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Conditional Simulation Overview and Applications

23rd Conditional Simulation


Annual Overview and Applications
Seminar
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 relationships of the grade values in the deposit. Conditionally simulated
models additionally have the same values at the known sample data locations. They are
conditioned to the original sample values. The difference between models of estimation
and the conditional simulations lies in their objectives.
The Objectives of Simulation
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
characteristics 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 preliminary 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. Unfortunately, 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.
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
representing spatial variability and is more appropriate than estimation for decisions in
which spatial variability is a critical concern. It is equally valuable for risk analysis.
The objective of estimation, such as kriging, is to obtain the “average” values that are
as close as possible to the true but unknown values. The result is a single and smooth
representation of the grade spatial distribution in the deposit.
Conditional simulation, on the other hand, provides the same mean, histogram, and
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.
Conditional simulation provides a range of non-smoothed representations of the grades
in the deposit. These representations are called the realizations; each one is equally likely
to be a possible “deposit” which could have given the original set of samples.
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

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Conditional Simulation Overview and Applications

simulation curve is preferred for studying the dispersion characteristics of these reserves, 23rd
remembering that the real curve is known only at the experimental data points.
Annual
Seminar

Figure 1. Real, simulated and estimated profiles (thick solid line=reality, normal solid line=conditional
simulation, dashed line=kriging, o=conditioning data)

Typical Uses of Simulated Deposits


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.
Some of the examples of typical uses of simulated deposits are as follows:
• Application in grade control to determine dig-lines that are most likely to maximize
the profit or minimize the dollar loss.
• Comparative studies of various estimation methods and approaches to mine
planning problems.
• Studies of the sampling level necessary for any given objective.
• Application for generating models of porosity and permeability.
• Application in petroleum reservoir production.
• Studies to determine the probability of exceeding a regulatory limit and application
in development of emission control strategy.
• Studies to quantify the variability of impurities or contaminants in metal or coal
delivered to a customer at different scales and time frames.
• Prediction of recoverable reserves.
In addition to simulating grade, categorical variables, such as lithograohy, alteration,
or mineralization can be simulated. 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 simulation improves, not only do the
reproduced structures of the variability become closer to those of reality, but so also will
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.

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Conditional Simulation Overview and Applications

23rd Sample Run Using Sequential Gaussian Simulation


Annual The available simulation algorithms in MineSight® are the Sequential Gaussian
Simulation (SGS) and Sequential Indicator Simulation (SIS). They are currently accessed
Seminar
through a non-standard sub-menu with the MineSight® Compass™ program. However,
technical support is only available to users who received the training or those who are
knowledgeable on the subject.
Figure 2 shows a snap-shot of the MineSight® Compass™ Procedure Manager when
the Conditional Simulation group is selected. This is currently a non-standard
menu that is accessed through csim.mnu or csim2.mnu files that are prepared for
Conditional Simulation. Note that these menu functions can be further customized or
modified if necessary.

Figure 2. Conditional Simulation sub-menu functions


The SGS is done using the normal scores, or the data transformed into normal
distribution. The normal scores transformation results are usually output to an ascii file,
but they can be loaded into MineSight® composite files. The current SGS program can
handle the normal score transformation of the original grades and “back-transformation”
of the results..
Before a conditional simulation run, a variogram analysis of the normal scores data is
necessary. The parameters of the normal scores variograms are used for the simulation.
Although the simulation results can be output to an ascii file, it is often necessary to set up
a 3-D block model to store the results. The block size used for the conditional simulation
model is usually much smaller than the Selective Mining Unit (SMU) size since it should
represent the deposit at point scale. If a 3-D block model available, the simulation results
can directly be stored. Once the simulated values are in the model file, the standard
MineSight® programs are used to verify, display, plot and summarize the results. The
simulated grade of the blocks can be combined into any size of SMU for further analysis.
Figure 3 shows a plan view of bench 2600 from a sample Conditional Simulation exercise.

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Conditional Simulation Overview and Applications

23rd
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Figure 3. Conditional Simulation of 2600 bench on sample project

Planned Updates
The capabilities that are planned to be added to the simulation package are listed below:
Despiking
Relative elevations for use in both SGS and SIS
Direct model access in SIS
Local means or probabilities for the SIS simple kriging
SGS with a co-located variable
We encourage your feedback on this subject, which allows Mintec, Inc. to assess any
problems clients may be facing and suggest useful solutions.

References
Arik, A., 2003, “Kriging vs. Simulation: How optimum is our pit design?” 4th CAMI
Symposium Proceedings, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Arik, A., 2001, “Performance Analysis of Different Estimation Methods on Conditionally
Simulated Deposits,” SME Transactions, Vol. 310.
Arik, A., 1999, “Uncertainty, Confidence Intervals and Resource Categorization: A
Combined Variance Approach,” ISGSM Symposium, Perth, W. Australia.
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.
Isaaks, E.H., Srivastava, R.M., 1989, Applied Geostatistics, New York, Oxford University
Press.

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Conditional Simulation Overview and Applications

23rd Journel A.G. and Huijbregts Ch.J. (1978). Mining Geostatistics, Academic Press, London.
Annual Kim, Y.C, Knudsen, H.P. and Baafi, E.Y. (1980). Application of Conditional Simulation to
Seminar Emission Control Strategy Development, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona.
Lloyd, C.D., McKinley, J. M. and Ruffell, A. H. (2003). “Conditional simulation of
sandstone permeability” Proceedings of IAMG 2003.

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