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Simulated deposits are computer models that represent a deposit or a system. These models
are used in place of the real system to represent that system for some purpose. The simulation
models are built to have the same distribution, dispersion characteristics, and spatial relationships
of the grade values in the deposit. Conditionally simulated models also have the same
values at the known sample data locations.The difference between models of estimation and
the conditional simulations lies in their objectives

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Introduction

Simulated deposits are computer models that represent a deposit or a system. These models

are used in place of the real system to represent that system for some purpose. The simulation

models are built to have the same distribution, dispersion characteristics, and spatial relation-

ships of the grade values in the deposit. Conditionally simulated models also have the same

values at the known sample data locations.The difference between models of estimation and

the conditional simulations lies in their objectives.

Local and global estimations of recoverable reserves are often insufficient at the planning stage

of a new mine or a new section of an operating mine. For the mining engineer, as well as the

metallurgist and chemist, it is often essential to be able to predict the variations of the character-

istics of the recoverable reserves at various stages in the operation.

For instance, in the processing of low-grade iron ore deposits, keeping final product within strict

quality standards may be a complex task whenever impurities such as phosphorus are involved.

The blending process and the flexibility of the plant will depend on the dispersion variance of the

grades received at all scales (daily, monthly, yearly).

Therefore, a detailed definition of an adequate mining control method is essential. For a prelimi-

nary design, it is admissible to use average values to perform an evaluation. When it comes to

detailed definitions, however, these averages are not sufficient due to local fluctuations.

If the in-situ reality was known, the required dispersions, and thus the most suitable working

methods, could be determined by applying various simulated processes to this reality. Unfortu-

nately, the perfect knowledge of this in-situ reality is not available at the planning stages of the

operation. The information available at this stage is usually incomplete, and limited to the grades

of a few samples. The estimations deduced from this information are far too imprecise or smooth

for the exact calculations of dispersions that are required.

notes: Simulation or Estimation

Estimation and simulation are complementary tools. Estimation is appropriate for assessing

mineral reserves, particularly global in situ reserves. Simulation aims at correctly represent-

ing spatial variability, and is more appropriate than estimation, for decisions in which spatial

variability is a critical concern and for risk analysis.

In the case of Kriging, for instance, the minimization of estimation variance involves a smooth-

ing of the true dispersions. Similarly, the polygonal method of estimation would consider the

grade as constant all over the polygon of influence of a sample. Therefore, it would also

underestimate the local variability of true grades. The estimated deposit is, therefore, a biased

base on which to study the dispersions of the true grades.

Conditional Simulation, on the other hand, provides the same mean, histogram, and the

variogram as the real grades (assuming that the samples are representative of the reality).

Therefore, it identifies the main dispersion characteristics of these true grades.

In general, the objectives of simulation and estimation are not compatible. It can be seen from

Figure 1 that, even though the estimation curve is, on average, closer to the real curve, the

simulation curve is a better reproduction of the fluctuations of the real curve. The estimation

curve is preferable to locate and estimate reserves, while the simulation curve is preferred for

studying the dispersion characteristics of these reserves, remembering that the real curve is

known only at the experimental data points.

(thick solid line=reality, normal solid line=conditional simulation, dashed line=kriging,

o=conditioning data)

Typical Uses of Simulated Deposits notes:

A conditionally simulated deposit represents a known numerical model on a very dense grid.

As the simulation can only reproduce known, modeled structures, the simulation grid is limited

to the dimensions of the smallest modeled structure. Various methods of sampling, selection,

mining, haulage, blending, ore control and so on, can be applied to this numerical model, to

test their efficiency before applying them to the real deposit.

t Application in grade control to determine dig-lines that are most likely to maximize the

profit or minimize the dollar loss.

problems.

development of emission control strategy.

to a customer at different scales and time frames.

It must be understood that the results obtained from simulated deposits will apply to reality,

only to the extent to which the simulated deposit reproduces the essential characteristics of

the real system. Therefore, the more the real deposit is known, the better its model will be, and

the closer the conditional simulation will be to reality. As the quality of the conditional simula-

tion improves, not only do the reproduced structures of the variability come closer to those of

reality, but so do the qualitative characteristics (geology, alteration, and so on) that can be

introduced into the numerical model. It must be stressed that simulation cannot replace a good

sampling campaign of the real deposit.

notes: Uncertainty and Confidence Intervals

Confidence intervals are perhaps the most familiar way of reporting uncertainty. A confidence

interval accounts for our inability to determine the unknown block grade exactly. However, the

confidence intervals for individual blocks are not very easy to derive. There are many factors

contributing to the width and degree of symmetry of these intervals, such as data errors,

estimation errors and modeling errors.

