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Faulted Geological Model Simulation of the Resolution Porphyry Copper Deposit

G Verly 1 , K Brisebois 2 , W Hart 3 and J Hammitt 4

ABSTRACT

A significant portion of the risk in a mining operation is tied to the geologic model that is being used to constrain the resource and reserve estimates. Yet little has been published on geological model simulation in the mining industry, perhaps because the original geologic setting has often been disturbed by metasomatism and tectonism, making it often difficult to interpret and simulate. One general method to realistically simulate the geology consists of first establishing a priority ranking of the geological features and then simulating them one at a time. This can be done by starting with the interpreted outlines or shapes and incorporating the uncertainties as specified by the geologist during the simulation process. Two steps that could be part of this methodology are considered in this paper: simulation of fault surfaces, and simulation of layered rock types within the simulated faulted blocks. The algorithm consists of a series of sequential Gaussian simulations that are merged together after various rescaling to account for non-stationary uncertainties. A detailed description of the procedure is given. Examples of results obtained on a porphyry-style copper deposit are provided.

INTRODUCTION

A significant portion of the risk in a mining operation or study is tied to the geological model that is being used to provide domains for mineral resource and reserve estimation and/or conditional simulation. Simulating the geology is a common procedure in the petroleum industry but is rather the exception in the mining industry. Perhaps one reason is that the original geological setting of a mineral deposit has often been disturbed by metasomatism and tectonism, making realistic simulations of the geology difficult to produce. Some of the methods that can be used to simulate different aspects of the geology are boolean modelling (de Fouquet et al, 1989), indicator simulation (Alabert, 1987), plurigaussian simulation (Armstrong et al, 2003), probability field with local means (Srivastava, 2005) and potential field (Chiles et al, 2007).

The case considered in this paper is the Resolution porphyry-style Cu-Mo deposit, located in Arizona, USA. The deposit is deep and sparsely drilled. The geological interpretation is complex and contains faults, metamorphosed rocks of sedimentary origin, intrusions, breccias and alteration assembl- ages. One general method to realistically simulate such complex geology consists of establishing a priority ranking for each of the geological features and simulating them one at a time, starting with the interpreted outlines or shapes and incorporating the uncertainties as specified by the geologist (Verly, Bridebois and Hart, 2008). Details on how to simulate a fault block model together with faulted rock types are presented in this paper along with some results.

  • 1. AMEC, Suite 400, 111 Dunsmuir Street, Vancouver BC V6B 5W3, Canada. Email: georges.verly@amec.com

  • 2. AMEC, 780 Vista Boulevard, Sparks NV 89434, USA. Email: ken.brisebois@amec.com

  • 3. Resolution Copper Mining, LLC 102 Magma Heights, Superior AZ 85273, USA. Email: william.hart@riotinto.com

  • 4. MAusIMM, Geologist, Kennecott Exploration Company, Rio Tinto, 224 North 2200 West, Salt Lake City UT 84116, USA. Email: jay.hammitt@riotinto.com

Deposit geology

GEOLOGY

The Resolution Cu-Mo deposit is late-Cretaceous to early- Tertiary in age and is hosted within a buried, fault-bounded sequence of Paleozoic and Precambrian sedimentary strata, Precambrian diabase sills and Cretaceous-aged layered volcaniclastic and siliciclastic rocks. Host strata are faulted and have been intruded by porphyry bodies of late Cretaceous age. Mineralised breccia bodies have also been identified, with some being spatially related to faults and porphyry intrusions (Hammitt and Ballantyne, 2007). The mineralised rocks are buried unconformably beneath a 1000 m to 1500 m thick sequence of barren sediments and volcanic rocks of Tertiary age. Figure 1 shows a plan view and two vertical sections of a portion of the 2007 geological interpretation.

Fault interpretation and uncertainty assessment

Figure 2 illustrates a common method used by geologists for the identification of simple block bounding faults where folding is assumed to be minimal, using a distinctive lithologic ‘marker’ intersected in multiple drill holes (eg a formation contact).

Stage 1

Distinctive lithologic marker intercepts in each drill hole are visually identified in section view (red symbols) and grouped based on their apparent relative degree of colinearity (or coplanarity).

