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Geostatistical design

of infill drilling programs

G. Pan
Abstract -A geostatistical approach isproposedfor the
design of infill drilling progranrs. The method consists of the
folo~vingfour majorsteps: developing geological favorability
models, delineating mineralization and ore envelopes, classihing resource potentials, and designing infill drilling patterns. Geological modeling develops the permissible geological zones in which infill drilling is designed. Modeling
mineralization and ore envelopes establishes criteria on the
potential blocks to be drilled. The blocks that are included
within the ore envelopes are considered in the infill drilling.
The following four types of resource potentials are used in
this-analysis: measured, indicated, possible and barren.
Blocks in the indicated category are the top targets to be
confirmed in infill drilling. Blocks of possible resources may
be considered exploration rclrgets. The algorithms involved
in the analy.ris include indicator favorability analysis, indicator kriging and ordinary kriging. A case study on a gold
deposit of the Carlin type is presented to demonstrate the
methodology. The deposit was originally delineated by a
sparse drilling program with abour230p of average spacing.
The infill drilling design, based on the nenl method, suggests
a sigrlificant reduction on the number of holes from a
regular-grid infill drilling pattern.
An exploration process normally consists of the following
four major phases: regional reconnaissance, detailed rnapping, sparse drilling and infill drilling. Regional reconnaissance identifies promising areas for a given type of
ore deposit by using geological, geochemical and geophysical data. Once one or more areas are selected, a detailed
mapping program is enacted to delineate drilling targets. This
may include detailed geochemical survey grids, trench sampling, structural mapping and high-resolution geophysical
mapping (e.g., IP and CSAMT). Sparse drilling (usually in a
regular grid) is designed first within top-ranked targets from
the detailed mapping. The goal is to detect unknown ore
deposits and roughly delineate the spatial extent of mineralization. This phase generates abundant detailed information
on geological control, mineralogy and the spatial variability
of ore elements. All of the above data are then used as the
primary inputs in feasibility studies to evaluate the economic
viability of mine development. If the deposits are financially
attractive, infill drilling programs will be developed to define
minable (provenlprobable) reserves for detailed mine plans.
Exploration history shows that infill drilling programs
play an important role in accurate reserve estimation and
optimum mine plans. One purpose of infill drilling is to

confirm the continuity of mineralization in a deposit and

adequately delineates ore bodies, including high-grade veins
and narrow ore pods. Because ore bodies are often distributed
in preferential directions and locations, infill drill holes must
be- designed to take into account the geological models
derived from previous mapping and drilling.
A drilling pattern designed by geologists relies primarily
upon geological controls. A mine engineer uses the concept
of continuity to define minable reserves. Yet, the concepts of
continuity h a y differ between geologists and mine engineers. This difference may lead to different tonnage-grade
relations and mine plans. Drill-hole patterns, based on geological continuities, may not be sufficient for determining ore
continuities in reserve modeling and mine planning.
Conventional drilling plans have been designed in regular
or lateral-regular grids. This strategy has frequently resulted
in inefficient drilling; that is, some areas are overly drilled,
while other areas are under-drilled. The inefficient drilling
can incur more costs than what mining companies should
invest for the same or higher level of confidence. Unfortunately, the issue has not been loudly addressed by
explorationists and geostatisticians, although some quantitative design methods have been proposed, such as Gershon
(1983), Chou and Schenk (1984), Harris (1990) and Aspie
and Barnes (1990). In addition, the optimal sample spacing
also has been examined, including drill-hole spacing for
open-pit reserve estimation (Sims and Goodwin, 1992). underground exploration (Rendu, 1976) and blast-hole sampling (Barnes, 1989).
At a quick glance, the optimization of infill drilling appears to be academic overkill. A straightforward geological
call, however, does not necessarily lead to:
the minimal number of infill drill holes required for a
given level of confidence, or
the optimal spatial pattern of infill drill holes that
accurately reveals the grade variability and ore geometries.
It is my belief that quantitative methods provide unique
capabilities in achieving the above tasks. Insufficient attention has been given to the geostatistical methods for infill
drilling, because the effort is painful and time consuming.
G. Pan, member SME, is director of technical development with
Independence Mining Co., Englewood, CO. SME Preprint 95-142,
SME Annual Meeting, March 6-9, 1995, Denver, CO. Manuscript
Feb., 1995. Discussion of this peer-reviewed and approved paper is
invited and must be submitted, in duplicate, prior to Oct. 31, 1996.


