Integrated Geoscience through Structural and Geological Modeling at Red Dog, Alaska
CIM Vancouver 2016
Ms Tina Roth (Senior Geologist - Teck Resources Limited)
Thorough understanding of geology, structure, geometallurgical variations, and geotechnical controls are essential to optimizing the value of ore deposits and generating predictive models for further exploration. The evolution of modeling at the Red Dog Zn-Pb-Ag Mine in northwestern Alaska illustrates the benefits of integrating multiple geoscience disciplines through collaboration of operations and corporate-based teams.
Complex thrust duplexing of the Red Dog deposits creates challenges to interpretation of geological correlations and ore continuity. A robust structural model is fundamental to understanding the distribution of mineralization as well as geotechnical controls on pit design. Digital capture of logged shear zones and systematic re-interpretation of structural cross-sections have culminated in development of a well-constrained 3D structural model that provides mine engineers with information vital to optimizing pit design while helping to ensure pit stability. Lithology and mineralization have been modeled into this structural framework, thereby providing a sound basis for resource estimation and mine planning. Geometallurgical challenges have been addressed by increasingly advanced approaches to ore characterization. Hardness, throughput, and recovery have been incorporated into the geological block model to provide spatial context and to sustain high recoveries in Red Dog’s complex ores.
Advances in 3D modeling software enable viewing and modeling of large, diverse datasets relatively quickly and efficiently, but the collection and interpretation of high-quality, fundamental geoscience data is most effective with the collaboration of multidisciplinary teams. Integration of datasets provides crucial context and constraints for the deposit model and maximizes the opportunity to unlock value in orebodies.