Stage 2

A 2D marker horizon is interpreted and constructed, defined by a smooth line (red dashes) connecting all controlling data points for the marker within each geometric grouping. Zones of abrupt and significant changes in position (eg elevation) between different segments are suspected locations for fault displacement. Fault planes are then interpreted and constructed within these suspect zones based on numerous geological principles including:

observed apparent

sense of displacement

of the marker

horizon;

actual fault intercepts in one or more drill holes (‘true snap points’);

typical fault geometries observed nearby on surface or in underground workings; and

fault geometries predicted by well-established structural and tectonic field studies within a similar geologic terrane, or predicted by laboratory experiments on rock.

Stage 3

The spatial uncertainties of faults are assessed purely by distance from controlling data points. Multiple fault snap points that are spatially aligned may greatly reduce the uncertainty of a given fault interpretation. Simple surfaces are then constructed that define the limits of all permissible fault positions (blue dashed lines).

G VERLY et al

E=206 N=1006 E=206 High Cu Shell N=1006
E=206 N=1006
E=206
N=1006
E=206 High Cu Shell N=1006
E=206
High Cu Shell
N=1006

FIG 1 - Plan view and vertical sections through the geological interpretation. The black dots on the plan view indicate the drill hole intercepts.

G VERLY et al E=206 N=1006 E=206 High Cu Shell N=1006 F IG 1 - Plan

FIG 2 - Diagram illustrating the methodology for the interpretation of simple faults (Stage 2, solid blue lines) in section and plan view, using only lithologic markers intersected in irregularly-spaced or widely-spaced drill holes (Stages 1 and 2). Stage 3 illustrates the potential degree of spatial uncertainty (orange polygons) inherent in the resulting fault model where all possible fault positions and or ientations have equal probability (dashed blue lines).

FAULTED GEOLOGICAL MODEL SIMULATION OF THE RESOLUTION PORPHYRY COPPER DEPOSIT

Faulted layered rock type interpretation and uncertainty assessment

As described in the previous section on fault interpretation, the boundaries for the Faulted Rock Types (layered rocks) are interpreted and constructed on sections or in three dimensions by first identifying the controlling drill hole data points for each major stratigraphic horizon, and then constructing smooth lines, polygons, or surfaces that pass through these controlling points and enclose lithologically distinct domains. As with the faults, every attempt is made to honor established geological principles of stratigraphy. The resultant interpreted domains for the Faulted Rock Types are then modelled as triangulations. Based on existing information from both drilling and surface mapping, analysis of the geological interpretation is performed far from drill hole intercepts – the limit of variation for the vertical position of domain boundaries was assessed to be ±30 m. For thickness, the limit of variation was assessed as ±20 per cent of the interpreted thickness.

FAULT MODEL SIMULATION

Seven faults defining eleven fault blocks have to be simulated. The general procedure consists in simulating one fault at a time as a 2D surface and flagging a 3D grid accordingly. The seven 3D grids corresponding to the seven faults are then merged together using the proper priorities. Each 2D surface simulation is constrained within a variable and asymmetrical uncertainty band- width assessed by the geologist. The simulation methodology is further described below and is illustrated in Figures 3 and 4.

For each of the 7 faults Step 1: Pre-simulation processing

1a) Get original fault information:

 

-

Fault surface (triangulation) Drape the fault surface (dense grid)

-

Uncertainty information (series of points with 2 max. distances from

 

interpretation)

 

-

Snap points

1b) Get fault plane + offsets:

 
 

-

Work out approximate fault plane

-

Work out fault surface offsets from fault plane (draped grid)

1c) Rotate the fault information:

 
 

-

Work out rotation to bring the fault plane to horizontal

-

Rotate the offset information

-

Rotate the uncertainty information

-

Rotate the snap points

1d) Grid the rotated fault information:

 

-

2D horizontal grids

-

Grid the offsets and the uncertainties

Step 2: 2D simulation

 

2a) 2D stationary simulation, conditional to snap points

2b) Rescale the simulation to account for variable uncertainty

2c) Add the offsets

100 rotated fault surfaces

Step 3: 3D simulation

3a) Rotate the 3D grid to be simulated 3b) Flag the rotated grid nodes

- Flag as above/below the simulated surfaces

-

Flag as above/below the simulated surfaces

100 fault simulations coded as 0/1 3D grids

Merge the simulated 3D grids

Merge grids with proper priorities 100 simulated fault grids, 7 faults / 11 fault blocks per realisation

FIG 3 - Faulted model simulation process.