Large ore bodies can

be well controlled by
sparse drilling programs

Small and discrete ore bodies can only

be estimated correctly by detailed
drilling programs

Narrow ore bodies can

be easilv missed bv
sparse drilling patterns


Estimation on complex ore

bodies can be biased by
a sparse drilling

Fig. 1 -Various spatial characteristics of ore bodies that affect the drilling patterns; each grid node represents a possible drillhole location in
a regular grid drilling pattern.

Nevertheless, the additional endeavor can he readily justified

simply because drilling is too expensive.
A geostatistical approach to the optimal inl'ill drilling
design is proposed in this paper for a deposit that has been
previously delineated by a sparse drilling program. The
major feature of the methodology is to integrate all data,
including the assays and geological codes acquired from
previous exploration efforts. The technique is developed on
the basis of a classification framework of the resource potentials. The geostatistical procedure involves indicator
kriging and ordinary kriging. as well as indicator favorability
analysis. A case study is presented to demonstrate the implementation and usefulness of the method. The study shows
that a substantial number of drill holes can he reduced from
a conventional regular inl'ill drilling plan.

Basic concepts
Instead ofrushing into thecomplexity of methodology, an
introduction of some basic concepts related to continuity,
favorability and resource should serve as useful eye-openers.
An appropriate classification of resource potentials provides
a solid ground on which local potentials arejudged in light of
infill drilling. Continuity is also crucial, because most infill
drillingprograms attempt to confirm the spatial variability of
ore grade. The use of favorability analysis is predicated upon
the need for defining favorable geological environments of
blocks as being permissible for additional drilling.
Continuity is an important concept in reserve and resource
calculations (Isaak and Srivastava, 1989;Sinclair and Vallee,
1994; Pan, 1995). Variogram modeling has been widely

accepted as a means for quantifying the spatial continuity of

mineralization. Statistically, the continuity is understood as
theextent of auto-correlations of mineralized grades in space.
When a grade is correlated in a large spatial distance, it is said
that the mineralization is highly continuous. The continuity
is said to be low when the grade becomes uncorrelated at a
short distance. Different spatial characteristics of ore bodies
]nay require different drilling patterns (Fig. I ).
Of course, the continuity may vary with directions, meaning that the variability is anisotropic. For infill drilling, our
interest in the continuity is the range and pattern of influence
within which a drill hole may impact on resource definition.
Because of the complexity of grade distribution, the range of
drill-hole influence determined by variogranis represents
only statistical averages. The range along the major mineralization trend is important, because infill drilling is usually
designed along this direction through either sectional or plan
Another important factor that affects infill drilling plans is
geological conditions, which provide a precursor for the
decision of exploration. Relevant geological attributes serve
as clear-cut evidence for the existence of mineralization. The
absence of favorable geological environments would surely
preclude the occurrence of mineralization. Consequently,
modeling geological environments establishes rules for the
decision as to where one should or should not consider infill
drilling. Based on previous drilling and geological interpretation. geological environments can be classified as favorable or unfavorable to the occurrence of mineralization. Of
course, unfavorable areas will be automatically excluded
from the plan of infill drilling. When an area is localized i n a

favorable geological environment, the decision as to whether

it should be drilled out depends upon other parameters
described in a later section.
Classification of reserves or resources has been a difficult
and controversial issue, and different definitions have been
motivated for different interests. For example, the defini tions
by governmental agencies (USGS, 1980; AIMM, 1988)
serve the purpose of resource management and regulation.
The version proposed by Taylor (1994) may be suitable for
mine development and planning. Other notable proposals on
reserve definitions include Royle (1977), Diehl (1982), Lan
(1 988),Woberand Morgan (1993), and Owens and Armstrong
(1993). A common feature of most modern reserve and
resource classifications is the use of geostatistical concepts.
The definitions of resource potentials, described below,
are by no means for the purpose of establishing standards for
the mining industry and resource management. Instead, they
are introduded merely for convenience in the design of infill
drilling programs. The following terms are used in this
framework: measured resource, indicated resource, possible
resource and barren. This classification does not include
reserves, because specific economic parameters'are not considered. In the following definitions, the threshold (zo) will
refer to a grade value that separates mineralization from
barren or ore from waste.