One of the advantages of Conditional Simulation is that it can provide many equally probable

realizations, instead of one single answer. This can be useful for sensitivity analysis of many

problems. For example, by having a possible range of values for each block, one can get the

distribution of the grades for these blocks. From this distribution, the uncertainty associated

for the block and the confidence intervals can be calculated.

An Alternative Method

When applied properly, Conditional Simulation can give the best possible answers for the

confidence intervals and uncertainty. However, it may not always practical to perform the

simulation on any deposit at any given time. Is there a short cut to provide us some approxi-

mate figures for us to work with? If we can assume some distribution for the blocks, we can

compute some theoretical answers for the confidence intervals.

Although it is important to be able to establish a range within which the unknown true value is

likely to fall, the confidence intervals may not be very helpful if they are used on a per block

basis. Rather, they will be more useful for ranking the uncertainty associated with the esti-

mates relative to each other.

Many variables encountered in resource analysis have positively skewed distributions. Even

though not all positively skewed distributions are lognormal, most of these distributions can be

described adequately by a lognormal model, depending on ones objective. In a typical case

one may encounter where the majority of the grades often plot on straight line with the excep-

tion of low grades and a few outlier values. Since we are interested in grades above an ore

cutoff, it will seem appropriate that a lognormal model can be an approximate for such distri-

bution of grades within an ore block.

The mean of this model is taken as the Kriged estimate (m k) for this block and the variance is

represented by the Combined Variance (F2cv). Combined variance is described in a paper

published in APCOM 1999 proceedings (Arik, 1999). Then we can calculate the correspond-

ing log mean (a) and variance ($2) of the lognormal distribution as follows:

a = log mk - $2/2

We will first compute the confidence intervals in the log space. At 95% confidence level, we notes:

get:

Lower CI = a = a - 2 /($2/n)

L

Upper CI = a = a + 2 /($2/n)

U

The n in these equations is the number of composites used to estimate the block. Now we

compute the confidence intervals in terms of original variables:

L L

Upper CI = m = exp (a + 1/2 $2)

U U

Example

To calculate the confidence intervals, one must calculate the combined variance for the blocks.

The combined variance can be calculated in the Kriging procedure P62401.DAT as an option.

Figure 2 shows the panel where one can specify the combined variance option.

notes: Once the combined variance is known, then the procedure PMODCI.DAT can be used to

calculate the confidence intervals for the blocks in the model. One should have an extra item

in the model to store the lower confidence limit, and another item to store the upper confidence

limit. Figure 3 shows the panel where one can specify the items for the confidence intervals.

References notes:

Arik, A., 1999, An Alternative Approach to Resource Classification, 28th APCOM

Symposium Proceedings, Colorado School of Mines, pp. 45-53.

Arik, A., 1999, Uncertainty, Confidence Intervals and Resource Categorization: A

Combined Variance Approach, ISGSM Symposium, Perth, W. Australia.

Crozel, D., David, M., 1985, Global Estimation Variance: Formulas and

Calculation, Mathematical Geology, Vol. 17, No. 8, pp 785-796.

Dagdelen, K., Verly, G., and Coskun B., 1997, Conditional Simulation For

Recoverable Reserve Estimation, SME Annual Meeting, Preprint 97-201.

David, M., 1977, Geostatistical Ore Reserve Estimation, Elsevier, Amsterdam.

Davis, B.M., 1992, Confidence Interval Estimation for Mineable Reserves, SME

Annual Meeting, Preprint #92-39.

Froidevaux, R., 1984, Conditional Estimation Variances: An Empirical Approach,

Mathematical Geology, Vol. 16, No. 4, pp 327-350.

Isaaks, E.H., Srivastava, R.M., 1989, Applied Geostatistics, New York, Oxford

University Press.

Journel A.G. and Huijbregts Ch.J. (1978). Mining Geostatistics, Academic Press,

London.

Kim, Y.C, Knudsen, H.P. and Baafi, E.Y. (1980). Application of Conditional

Simulation to Emission Control Strategy Development, University of Arizona,

Tucson, Arizona.

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