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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 0038-223X


MCWHA, M.. Between-laboratory biases - same sample, different answers. Some guidelines. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2014, vol.114, n.1, pp.1-12. ISSN 2411-9717.

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.

Keywords : laboratory bias; reference materials; ISO Guides; financial reporting; materiality.

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