Measured: This category of resource potential refers to

those whose presence has been confirmed directly by a
previous drilling. The average grades are not less than a
predefined threshold (zo) The spatial extent is confined
within the ranges of spatial influence.
Indicated: This category refers to those blocks that contain resource potentials with grades exceeding a predefined
threshold. The grade values, however, are less certain for a
required level ofconfidence. These blocks must be localized
in favorable geological environments, but they are located
beyond the influence of existing drill holes.
Possible: This category refers to the blocks having grades
potentially exceeding a predefined threshold. These blocks
must be localized in favorable geological environments, but
they are located beyond the influence of existing drill holes.
Barren: This category is self-explanatory. It includes all
blocks other than measured, indicated and possible resource
Evidently, there is no need to verify the blocks containing
measured resources. Moreover, new drill holes will not be
placed in the blocks that are classified as barren. Infill drill
holes are only designated to the blocks that contain the
potentials of indicated and maybe possible resources.
Although geological environments are key for defining
potential and nonpotential blocks, separation between the
measured and indicated categories requires the information
of uncertainties in grade estimation within mineralization
envelopes. The blocks close to known drill holes are more
statistically certain than those that are far away from the
holes. Quantifying the uncertainty of grade. in fact, is also a
key to the optimal design of infill drilling plans.
Because metal gradedistributionsare typically stochastic,
so are the potentials of a block. Hence, a block that is
classified as measured potentials has a high probability for
the occurrence of measured resources. If the block happens to

be intercepted by a drill hole with grades greater than a

predefined threshold, the block is almost surely in the measured category.
In addition, infill drilling may constitute multiple phases.
For example, the first phase verifies the continuity of mineralization within major ore zones; the second phase may be
conducted to expand the ore deposit by drilling out fringe
areas; and the third phase may verify high-grade zones,
which can exert an inordinate impact on subsequent mine
designs. The multiple phases may also be motivated by the
optimization of investment in the sequence of exploration
programs. The decision of investment in a later exploration
stage is based on the economic expectation of the deposits
delineated in the earlier phases.

Theoretical development
For a given set of drill holes, sample assays, together with
geological log information, form the data base for infill
drilling designs. In this analysis, three attributes are fundamental:
grade assay Z(x),
indicator lo(x; zo) (for ore or mineralization depending
on the definition of zo), and
geological favorability function G(x).
Here, zo is either a cutoff for ore and waste, or a threshold
for mineralization and barren, depending on the purpose of
infill drilling. The former may be derived from mine plans,
based on expected economic and engineering conditions,
whereas the later is determined exclusively through geological and statistical interpretation. Function G, called the
favorability of geology function, is constructed from a set of
selected geological attributes relevant to the mineralization
of interest.
The first step necessary for infill drilling designs is to
establish favorable geological envelopes, within which the
potentials of blocks are classified. Therefore, G(x) is used to
filter out nonpotential blocks in infill drilling programs. Io(x;
zo) is used to define ore or mineralization envelopes inside
favorable geological environments. A necessary condition
for the resource potentials of a block is that the block must be
located inside a mineralization envelope. Similarly, a necessary condition for a block tocontain reserves is that the block
must be located inside an ore envelope.

Favorable geological envelopes. In general, geological

attributes available for a sparsely drilled deposit usually
include lithology, hydrothermal alteration and structures.
Each of these features may play different roles in the formation of different deposits. Indeed, ores, particularly of precious metals, are frequently found in complex geological
environments, which can be fully explained only by the
synthesis of all relevant geological attributes.
Lithology is usually recorded by rock types. Some of them
are hosts, while others are wall rocks. Similarly, alteration is
reported by alteration types, some of which are favorable to
the mineralization of interest. Structure attributes (including
faults, fractures and folds) are difficult to quantify, although
their favorability to the mineralization can be readily judged
by an expert geologist. The attributes for lithology and
alteration are obtained from well logging, whereas structural
features are usually derived from geological interpretation
and mapping.

