Geostatistics And Drill Hole Spacing: Has It Helped In The Economics of Exploration?
The mining and exploration industries have been using Geostatistics (Matheron, 1963) for the past forty years. It has been extensively incorporated into three dimensional block modeling software whose usage has reflected the growth in the use of personal computers since 1980. Because of the utility of geostatistical models in mining and production planning, much of the modern reserve and resource modeling is done by mining engineers, geostatisticians and geological engineers. Explorationists are initially less concerned with three dimensional models until such time as a deposit has been roughly delineated. However, the concept of regionalized variables in ore deposits deals with the effect of spatial correlations between data points in a three dimensional sample space and should be useful for optimizing the spacing of drill holes to allow maximum bang-for-the-buck in drilling programs. This paper examines three common deposit types (porphyry copper, VMS and intrusive gold) to examine whether geostatistical methods have been used to minimize drilling costs because of better understanding of spatial correlations. The three model types were chosen from publicly available corporate websites of Canadian based Junior Mining Companies. They include the Wolverine polymetallic zinc deposit of Yukon Zinc in Yukon, Canada; the El Morro Deposit in Chile (30 percent ownership by New Gold Mining Company, and the Fort Knox Gold deposit in Alaska and 50 percent ownership by Nova Gold Resources). Typically, individual mining corporations post their technical reports as CNI 43-101 reports on their corporate website as indications of the favorability or progress on their more exciting properties. Data considered for this paper was not collected or generated by the author, but the information was extracted from these publicly available sites and had a variety of authorship.
Geostatistics, Exploration, Regionalized variables, Drill hole spacing