Use of local average subdivision to characterize marine mineral reserves—A conceptual framework

CIM Journal, Vol. 6, No. 3, 2015, pages 157-167

T. Wambeke and M. Alvarez Grima
MTI Holland (Member of IHC Merwede Group), Kinderdijk, Netherlands

G. A. Fenton
Department of Civil Engineering, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

J. Benndorf
Department of Resource Engineering, Delft University of Technology, Delft, Netherlands

A. Vervoort
Department of Civil Engineering, KU Leuven, University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

http://dx.doi.org/10.15834/cimj.2015.17
Abstract High-risk underwater mining operations necessitate characterizing spatial heterogeneity and resource uncertainty. Local average subdivision is a method of simulating spatial deposit variability inside a cell through a sequence of discretization stages, during which a cell is further subdivided into four or eight cells. New developments are presented to validate simulated deposit models and deal with point measurements of geotechnical and ore-grade properties. This paper illustrates the relevance of translating spatial deposit variability into financial or operational performance indicators during underwater resource exploitation. Two synthetic case studies highlight the challenges of underwater mining in relation to production plans and equipment selection.
Keywords: Geostatistical simulations, Local average subdivision (LAS), Marine deposit evaluation, Resource uncertainty, Spatial variability, Underwater mining
Résumé Les opérations d’extraction minière subaquatique à risque élevé exigent une caractérisation de l’hétérogénéité spatiale et de l’incertitude de la ressource. La moyenne locale de subdivision est une méthode de simuler la variabilité spatiale du gisement dans une cellule par une séquence d’étapes de discrétisation durant lesquelles une cellule est subdivisée en quatre ou huit cellules. De nouveaux développements sont présentés afin de valider les modèles de simulation des gisements et de traiter des mesures ponctuelles des propriétés géotechniques et de teneur du minerai. Le présent article illustre la pertinence de traduire la variabilité spatiale du gisement en indicateurs de rendement financier ou opérationnel durant l’exploitation subaquatique de la ressource. Deux cas synthétiques soulignent les défis de l’exploitation minière subaquatique par rapport aux plans de production et de choix des équipements.
Mots-Clé Évaluation d’un gisement sous-marin, exploitation minière subaquatique, incertitude de la ressource, moyenne locale de subdivision, simulations géostatistiques, variabilité spatiale
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Issue: 3
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Year: 2015
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