Because the number ol recorded gcological attributes can

be large, a selection of important oncs is dcnianding for
construction o f t'avorablc gcological envelopes. The
iavorability of an attribute may be adequately assessed by
qualitative judgment. A rigorous selection method, howevcr.
can lead to a Inorc precise evaluation. The attributes rnay hc
ranked according to their relative irllportancc lo the mineralization. for cxal-riplc, by mcans 0 1 some statistical techniques, such as the wcight ol'evidcnce ( Bonhi~rl~-C'artcr
et itl.,
1988; Agtcrberg, 1991J.
Supposc that geological attrihutt. arc binary with valuc
" I " for presence and "0" for absence. Let J he a geological
indicator. The a priori odds lilr the occurrence oimincralizalion ( l o ) is calculatc~lhy
with io the sarr~plemcasurcment of I,,. Then a posterior odds
can be cxpresscd as
wilh j the san~plcmeasurement 01' J , and

Hence, the postcrior probability ol'mineralization. condilional upon the presence ofthe gcological indicator, is given
In practice. the followingposteriorprohabilitics arc calculated
Finally. calculate the quantity
where c(iolj) is the contrast of' the posterior probabilities.
Based on this quantity, the importance ot' gcological
binary attributes can be ranked with respect to indicator I().
For each category of gcological data (e.g.. lithology), the
attributes (e.g.. rock types) are ranked by their posterior
probabilities. Take lithology as an example. 1x1J, (k = 1 , 2.
... m) be the n~ lithological binary indicators anti their
postcrior contrasts are CLdefined in Eq. (3). Assume that the
rank sequcncc isC, >C,> ... >C,,,. A subset ofthc Iithological
indicators arc selected by the criterion that the posterior
probabilities cxcccd a prcselccted probability threshold. For
convcnicncc, assurllc that thc first s indicators are selected. A
combined lithology indicator is then created as:

K,(x) = max{J,, J,, ... , Js)


In the xanlc manner. cu~nbincdalteration and structure

indicator..; arc constructed. They arc denoted by K2 and Ki,
Consider the cstirnation ol'a geological favorability valuc
at estimation point xo by the following linear cornbination
(see Pan. 1993j



I,= (la,,la2,l a 3 ) T ia~vector of unknown coefficients for the

three geological indicators at location x,.
An optimal estimate of the favorability function is that
representing best the variability ofmineralization. Hence, the
goal is to find optimal coefficients I,, such that function G
best describes I(, (mineralization indicator) in the sense
min{var[G*<xo) - Io(xo)]}


with [he constraint


The condition reduces one degree of freedom in the

parameter search space, but it makes the estimates of the
unknown parameters more robust.
The estimation in Eq. (5) can be derived by favorability
analysis. ith her canonical or indicator favorability estimators
(Pan and Harris, 1992; Pan, 1993) can be used to obtain G*.
The indicator favorability estimator will be used in the casc
study presented in a later section.
Similar to kriging, block estimates of lhvorability can be
calculated as follows:

wherc v is the volurnc of the block.

The average in Eq. (8) can be approximated numerically
by the average of a finite number of point favorability
estimates computed at selected locations within v.
Implementation of indicator favorability analysis requires
modeling o f a set of ordinary and cross variograms between
gcological and mineralization indicators. Methods available
for cross-variograrn modeling include linearcoregionalization
(Journcl and Buijbregts, 1978; Goovaerts, 1994) and
variable-sum method (Myers, 1982). The use of the model
nlay involve extensive computations, but the workload is
afk)rdable for a system including only a few geological
The estimate oiG(v) for block v represents the quantity ol'
favorable geological environments with respect to lo. The
connection of these block estimates will form the so-called
I'avorablegeological envelopes. within which infill drilling is
designed. A preselected favorability threshold (go) is required to delineate geological envelopes.
Mineralization and ore envelopes. Mineralization and
ore envelopes arc defined conditional upon the presence of
the favorable geological zones. Based on known drill hole
samples or composites, it is straightforward to establish the
point distribution of grade. However, an additional effort is
required toestablish the distribution of block values. Because
thccvent of a blockoccurring insideoroutside of an cnvclope
is probabilistic, modeling mineralization and ore envelopes
must call for probability methods.
To establish the envelopes, indicator kriging is adopted to
produce the probabilistic estimates (P*) of indicator lo. The
use of indicator kriging here is similar to that in Pan ( 1 994).
Ore bodies are defined by geological, mining and processing
parameters. Mineralization is delineated through a grade
threshold and geological controls. Some deposits exhibit
clear cuts between mineraliz.ation and wall rocks, while
others do not have visible boundaries. Minerali~ationenvelopes forthe deposits withsharp boundariescan bedefined by
geological constraints. Mineralization envelopes of disscmiSOCIETY FOR MINING, METALLURGY. AND EXPLORATION. INC