Presimulation work

The available information for one fault consists of the fault surface, the uncertainty information and three snap points for one fault. The fault surface is modelled as a triangulation. The uncertainty information is provided as a series of locations on the fault surface with two maximum possible envelopes, one on each side of the fault. The spacing between the locations is about 500 m × 500 m. In a first step, the fault triangulation surface is sampled on a dense grid using a draping technique. The approximate plane of the fault is identified, and the normal offsets of the fault surface

to the plane are calculated. These kinds of manipulations are readily available in several resource modelling packages. Note that the offset terminology is used for the distance from the interpreted fault surface to the fault plane. It is not the displacement of the fault as in normal geological parlance.

The fault plane is rotated to the horizontal. The coordinates of the fault information (surface offsets from the plane, uncertainty and snap points) are similarly rotated. The reason for the rotation is that most 2D simulation algorithms do not handle 2D planes of any orientation. Furthermore, the post-simulation grid manip- ulations are simplified in the rotated space. After rotation, the fault surface offsets are vertical distances from the horizontal plane. Because the angle of the fault surface with the fault plane at any location is always small, the maximum possible offsets at the recorded uncertainty locations are assumed to be vertical after rotation. The fault surface is clipped by the other faults. Different realisations will result in different clipping. To avoid gaps between the simulated fault blocks, the simulated 2D grid needs to be extended sufficiently beyond the extent of the rotated interpreted fault surface. The rotated fault surface offsets and the vertical uncertainties are estimated on a dense 2D grid (Step 1d, Figure 3). For the offsets, the estimation method does not matter much as the ‘draped’ information is very dense. This information, however, was available only on the clipped fault surface and was estimated within the rotated outline of the surface. The estimated values had to be extended to the limit of the 2D horizontal grid. For the uncertainty, the available points are much farther apart and ordinary kriging was used with a spherical model with no nugget and very long ranges. Inverse distance could have been used as well. No extensions were necessary because the information was available for unclipped surfaces. Figure 5 shows the estimated uncertainties on one side

of one fault.

Simulation

The rotated fault simulation is achieved in three steps:

  • 1. conditional simulation of standard normal scores,

  • 2. rescaling the simulated normal scores to account for the non-stationary and asymmetric uncertainty bandwidth, and

  • 3. adding the offsets to the rescaled normal scores.

The conditional simulation is sequential Gaussian. A unit-sill Gaussian variogram model with no nugget effect and a 1000 m isotropic range has been used to ensure a very smooth surface. The 1000 m range was chosen after some experimentation. At this stage, 100 realisations of ‘standardised’ fault surface deviations are available. Theoretically, the 100 simulated values at a given location are standard normally distributed except within the zone

of influence of a snap point. The simulated values of one

realisation should also be standard normally distributed if the surface extent is very large with respect to the variogram range. Figure 6 shows the validation statistics for one fault surface. The top left histogram (a) shows that the mean simulated value is very close to zero as expected, whereas the standard deviation of a given realisation is on average 0.66, which is lower than 1. This is due to three snapping points that significantly reduce the possible fluctuations and also due to the extent of the simulation being not very large with respect to the 1000 m variogram range. The bottom left graph (c) indicates that the variogram is reproduced by the simulation even though significant fluctuations are observed from one realisation to the next (d). Alfaro (2008) notes that wild variogram fluctuations between realisations are to be expected because the Gaussian variogram is not microergodic. The probability plots (b) of the realisations are not straight lines because the variances are less than one.

