous commodity that can be mined in a number of ways and needs to be processed to a homogeneous quality that satisfies the customer's requirements, while attempting to maximize revenues. Only a small proportion of coal is suitable for metallurgical use. Export coals cover a wide range of qualities and some coals can be used optimally in the raw state for energy production. Critical quality parameters vary and can be a combination of heat value, ash, volatiles, sulphur, phosphorus, sizing, amongst others. The level of beneficiation is generally dictated by the washability of the coal, mining contamination, and the target product quality. The steps in the coal chain covered in this paper comprise exploration, mining selections, production, the washing process, and product delivery. Many points of sampling are needed to maximize yield at the correct quality, and some of these will be described in the paper. <![CDATA[<b>Pitfalls in Vezin sampling for finely crushed materials by</b>]]> Anglo American Platinum has adopted a strategy of best practice principles (BPP) for sampling, mass measurement, analysis, and metal accounting for more than a decade now. When new plants are designed, the most suitable sampling equipment and sampling protocols are implemented and material flows and plant layouts are designed around sampling strategies. A few years ago, a crushing plant for a high-grade matte stream was commissioned. The design called for the high-grade material to be crushed to 95% passing 2 mm, and the design allowed for a single-cutter primary Vezin sampler taking increments from a gravity flowing stream at regular intervals while filling a tanker for pneumatic offload at the base metal refinery. This was a single point of sampling and analysis that would measure the wanted output from the smelting complex and the input to the refineries. In addition, the design incorporated the functionality to collect increments in an 'interleaved' fashion from the Vezin sampler for internal precision checks. The metal accounting strategy for Anglo Platinum involves the ongoing measurement of all inputs, outputs, and stock levels for all operations for platinum group metal (PGM) and base metal (BM) content. Included are yearly stocktakes, usually done on 1 February, across the smelters and refineries (at least the base metal refinery). In the accounting period immediately following the introduction of the new crushing and sampling facility, a trend was developing whereby the absolute difference between the physical stock and theoretical stock (PGMs predominantly) increased for the two respective sites on an ongoing basis. The smelter showed an increase in physical stock compared to the theoretical stock (sender) and the base metal refinery showed an increase in theoretical stock against physical stock. Because of this anomaly, an additional stocktake was held in September for the period in question, and it was confirmed through the physical stock measurement results that the PGM accounting problem was indeed pointing towards the evaluation of the high-grade matte stream. This paper showcases parts of the process that took place to explain the poor accountabilities for the two sites. Previous results from the sampler ratification process (of the interleaved sampling design) were re-analysed, a physical inspection was carried out on the sampling system again, and the sampler performance was monitored (quality control parameters) for the period. From these investigations, it was found that airflows inside the Vezin introduced the sampling bias. A change in sampling protocol was introduced, as well as certain physical changes to the sampling equipment, to eliminate the airflow and thus the bias conditions significantly. The accounting period that followed the phased upgrading process showed that the accounting between the smelter and base metal refinery had been restored to within statistical limits (difference between physical and theoretical stock below 5% relative to theoretical stock). <![CDATA[<b>Best practice sampling methods, assay techniques, and quality control with reference to the platinum group elements (PGEs)</b>]]> In this paper the process of sampling and assaying as it relates in particular to the platinum group elements (PGEs) is presented. A discussion of the geology of PGE deposits is included to provide an understanding of the mineralization that is considered necessary prior to sampling, as this has a direct bearing on the mineral resource estimate and also the selection of an appropriate mining cut. The discussion includes the selection of the sampling technique (drilling or face sampling), the size of the sample relating to the requirements of the laboratory, the potential mining cut, as well as a reference to sampling theory. The selection of an assay technique that is appropriate and will yield the optimal result based on sample turnaround, precision, accuracy, and cost is then considered. Examples are drawn from work undertaken on the Bushveld Complex (Merensky Reef, UG2 Chromitite Layer, Platreef) and Great Dyke (Main Sulphide Zone). A discussion of the appropriate QA/QC programme includes the chain of custody, CRM selection and the QA/QC process. <![CDATA[<b>Sampling in the South African minerals industry</b>]]> Although not fully accepted in South Africa, the Theory of Sampling originally proposed by Pierre Gy is fast becoming the cornerstone of sampling practice throughout the world. The growing acceptance of Gy's Theory of Sampling in South Africa can be attributed to a number of factors, chief amongst them being the development of a tradable mineral asset market, the promulgation of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA), the growing number of commercial and academic courses that are offered on sampling, and the regulation of the industry through internationally acceptable guidelines and rules for reporting and trading in mineral assets. The size of the South African minerals industry and the dependence of our economy on mineral production have also meant that correct sampling is of key importance to mineral trade. ISO standards have been the principal guides for producers of mineral bulk commodities who produce to customers' specifications, whereas Gy's insights have been most readily accepted by precious and base metals producers whose product is sold into metal markets. Understanding of small-scale variability is essential in the precious and base-metal industries, but detailed studies of the effects of heterogeneity have not been as productive in the bulk