nated deposits are more of a function

of threshold grade, rather t han clear-cut
geological limits.
In general, ore envelopes do not
have a clear contrast to the surrounding rocks, because they are mainly
determined by economic factors,rather
than geological constraints. When the
economics change, the cutoff changes
and so does the ore envelopes. The
purpose of defining ore or mineralization envelopes is to determine blocks
that may contain the indicated reSectional View of Three Envelopes
sources. These blocks are the top targets in designing infill drilling plans.
The status of a block (inside or
outside of the envelopes) can be evaluA 2 A
ated by means of indicator kriging
(Journey 1983).Indicator kriging on a
single indicator (either ore indicator or
mineralization indicator) serves for the
purpose. Nevertheless, it is useful to
use both indicators in defining the envelopes. Although the two indicators
can be cokriged, it is much easier to
krige them separately.
Mineralization Envelope
Ore Envelope
Delineating mineralization and ore
envelopes for threshold z, requires a
Plan View of Three Envelopes
known probability threshold p,. Although these thresholds may be statisFig. 2 - Sectional and plan views for spatial relations of geological, mineralizationand ore
tically defined. map comparisons are
straightforward and reliable. The key
is to consider all relevant maps superimposed upon the block probability map. The threshold is
P*(x) 2 p,
determined on the basis of the match between probability and
G*(x) < g,
drill hole assay maps.

n n n

n n n n

Block classification and infill drilling. In addition to the

envelopes defined above, we also need to estimate block
potentials and uncertainties by ordinary kriging (OK). The
OK-grade estimate [Z*(x)] represents resource potentials,
whereas estimation variance (s2,J offers a measure for the
reliability of grade estimates. The combination of the two
quantities serves as an important criterion to the evaluation of
resource potentials.
In sum, favorability estimates define the favorable geological zones based on threshold go,whereas indicator krigi ng
estimates determine the mineralization or ore envelopes by
p,. Moreover, ordinary kriging estimates quantify the grade
potentials and uncertainties of the grades. Figure 2 sketches
the relations among the different envelopes. Let so be a
preselected threshold for estimation variance. The categories
of resource potentials may be quantitatively described as
P*(x) 2 p,
Z*(X)2 z,
s2',,(x) < s2,
P*(x) 2 p,
Z*(x) 2 z,
s2,,(x) 2 s2,,
G* (x) 2 g,

The focus of infill drilling is those blocks containing the

indicated resources, because they are translatable into measured resources. These blocks may contain ores with grades
exceeding the economic cutoff, but their grade values are yet
to be verified. The secondary interest of infill drilling aims at
the blocks in the possible category, some of which are
potentially convertible to the measured or indicated resources.
In addition to the classification of mineral potentials, the
spatial influence of a drill hole must be established in order
to select drill hole locations. For intill drilling, the major and
minor axes are sufficient for measuring the ranges of influence. Figure 3 sketches the relations of anisotropic ranges of
influence and drill-hole locations.
Suppose that the infill drilling is designed along the major
axis of mineralization trends. Let do and d l be the major and
minor ranges of influence by each drill hole for the mineral! denote the point-set containized grades. Furthermore, let 2
ing all known drill-hole locations. Define the block-set as
where x is the center of a block.
By definition, the blocks in F have been supposedly
"verified" by existing drill holes. That is, these blocks will be
excluded from consideration of furtherdrilling. The blocksin
Fare i n the measured category if the grades exceed threshold

Existing Drill Hole


Influence Range

Potential lnfill Drill Hole Locations

Fig. 3 - Sectional view of the influence ranges of drillholes and potential infill drillhole locations.

",,and if the block is insidc an orc or mineralization envelope.