A local rescaling of the simulated normal scores is needed to account for the non-stationary uncertainty. If the uncertainty was

G VERLY et al

1) Rotate a) Fault 4) Flag rotated 3D grid F 1 2) Create dense 2D grid
1) Rotate
a) Fault
4) Flag rotated 3D grid
F 1
2) Create dense 2D grid
3) Simulate fault in 2D
a)
simulate deviations
b)
Fault
rescale deviations to account
for the uncertainty
Plane
c)
add fault offsets
F 1
Horizontal
b) 3D grid
5) Rotate back the grid
F 1
F 2
F 1
F 2
6) Merge
grids
with
+
=
proper
priorities

FIG 4 - Faulted model simulation main steps.

Rotated Fault -- Fault SE Side Uncertainty 400 600 800 1000 1200 1600 1800 2000 2200
Rotated Fault -- Fault SE Side Uncertainty
400
600
800
1000
1200
1600
1800
2000
2200
2400
2600
14 40
40
49 74
202
34
4
6 14
30
17 77
206
46 40
51
37
104
281
400
600
800
1000
1200
1600
1800
2000
2200
2400
2600
Along Strike
Uncertainty (m)
3D Grid / Fault Intersept
"Samples"
"Snap Points"
0.
250.
Down-Dip
1000
800
600
400
200
0
-200
Down-Dip
-200
0
200
400
600
800
1000

FIG 5 - Gridded uncertainty on one side of the fault after rotation.

symmetrical on each side of the fault, the rescaling factor at a given location would be a third of the maximum distance estimated for the uncertainty at that location – meaning that the standard deviation of the rescaled simulated normal scores is a third of the maximum distance. This ensures that approximately 99.75 per cent of the simulated fluctuations are within ± the specified maximum (± 3 standard deviations). Simulated fluctuations outside that interval are reset to the maximum distance. The uncertainty at a given location, however, is asymmetrical, and two rescaling factors are used, depending on the sign of the simulated normal scores. The distribution of the rescaled simulated normal scores consists of the halves of two normal distributions with same zero mean but different standard deviations. The two standard deviations are one third of the maximum possible distances at that location. Figure 7 shows an example of such a distribution with 10 m and 15 m ‘standard deviations’, corresponding to maximum fluctuations of -30 m and +45 m, respectively. Note that the mean of the resulting distribution is not zero anymore.

One hundred realisations of fluctuations around the fault interpretation are available at this stage. Figure 8 shows one section with the trace of one rotated fault interpretation (red line at deviation = 0), the maximum possible deviations (blue lines on top and bottom) and 20 realisations of the simulated fluctuations

(grey lines). Note that the offsets from the horizontal have not yet

  • 1400 been added, which is why the interpreted fault trace lies at deviation = 0. The final simulation step is adding the fault offsets onto the rescaled fault fluctuations, resulting in 100 rotated simulated fault surfaces on a dense 2D grid. Post-simulation work Two sets of coordinates of the simulated available:

3D grid

nodes are

  • 1. original unrotated, and

  • 2. rotated as per the fault rotation.

  • 1400 The second set of coordinates is used to flag the rotated grid as

above or below the simulated rotated fault, which is equivalent to

flagging the original grid as one or the other side of the un- rotated fault. The previous steps – presimulation work, simulation, 3D grid flagging – are repeated for each fault. When this is completed, seven simulated 0/1 fault indicator grids are available, with 100 realisations each. The final simulated fault block model is obtained by merging the seven individual fault simulated models together with the proper priorities. Figure 9 shows eight realis- ations of the simulated fault model at mid-elevation in the model.

Results and discussion

Table 1 shows the statistics for the simulated fault block models. To preserve confidentiality of the original data, each of the interpreted fault block volumes has been reset to 100. The table shows that the interpreted (modelled) fault block volumes are not always reproduced. Differences from -14 per cent to +10 per cent are observed. These differences are due to the asymmetric fault uncertainties. Some simulated fault blocks have a greater chance to become smaller than interpreted and vice versa. The table also shows there can be very large differences between two realisations for a given fault block. For example the average simulated volume for Fault Block No 1 is 89, with minimum and maximum values of 20 and 135. The coefficient of variation (CV) is 28.3 per cent. Assuming a normal distribution, there is a 95 per cent probability that the simulated Fault Block No 1 volumes are within ± 56.6 per cent of the average.