commodities. Sampling practices at different stages of mineral development from exploration, face sampling and grade control, ore processing and handling, metallurgical sub-sampling, point of sale sampling, and sampling in the laboratory are considered in the gold, platinum, ferrous metal, and coal industries. A summary of the impact of poor sampling in these industries is presented. Generally it appears that poor sampling practice is most likely to erode mineral asset value at the early stages of mineral development. The benefits of good sampling are considered, especially with regard to the financial implications of bias and error on large and consistent consignments of bulk commodities. <![CDATA[<b>Metal accounting and corporate governance</b>]]> In the wake of the financial crisis that affected world markets in 2002, there has been an increasing international focus on corporate governance. Various corporate governance codes of practice have been introduced, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation in the USA, the Combined Code in the UK, and King III in South Africa. This focus on corporate governance has increased since the most recent financial crisis in 2008, the effects of which are still being felt world-wide. In the mining and minerals industry, reliable metal accounting is essential to sound corporate governance and is also becoming a focus of increased attention and concern, particularly as the figures generated by the metal accounting system feed directly into the financial accounts of mining companies. Mass measurement, sampling, and analysis provide the input data for the metal accounting system and sound corporate governance requires that the procedures used are based on best practice and that the data generated is accurate and handled correctly, transparently, and consistently to produce the accounting reports. The AMIRA Code of Practice for Metal Accounting has been widely adopted in the industry as a means to achieve this, and the compilers of the Code have conducted numerous metal accounting audits at operations, both in South Africa and abroad. These audits have shown that there is a real need for such a code of practice. <![CDATA[<b>An overview of sampling best practice in African mining</b>]]> The status of sampling practices in the gold mining industry in Africa was determined as an initial step in a process to standardize sampling practices in the mining industry. Twenty-one gold mines, twenty metallurgical plants, and thirteen laboratories were rated for the potential influence of the relevant sampling errors on each component of the particular sampling system. The findings of the study on the status of equipment, standards, procedures, and management principles were presented in a dissertation (Spangenberg, 20121) and are now used by AngloGold Ashanti's mines in the quest for correct sampling practices. The information is also used to compile a guideline on leading practice procedures for sampling methods in gold mining. This article is an overview of sampling best practice found in African mining <![CDATA[<b>Mine to metal</b>: <b>a practical balance for a large platinum producer</b>]]> This paper deals with the sampling and mass measurement for ore delivered from a shaft to a processing plant and the contribution of the data from these measurements to the metal balances from shaft deliveries to final metal production. Accurate measurement of the grade and tonnage of run-of-mine ore is important for four main reasons; ► It enables the measurement of the production from different profit centres to within statistically determined confidence limits for daily, monthly, or annual averages. The profit centres could be individual shafts within a mining complex or ore treated on a toll basis ► The monthly production at shaft head is compared to the grades and tonnage determined from underground sampling and mass measurement in terms of a shaft call factor ► The sum of the production from the shafts is the input to concentrators. This input is a major part of the total input into a complex with concentrators, smelters, and refineries. In terms of the Codes of Practice for Metal Accounting the inputs are compared to outputs and inventory changes to assess the efficiencies and unaccounted losses or gains at the various stages in the flow of metal from source to market ► On a daily or daily moving average basis, the grades and tons from shafts are monitored and compared against these quantities from underground measurements. This acts as a control on off-reef mining, dilution, and other factors underground. Accurate measurement of grade of ore at the shaft head has been a challenge because of the large particle size. The conventional wisdom has been that ore can be sampled accurately only after it has been milled to give a slurry that is sampled as feed to a flotation process. However, when the ore fed to a flotation plant comes from multiple sources each source has to be sampled separately. So, relying on the grades determined using the sampling of concentrator input with cross-stream slurry samplers is not an option for determining the grade from an individual shaft. Impala has developed a system for sampling and weighing run-of-mine ore from multiple shafts. The system involves sampling the inputs to the plants using cross-belt (hammer) samplers and weighing the deliveries using in-motion railway weighing systems. Many samples are taken. Individually they have a high variance but, as a consequence of the averaging effect of large numbers and as shown by statistical analysis, the mean results are fit for the purposes of daily grade control for shafts and for monthly accounting of production from individual shafts. In the metal accounting systems at Impala, the measurement of input, including ore and toll-treated material is compared to the output in the form of final metal and tailings losses, as well as any inventory change that takes place, in order to determine a final metal balance from mill feed to product. The calculated inventory is compared to that measured, and the difference, or unaccounted- for metal, is then reported as a percentage of input. The balances obtained over several years yields balances for platinum that are below 1% imbalanced. <![CDATA[<b>The allocation of gold production from multiple shafts feeding a common treatment plant using run-of-mine sampling of ore deliveries</b>]]> Previously, the grade of ore at the shaft head was taken to be equivalent to the grade measured in the faces by means of chip sampling. The tonnage