Consider the blocks as being potential canditlates lo be
drilled. Let A be the set of all block in the model, i.c.

where Fc is the complementary set of F.
Furthermore, dcfine a set containing the blocks with
resource potentials bascd on the geological fiivorability estimates:

Y = {v(x)lG*(v) > go, v

F C}

Then, define a subset of Y h r the blocks with the potcntials of indicated or possible resources:

3, = {v(x)lP*(v) > p,,, v


Moreover, define a subsel of 'nofor the blocks containing
the indicated resources:

Set Y contains all blocks that are located within the

favorable geological environments. Set 9Io contains the targets of indicatcd resources as well as the exploration potentials of possible resources. Set %I only contains the blocks of
thc indicatcd category; they are the top candidates in infill
drilling plans. In principle, an infill drill hole should be
assigned to a volume having a minimum of one block that
contains the indicated resource potentials. It is worthwhile to
note. however, that the decision process is not a black box.
Other conditions should be taken into account, for example,
the position of the blocks (internal or edge). In general, the
entire design process should be conducted in an iterative
manner. The blocks containing the indicated resource potentials are drilled first. Then, a new round of study is performed
using both the previous information and the new drill-hole
data. Sometimes a third round of analysis might he necessary
to complete the infill drilling.

The ranges of influence, do and d l , by a drill hole are

important factors in choosing drill locations. Drill-hole patterns are designed in sectional maps parallel to the major
trends of deposit. The final pattern should be examined in
plan maps and may be adjusted if necessary. The average
distanceof the drill holes along the major trend should not be
less than 2do. The width of the sectional map should be
approximately equal to 2d,. The methodology described
above is summarized in Fig. 4.

Case demonstration
A case study is given to demonstrate the use of the
methodology for the in fill drill ing-design proposed in this
paper. The method was applied to a gold deposit of the
Carlin-type in northern Nevada. The deposit was delineated
by a previous drilling program, including 54 holes with
approximately 230 ft of averaged drill hole spacing. The task
is to design an infill drilling program that determines the
measured resources for the subsequent detailed mine development.

Deposit geology. The region is dominantly comprised of

a complex sequence of upper-plate western facies lithologics. The lower plate, locally exposed, is the host of gold. The
marked lithofacies transition between the upper and lower
plates is expressed by the classic positioning of the Roberts
Mountains thrust. The lower plate includes two major formations: the Robert Mountains formation and the Hanson Creek
formation. The movement of low-angle structures has been
observed along [he contact between the two formations
(Birak, 1986).
Gold is hosted within carbonaceous and pyrite limestones
o f ' ~ hOrdovician
Hanson Creek formation and as well within
thc carbonaceous, silty, pyrite calcareous horizons of the
Devonian-Silurian Roberts Mountains formation. The
lithofacies play acrucial role in controlling the localization of


Input Data

Indicator Fav.

A ftributes







Target Reserves
& Resources


Ranges of Major
& Minor Axes

Ore Indicator


Gold Grade

Fig, 4 -The

Drill Hole Location

Points Set

Average Grade
& Est. Variance

work-flow diagram showing major components of the methodology for the optimal design of infill drilling patterns.

ore. However, overall gold distributions

are determined by structural characteristics. Ores are best developed where structure cuts receptive lithofacies, allowing
access for mineralizing solutions. FOI&
appear to be key for fluid focusing. Structural intersection allowed for localized
high-grade mineralization.
The mineralization is quite continuous
throughoutthedeposit, although high-grade
ores are clearly discrete, exhibiting isolated pods along the major structural contacts. The high-grade pods are generally
associated with structural intersections or
intrusive dikes.

Table 1 - Posterior probability contrasts for rock types and alteration types.
Rock type
Alteration type


Upper Plate formation
Robert Mountain formation
Intrusives, e.g. dikes
Hanson Creek formation i - iii
Breciated lower plate rocks
Carbonaceous alteration


Wt. (+)

-0.01 1

Wt. (+)
0.1 12

Wt. (-)

Wt. (-)


Modeling geological envelopes. First.

the threshold of mineralization, zo = 0.02, was determined
frorn the cumulative probability plot of the original 5-ftinterval gold assays. The mineralization indicator, lo, was
then created with "I" for grades greater than 0.02 ozlt and " 0
for grades less than 0.02 oz11.
Based on well-logging data, rock codes and alteration
codes were quantified. Each of these items represents a
binary indicator with "1" for presence and " 0 for absence.
Using the weight of evidence method described early, the
items in each category were ranked according to their posteriorcontrasts, as summarized in Table 1.The ranked order for
rock lype is:
The first three items were chosen and then combined into
a rock code binary indicator, i.e.

