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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

On-line version ISSN 2411-9717


MINNITT, R.C.A.  and  ASSIBEY-BONSU, W.. A comparison between the duplicate series analysis method and the heterogeneity test as methods for calculating the sampling constants, K and alpha. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2010, vol.110, n.6, pp. 251-268. ISSN 2411-9717.

The compilation of the sampling nomogram is an essential tool in the optimization of a sampling protocol and allows the operator to track the change in relative variance of the sampling error (the Fundamental sampling error) during steps of comminution and mass reduction in the process of recovery of the aliquot for analysis. The data required for the compilation of the nomogram are centred on the sampling constant K and the exponent alpha (α) of the nominal fragment size. Five methods for establishing K have been identified, but two of them, the duplicate sampling analysis method and the heterogeneity test method purport to provide such constant. The step by step procedure for each of these two methods was examined using broken ores from three mines, Mponeng mine, Kloof mine, and Lily mine. Two of these mines (Mponeng and Kloof) are typical Witwatersrand-type gold mines, and the third is an Archaean-type shear related gold deposit situated in the Barberton Greenstone belt. The results suggest that the factor K derived using the heterogeneity test is very accurate, but applies only to a single size fraction in the spectrum of comminuted materials. The calculation of gold grain sizes using this method appear to be too small and do not conform with the results from detailed mineralogical studies. The factors K and alpha derived using the duplicate series analysis are appropriate for use across a wide spectrum of comminution sizes and also provide realistic gold grain sizes, comparable with the equivalent circular diameter of gold grains identified in mineralogical studies of the ores.

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