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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


HOFFMANN, D.  and  PLUMB, S.. Predicting the probability of Iron-Rich Ultramafic Pegmatite (IRUP) in the Merensky Reef at Lonmin's Karee Mine. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2015, vol.115, n.6, pp.465-470. ISSN 2411-9717.

IRUP is an iron-rich ultramafic pegmatite rock that formed due to hot iron-rich fluids and gases replacing local stratigraphic zones of the Bushveld Complex. This study focuses on the estimation of the probability of IRUP occurrence on the Merensky Reef at the Marikana Karee Mine. A 2.15 million centare IRUP-rich domain at the Karee Mine was initially defined from the interpretation of a surface aeromagnetic anomaly, and exposures in the mine workings. Surface boreholes (spaced 250-500 m apart) within this IRUP domain contain approximately equal numbers of IRUP-replaced and IRUP-free intersections. Owing to the uncertainty in the continuity of the IRUP alteration (a result of the wide borehole spacing), the risk associated with the development of mining infrastructure within this domain is unquantifiable. Semi-quantitative data comprising visual estimates of IRUP replacement from reef development mapping data and surface borehole reef intersections was interpolated into blocks using indicator kriging estimation. Comparative analyses of the estimate of IRUP occurrences were made by changing the block size and declustering the data systematically. Reconciliations of the probability of IRUP predicted from the block models derived from the different data-sets and sequential indicator simulation models were analysed for four mining study blocks. A quantitative approach to modelling the occurrence of IRUP can be an additional tool for refining the estimate of the geological losses that inform the mine plan in such high-risk zones.

Keywords : geological losses; Merensky Reef; IRUP replacement; indication kriging.

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