The

approach

used

to

simulate

the faults is considered

reasonable. Indeed, the results are statistically consistent with the

FAULTED GEOLOGICAL MODEL SIMULATION OF THE RESOLUTION PORPHYRY COPPER DEPOSIT

Fault Simulation - Simulated NSCO Checks

400. min max stdv mean 100 simulations Nb. of data 5,109,700 NSCO -3.00 3.00 600. 800.
400.
min
max
stdv
mean
100 simulations
Nb. of data 5,109,700
NSCO
-3.00
3.00
600.
800.
0.060
200.
0.
-4.00
-2.00
4.00
2.00
1.00
0.00
-1.00
Variogram
Mean simulation
Frequency
0.000
0.050
0.100
0.150
0.200
0.250
0.300
C)
A)
Variogram
Model
1000.
5.00
0.00
0.40
0.80
1.20
-3.137
4.168
0.663
0.01 Cumulative Probability 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 95 98 99 5
0.01
Cumulative Probability
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
95
98
99
5
100
100
Simul.
Simul.
Mean Simul.
0.2 0.1 Mean Simul.
B)
99.8
99.99
99.9
1
2
-2.5 600. 800. 0. 3.0 -0.50 0.50 -1.0 -2.0 200. -1.5 -3.0 2.5 2.0 1.5 1.0
-2.5
600.
800.
0.
3.0
-0.50
0.50
-1.0
-2.0
200.
-1.5
-3.0
2.5
2.0
1.5
1.0
0.
NSCO
400.
1000.
1.20
0.00
0.40
0.80
Model
Model
D)
Mean Simul.
Mean Simul.
Azm/Plg=0/0
Azm/Plg=0/0
Azm/Plg=90/0
Azm/Plg=90/0

Distance

Distance

FIG 6 - Simulated normal score statistics. (A) Mean of realisation histograms; (B) realisation cumulative probability curves (grey) plus mean of the curves (red thick line); (C) variogram model (green) plus mean of realisation variograms (red dashes); (D) same as in (C) plus ten realisation variograms along two directions (grey full and dashed lines).

≈ 100% ≈ 95% ≈ 67% -30m -20m -10m 0m +15m +30m +45m
≈ 100%
≈ 95%
≈ 67%
-30m -20m -10m
0m
+15m
+30m
+45m

FIG 7 - Example of asymmetrical fault fluctuation distributions. Two normal distributions with zero means but different standard deviations are, in effect, ‘glued together’. In this example, the standard deviations are ten and 15 m. Simulated values outside the ±3 standard deviation interval are reset to three standard deviations.

TABLE 1

Simulated and interpreted fault block volume statistics. The interpreted (model) fault block volumes have been reset to 100.

Fault

 

Simulation volume

 

Model

Model to

block

Min

 

Average

CV

volume

simulation

Max

% Chg

1

   
  • 20 28.3%

89

  • 135 100

   

-10.8%

2

   
  • 57 16.8%

108

  • 147 100

   

7.8%

3

   
  • 33 22.2%

    • 114 100

86

   

-13.9%

4

   
  • 79 1.4%

    • 133 100

  • 101 11.0%

   

5

   
  • 42 8.6%

    • 201 100

  • 109 28.1%

   

6

   
  • 52 3.6%

    • 156 100

  • 104 22.2%

   

7

   
  • 80 9.6%

    • 124 100

99

   

-0.7%

8

   
  • 63 20.6%

103

  • 171 100

   

3.2%

9

   
  • 51 19.6%

96

  • 135 100

   

-4.1%

 

501

 
  • 10 29.9%

110

  • 176 100

   

10.1%

 

83

 
  • 11 8.2%

99

  • 120 100

   

-0.6%

input data, the simulated faults are conditioned to the available snap points and the fault location uncertainties as assessed by the geologist have been reproduced. The simulated fault surfaces are visually reasonable and have more chance to be close to the interpretation than far away. On average, the interpreted fault block volumes are generally well reproduced by the simulation. Where there are discrepancies, they can be explained by the asymmetrical input uncertainties. Although not necessary for the Resolution deposit, different aspects of the simulation could be modified and/or improved. With the current simulation