The set of the rock items selected above is consistent to

geological controls. The weight of evidence was also applied
to alteration types. The ranked order of the alteration items by
their posterior contrasts is:

From this sequence, three alteration items are chosen for

further analysis. Similar to rock types, they create the following combined alteration-type indicator:

K, = max{a13,al, al,]
Variables K , and K re resent, respectively, a combined
binary favorable geolog~calfactor and a combined binary
favorable alteration factor. Structural data were not available
in quantitative forms. Therefore, modeling of the favorable

Fig. 5 -Two consecutive EW section maps showing classified block types and proposed infill drillhole locations (3=measured, 2=indicated,
l=possible and O=barren).

geological cnvclopc\ is perforrlicd only on the hu\is ol' thc

indicator, 11, was crcatcd with a valuc assignment 01'" I " for
rock and alteration code\.
thc gradc exceeding thc cutoff and "0''othcrwisc.
Toprocccd favorability analysis. a sctol variograrns wcrc
In the ncxt step, two ordinary variogr~irnswcrc modeled to
modcled, inclucling two ordinary \,ariogra~n\li)r the two
conduct indicator kriging on thc mineralization indicator and
gcological indicators and rhrcc cross variogran~sfor all pairs
orc indicator. For each variable, samplc variograrns were
of the thrcc indicators ( K , . K, and lo). Samplc variograms
calculated along three directions sclectcd by geology. 'The
werc calculated in lhc dircclions bascd on gcological judgthrcc-tlirncnsional variogram modcls wcre thcn conslructed
menl. The thrcc-dimensional variogram modcls wcre then
l'rom thc samplc oncs. All lhc variogram modcls arc of singlc
derived from the samples oncs. All variogram niodcls are of
sphcrical typc. The parameters arc shown in Tahlc 3.
[he singlc spherical typc. The puramclers arc sumn~arizcdi n
Sub,equcntly, The two thrcc-dimensional block models,
Table 2.
one for the mincrali~ationindicaror and the other for the ore
A thrcc-di~ncnsionalblock model with the I)lock s i x o f 50
indicator, wcre dcvcloped by indicator kriging. Two probby SO by 20 fl was thcn c.rcalcd I)y the indicator llivorahility
abilities werc assigned tocach block to represent rhe proporanalysis. A geological Iivorability v a l ~ ~<;(x).
c , was assigned
tions of Lhc materials Por thresholds zo and 7 / . The intcrpolato thc ccntcr ofcach block. Thc cstlmatc W;I\ calculated hy
lion was based on dilatcd scarch ellipsoids.
using thc ncarhy samples includetl within the search cllipAccordingly, two probability thrcsholds werc selected.
soid, which was artilicially dilarcd in ortlcr to I'ill i n all blocks
one tor thc ~nincralizationcnvclnpcs and the other for thc ore
insidc the drillctl area.
Finally. determine a threshold I N
Table 2 - Variogram parameters of geological
the favorable geological envelopes. Tho
threshold go = 0.15 was sclcctcd
Variable Nugget
through thc stack of I'avorahilily and
drill-hole sectional maps, bccause this
value closely marks {he boundaries of
the favorable rock types along the tlrill

1 pi-p

Modeling mineralized and ore

envelopes. Fororc cnvelopcs, the grade
curoff, z, = 0.053 oz/l, was dctcrmincd
by expectcd economic paramctcrs and
minc plans. With ~ h ccutoff. thc ore


Table 3 - Variogram parameters of mineralization and ore indicators















Original Holes

lnfill Holes

200 Feet

Fig. 6 - Plan map showing proposed infill drillhole locations together with the existing drillholes.

envelopes. 'This was done through map comparisons. The

mineralization probability threshold pa = 0.42 was the value
that marks closely the match between the block probability of
the mineralization indicator and the grades (2 zo = 0.02 ozlt)
on the drill-hole maps. Similarly. the ore probability threshold P, = 0.55 was the value that marks the match between the
block probability of the ore indicator and the grades ( 2 z, =
0.053 ozlt) on the drill-hole maps. Figure 5 shows two
consecutive sectional maps containing the geological, minerali~ationand ore envelopes.