mined from the stopes is determined from survey volumetric measurements. Estimates of shaft head grade and tons include the grades and tons of waste, development ore, sweepings from old areas, and other sources, not all of which are sampled. The tonnage of ore delivered at the shaft is often estimated using skip factors. These factors are subject to manipulation and not all the skips are filled to the same level. Consequently, both the grade and tonnage of ore delivered at shaft head are subject to a measure of uncertainty. For many years, these uncertainties have led to disputes between shaft managers and metallurgists over the reconciliation between shaft tons and grade and plant tons and grade. These problems are compounded when several shafts feed a central processing plant. Shaft bonuses and a shaft's profitability are affected by poor gold allocation methods. Without measurement of the grade and tonnage from all shafts, a poorly performing shaft could benefit at the expense of the other shafts. In order to improve the measurement of grades and tonnage at the shaft head, which is the custody transfer point between the mine and surface operations, South African mining companies have developed a methodology to measure the mass of ore from each shaft using rail weighing equipment, and the run-of-mine grades delivered from each shaft using cross-stream (go-belt) sampling. Harmony Gold Mining Company has implemented the rail weighing and go-belt sampling methods for their shafts. This paper deals with the statistical tests on the procedures and control measures that are in place to establish confidence in the gold allocations. The metal accounting system for examining the allocations follows the first principle of the AMIRA P754 Metal Accounting Code of Practice namely 'The metal accounting system must be based on accurate measurements of mass and metal content. It must be based on a full check-in check-out system'. The check-in is mass and grade of run-of-mine ore and the check-outs are the plant input grades and the recovery and residue from the plant. The balances between check-in and check-out are the subject of the statistical analyses, which have been conducted using the classical statistical tests and procedures that are generally used in all fields of endeavour. It is concluded that the gold allocation procedures that rely on go-belt sampling and rail weighing of ore from shafts has been successfully implemented, and that the system, which has been in operation at Harmony since 1993, has won general acceptance from stakeholders, with the gold allocations being perceived as being fair to all. Apart from the on-mine issues of bonuses and fair allocations, accurate metal accounting assists in the broader issues of generating accurate production figures for management. An added benefit of weighing and sampling ore at the shaft head has been that shafts now have daily moving average grades, which are used for grade control. The go-belt sample at the shaft head is the first accurate sample of production in the value chain from face sampling to gold bullion. <![CDATA[<b>Mechanical sampling - a manufacturer's perspective</b>]]> With the advent of the First World Conference on Sampling and Blending (WCSB1) in Denmark in 2003 and the subsequent biannual meetings, together with other sampling conferences held on a regular basis, the central tenets of sound sampling practice and theory are spreading throughout the minerals industry. End-users and project houses, or groups who execute the projects, are all now better-informed about the principles of 'correct' sampling and preparation. To support this, many large mining companies now have their own in-house champion who will advise and ensure that the supply of sampling equipment is correct in terms of design and application, which further contributes to improved metallurgical accounting. The presence of a sampling champion also ensures that consistent and acceptable standards in regard to sampling practice are maintained throughout the group. This has, in turn, placed a greater degree of responsibility on the shoulders of sampling equipment suppliers, in terms of their equipment designs and product offerings, as well as applications knowledge for effective installation of equipment on client plants. This paper attempts to highlight the significant challenges that sampling equipment manufacturers often face with regard to complying with the newly understood requirements of best practice and sampling equipment design. Manufacturers invariably face issues with end-users or project houses, including project cost control, restricted headroom for samplers in plant layouts, and a lack of knowledge in certain quarters. These all have a potentially negative effect on the final outcome of a proposed sampling solution or implemented project. In reality, what is intended by all parties and what is ultimately installed are at times very different, with undesirable consequences for all concerned. Against this challenging background, there are, however, a number of instances where intent and implementation are complementary, with very satisfactory results. <![CDATA[<b>Between-laboratory biases - same sample, different answers. Some guidelines</b>]]> Laboratory bias is a universal problem in all branches of analytical science. It results from differences in methods, techniques, equipment, and calibrations between laboratories. Notwithstanding that it is a property that can be measured by the use of standards or by inter-laboratory testing, laboratory bias remains a material issue for the mining industry. There is extensive literature and clear guidelines on measurement from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and its worldwide federation of national standards bodies (ISO member bodies) and from the science of metrology. ISO guides cover the manufacture and use of standards. An accessible source of literature covering laboratory quality control comes from the public health sector, particularly pathology. There is little doubt in financial reporting rules about the meaning of materiality. Public reporting guidelines are clear that material matters need to be disclosed for investors. Unfortunately there is currently no clear guidance what to do about biased assay results in mineral industry public reporting guidelines. This paper reviews the requirements for the manufacture and use of reference materials, public reporting requirements in the mining industry, and presents proposals to improve management and reporting of laboratory biases.