Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Mineral resources are typically informed by multiple data sources of varying reliability throughout a mining project life cycle. Abundant data which are imprecise or biased or both ('secondary data') are often excluded from mineral resource estimations (the 'base case') under an intuitive, but usually untested, assumption that this data may reduce the estimation precision, bias the estimate, or both. This paper demonstrates that the assumption is often wasteful and realized only if the secondary data are naïvely integrated into the estimation. A number of specialized geostatistical tools are available to extract maximum value from secondary information which are imprecise or biased or both; this paper evaluates cokriging (CK), multicollocated cokriging (MCCK), and ordinary kriging with variance of measurement error (OKVME). Where abundant imprecise but unbiased secondary data are available, integration using OKVME is recommended. This re-appropriates kriging weights from less precise to more precise data locations, improving the estimation precision compared to the base case and to Ordinary Kriging (OK) of a pooled data-set. If abundant secondary data are biased and imprecise, integration through CK is recommended as the biased data are zero-sum weighted. CK consequently provides an unbiased estimate with some improvement in estimation precision compared to the base case.
Keywords : Mineral resource estimation; data integration; cokriging; ordinary kriging with variance of measurement error.