Infill drilling design. Based on the estimates G*, P* and

Z*,each block is classified on one of the categories defined

in a previous section. Of course, the definition also depends
on the threshold values go = 0.35, p, = 0.42, and p, = 0.55. The
class of the block is coded into the following patterns:

designed within 110 ft between sections. When blocks are

outside the influence ranges, they would be drilled by infill
holes if their potential types are coded "2" or "1." Figure 5
shows two consecutive section maps on which the existing
holes are plotted together with the proposed infill holes.
Fifteen sections were examined across the deposit, resulting
in a total of 36 infill holes within the deposit. The new holes
together with the original ones are shown in Fig. 6.
Note that the infill drill-hole locations in the final plan map
may not be identical to those indicated on the sectional maps.
The main reason is that some locations were shifted a little bit
around the designed points, because some of these are specified as angle holes. Some of the shifts also represent the fact
that the patterns designed on sectional maps did not depict
three-dimensional pictures of the whole deposit.

Concluding remarks
3 for measured;
2 for indicated:
1 for possible; and
0 for barren.
Sometimes, variogram modeling may not yield desirable
results for the range of influence. because of sparse drilling.
If so, a qualitative judgment based on the deposit characteristics is necessary for the selection of do and d,. The major
axis in this deposit is in the EW direction with the range
approximately equal to do = 70 ft. The minor axis in the
direction of NS has a range of d , = 55 ft.
The infill drilling was designed by sectional maps along
the EW direction. The blocks within 70 ft of the existing holes
were not considered for infill drilling. Infill holes were not

Infill drilling is a crucial step for mine development of a

deposit that is roughly delineated by a sparse drilling program. Conventionally, infill drilling patterns are designed
primarily by regular-grid methods, which are inefficient,
because the information acquired from previous exploration
efforts may not be fully utilized. In this paper, a geostatistical
approach is proposed for infill drilling design. The method,
based on favorability analysis, indicator kriging and ordinary
kriging, provides a means of synthesizing all data collected
from previous drilling campaigns. Rock and alteration codes
are typical geological data available when infill drilling is
designed. These data provide a precursor for the favorable
geological environments, within which infill drilling is evaluated. Indicator favorability theory is used to determine the

lavorahlc geological block\.

The hasi5 ol' the ncw methodology is a classil'ication
framcwork of rcsourcc potentials. Thc ihllowing k)ur types
ol' potentials arc nanicd: m c ~ ~ s u r cindicated,
possihlc. and
barren. I f a hlock is c1assil'icd as thc mcasurcd resources, i t
will he cxcludetl I'rom the consideration of inrill drilling.
Inl'ill drilling locuscs on the hlocks containing Ihc indicatcd
resources. Ifa hlock contain5 [he possihlc resources. it will hc
considcred as the sccontlarq targets in inl'ill drilling. Barren
hlocks. of course, arc not considcrcd hy ini'ill drilling.
The conccpl ol' mincralizalion envelopes i \ crucial for
drilling design. hccause i t adds decisive rule hy which the
potcntial of:^ hlock is judgctl. A hloch will not he c o n i d c r c d
as an infill drilling location i l ' i l i \ outsidc the mineralization
cnvclopes constructed hascd or1 the minerali/:~~ion
Whcn the hlock i \ inside a mincral envelope. its potential
status is I'urthcr dccitlcd by building up the ore envelopes,
which offer anolher control o n Ihc potentials ol'hlochs. Ore
cnvclopcs nrcdelincatcd on the hahis o f a higher grade cutol'l'.
A hloch ia considered h ~ ~ v i nthe
g indicated rcsourcc potentials only if it is locali~crlinside
ore envclopc. Both
nrincraliration and ore c n v e I ~ p c arc
\ dclineatetl l ~ yindicator
Another important concept lor inl'ill drilling is the range of
influence hy adrill hole. This provides a rule i f a hlock should
hc included in the sct o l ' p o ~ c n ~ i alocations
to hc drilled. It is
rcconimcnded that infill drilling he dcsigricd along sectiorial
maps parallel to the major axis oSrni~~cr:~li/ation
trends. The
final drill-hole patterns are reconciliated in plan rnaps.


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