G VERLY et al

Simulated fault deviations from interpretation

200 20 Realisations Uncertainty bandwidths Interpretation (0 Deviation) Along strike Deviations Deviations -150 - 200 -
200
20 Realisations
Uncertainty bandwidths
Interpretation (0 Deviation)
Along strike
Deviations
Deviations
-150 - 200 - 250
150 100
-100
- 50
200
250
50
0
-250 -200 -150 -100
1800 2400
250
150
100
-50
50
0
600 800
600 800
1400 1600
1400 1600
1000 1200
1000 1200
2000 2200
2000 2200
1800 2400

FIG 8 - Simulated fluctuations from one fault interpretation.

51 51 61 11 11 21 61 21
51 51 61
11 11 21
61
21
31 31
31
31
71 71
71
71
41 41
41
41
81 81
81 81

FIG 9 - Eight realisations of the fault block model at mid elevation in the model. The red lines represent the original fault interpretations. The grey lines represent the simulated fault traces.

methodology, the total number of faults before and after simulation is static, as per the geological interpretation. The two semi-normal distribution rule used to rescale the fault fluctuations could be changed to generate wider or narrower fluctuations with- in the specified uncertainty bandwidths. The range of the Gaussian variogram could be revisited. The simulation methodology could be changed to generate surfaces that are more planar.

FAULTED ROCKTYPE SIMULATION

In the simulation described below, faulted rock types represent rock types that are interpreted to have been offset by faulting. These rock types consist of stacks of subhorizontal layers within a background made of two rock types separated by an unconformity. The faulted rock types are intruded by dykes and breccias that do not appear to be offset by faulting. The general procedure for simulating faulted rock types consists in processing one fault block at a time. The preintrusive/prebreccia rock types are

reconstructed. The 3D interpretation of each layer is converted to a 2D interpretation of elevations and thicknesses. 2D simulations of the elevations and thicknesses are performed, conditional to drill hole intercepts and accounting for the uncertainties specified by the geologist. The 2D simulation results are converted back to 3D. The faulted blocks are stitched back together at the very end. This simulation methodology is further described below and is illustrated in Figure 10.

Presimulation work

The available information consists of a 3D gridded geological model, uncertainty information and drill hole sample locations. The uncertainty information is the same for all layers – a 95 per cent confidence interval (‘two sigma’) of ± 30 m from the interpreted elevation and of ± 20 per cent from the interpreted thickness. Note the deviations for thickness are in terms of a relative percentage of the interpreted (modelled) thickness.

FAULTED GEOLOGICAL MODEL SIMULATION OF THE RESOLUTION PORPHYRY COPPER DEPOSIT

For each fault block

Step 1 - Pre-simulation processing 3D

1a) Get the maximum simulated fault block footprint 1b) Get 3D Indicator Grid:

  • - Generate an indicator grid of the rock types

  • - Reconstruct pre-intrusive rock types

  • - Extend rock types from interpreted to maximum simulated fault block limit

Repeat Steps 2, 3, and 4 for each stack of layers in the fault block Step 2 - Pre-simulation processing 2D

2a) Create 2D grids of the elevation and thickness of each layer 2b) Create 2D conditioning sample dataset from drill-hole intercepts

Step 3: Simulation 2D

3a) 2D stationary simulations of deviations, conditional to snap points. 3b) Rescale simulated deviations 3c) Incorporate rescaled deviations to interpretations.

  • - Adjust elevations for gaps or overlaps

Step 4: Simulation 3D

4a) Flag 3D grid from 2D simulations

Step 5: Post-simulation processing 3D

5a) Recombine the 3D grids corresponding to the stacks into one 3D grid.

Nine sets of 100 realizations (one set per fault block) Stitch the faulted block rock types back together

For a given realization, pick the simulated rock type according to its location and simulated fault block number at that location 100 simulated faulted rock type grids

FIG 10 - Faulted rock type simulation process.

