Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
HOLMES, R.J.. Sampling mineral commodities - the good, the bad, and the ugly. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2010, vol.110, n.6, pp. 269-276. ISSN 2411-9717.
A wide range of drill holes and process streams are sampled for resource estimation, grade control, and contractual purposes in the minerals industry. However, despite the availability of training courses, conferences and both national and international standards on correct sampling practices, it is still surprising how often little attention is given to ensuring that representative samples are collected for analysis. The reason for this is that the responsibility for sampling is often entrusted to personnel who do not appreciate the significance and importance of sampling, with cost being the main driving force rather than whether the sample is representative of the material from which it was extracted. This seriously undermines the precision and accuracy of the analyses subsequently generated and can render the analysis process a total waste of time and money and expose mining companies to serious, potential, financial losses. Company management needs to reverse this situation and ensure that sampling is given the attention it deserves to generate representative samples for analysis.