As previously mentioned, the faulted rock types are processed within one fault block at a time. In a first step, the preintrusive/prebreccia faulted rock types are reconstructed (Step 1b, Figure 10 and Figure 11). This can be done by either using the preintrusive wireframe model, or by ‘eroding away’ the intrusives/breccias from the grid model. The reconstructed rock types are then extended to the maximum possible fault block limits. Again, this could be done using the original wireframe model or numerically approximated on the grid model. The maximum extent of the simulated fault block is obtained by scanning the realisations of the previously simulated fault model. Each reconstructed and extended stack of layers is processed in turn. The 3D interpretation of each layer is converted to a 2D grid of elevations and thicknesses. The few drill hole intercepts – one to five per fault block – are converted to 2D snap points.

Simulation

A series of 2D simulations are performed for each stack:

same simulation of elevation fluctuations for all layers (will tend to prevent crossovers), and one simulation of thickness fluctuations per layer.

Standard normal scores are simulated first, followed by some rescaling to account for the uncertainty. The simulations are conditional sequential Gaussian using a unit-sill Gaussian variogram model with no nugget effect and a 500 m isotropic range to ensure smooth surfaces. The checks at this stage consist in verifying that the averages of the simulated normal scores are close to zero. The variances of the simulated normal scores are not expected to equal one because of the conditioning and the relatively small extent of the fault blocks compared to the variogram range.

Rescaling the simulated normal scores is needed to account for the uncertainty. The assumption is that the simulated fluctuations far from snap points are normally distributed with 95 per cent of the values within ± the specified uncertainty. In other words, the specified uncertainty is equivalent to two standard deviations of the normal distribution. The uncertainty for the elevation is 30 m – the simulated normal scores are multiplied by 15, and reset to ± 45 m if they exceed these values. The uncertainty for the thickness is

  • 20 per cent of the interpreted thickness – the normal scores are

multiplied by ten per cent and then reset to ± 30 per cent if they exceed these values. The final simulation step incorporates the interpretation and simulation together. The simulated elevation at a location is the interpreted elevation plus the rescaled simulated deviation at that location. The simulated thickness is the interpreted thickness plus the product of interpreted thickness and the rescaled relative simulated deviation. Elevation corrections are made to avoid gaps and overlaps between the simulated layers within a same stack.

One hundred realisations of elevations and thicknesses are available at this stage for each layer. Figure 12 shows one section with the trace of one layer interpreted elevation and thickness (red lines), the maximum possible deviations (blue lines) and 20 realisations of the elevation and thickness (grey lines). Three snap points were available for the elevation but only two for the thickness because of an incomplete hole intercept. The jagged aspect of the thickness profiles is due to the exaggerated resolution of the vertical grid.

Post-simulation work

One hundred realisations of one stack of layers within a fault

block are available at this stage as a series of 2D grids of layer elevations and thicknesses. For each realisation, the layer’s top and bottom elevations are calculated and used to flag one 3D grid. The simulation procedure is repeated for the other stacks within the fault block. The 3D grids are then merged together. The procedure is repeated for the other fault blocks resulting in

  • 11 individual simulated models. The final simulated faulted rock

type block model is obtained by merging the eleven models together. For a given realisation and a given location, the simulated fault block is first identified. The simulated rock type is then picked from the rock type model that corresponds to the fault block. Figure 13 shows eight realisations of a vertical section through the faulted rock type model at about mid northing in the model.

Results and discussion

Table 2 shows the statistics of the simulated faulted rock type model. To preserve confidentiality, each of the interpreted rock

G VERLY et al

G VERLY et al F IG 11 - Faulted rock types presimulation steps. (A) Original interpretation;

FIG 11 - Faulted rock types presimulation steps. (A) Original interpretation; (B) maximum simulated fault block footprint identified on left and right; (C) preintrusive/breccia reconstruction; (D) extension to fault block maximum simulated footprint; and (E) 2D grid of elevations and thicknesses of the mid-layer (pzls).

Mid-Layer Simulated Profiles

300 Elevation 250 200 300 150 Elevation 200 250 1000 150 Elevation 800 800 1200 1400
300
Elevation
250
200
300
150
Elevation
200
250
1000
150
Elevation
800
800
1200 1400
1200 1400
Northing
1000
Thickness 50 75 25 Thickness 50 75 25 Thickness 1000 1400 1200 800
Thickness
50
75
25
Thickness
50
75
25
Thickness
1000
1400
1200
800

Northing

Mid-Layer Simulated Profiles 300 Elevation 250 200 300 150 Elevation 200 250 1000 150 Elevation 800

Interpreted elevation/thickness Snap locations (within 100 m of section)

Mid-Layer Simulated Profiles 300 Elevation 250 200 300 150 Elevation 200 250 1000 150 Elevation 800

Elevation +/- 30 m/thickness +/- 20 per cent 20 Realisations

FIG 12 - Simulated elevation and thickness for one layer.

FAULTED GEOLOGICAL MODEL SIMULATION OF THE RESOLUTION PORPHYRY COPPER DEPOSIT

TABLE 2

Simulated and modelled faulted rock type volume statistics. The model rock type volumes have been reset to 100.

Rock

 

Simulation volume

 

Model

Model to

type

Min

 

Average

CV

volume

simulation

Max

% Chg

kvs

   
  • 98 0.8%

    • 102 100

   
  • 100 -0.1%

kqs

   
  • 90 4.6%

    • 113 100

  • 101 1.2%

   

pzls

   
  • 89 100

99

4.7%

 
  • 110 -0.7%

mesc

   
  • 89 100

    • 114 1.1%

101

4.8%

   

qzite

   
  • 91 100

99

2.5%

 
  • 104 -1.5%

diab

   
  • 97 100

    • 103 0.2%

100

1.4%

   

additional uncertainty should probably be injected in the model. A sensitivity study of the results to the range of the variogram would be useful, as local variations could be important as the mine get started.

CONCLUSIONS

A general method to realistically simulate the geology is

suggested in this paper. The method consists of first establishing a

priority in the geological features and of simulating them one at a

time. The simulation starts with the interpreted outlines or shapes and incorporates the uncertainties as specified by the geologist.

Two steps that could be part of such methodology were further

developed:

  • 1. simulation of a faulted block model, and

  • 2. simulation of layered rock types within the faulted blocks.

type volumes has been reset to 100. The table shows that on average the interpreted (modelled) rock type volumes are relatively well reproduced by the simulation. Differences from -1.5 per cent to +1.2 per cent are observed, which is considered acceptable, especially since part of these differences is related to the simulated fault blocks with their asymmetric uncertainties of boundary positions. The table also shows the kind of differences that can be observed between two realisations. For example the average simulated volume for pzls (Paleozoic limestone) is 99 with minimum/maximum counts of 89 and 110 respectively. The coefficient of variation (CV) is 4.7 per cent. Assuming a normal distribution, there is a 95 per cent probability that the simulated pzls volumes are within +/- 9.5 per cent of the average. These differences are significantly less than those observed for the fault block volumes (Table 1). This is partly due to the fact that the same rock type is found in most faulted blocks. The variability of the rock types within any given faulted block is more significant.

The approach used to simulate the faulted rock types is considered reasonable. Indeed, the fault blocks are simulated. The order relations between the simulated rock types are reproduced. The simulated results are statistically consistent with the input data. The simulated rock types are conditioned to the drill hole intercepts. The fluctuations in elevation and thickness reflect the uncertainty assessed by the geological staff. Still, several aspects of the simulation could be improved. The method assumes that there are enough holes to get the interpretation of rock sequence 100 per cent right at each node. This is optimistic and some

The method is relatively simple because the geological features are simple once they are treated one-at-a-time. For example, the faults are surfaces and the faulted rock types are layers. Both features were simulated by simple 2D sequential Gaussian simulations with various rescaling to account for the uncertainties specified by the geologist. Last, the method is flexible in the sense that it can cope with complex geological models, variable uncertainties and a scarcity of data. The method is made powerful by its incorporation of geological interpretation and uncertainty assessments, although these can be subjective.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The authors wish to thank Resolution Copper Mining, LLC and AMEC for permission to publish this paper. They also thank Harry Parker and Geoff Ballantyne for their useful comments and suggestions.

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FIG 13 - Simulated faulted rock type sections for eight realisations, in the northern part of the simulated area.

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