Synthetic High Resolution Block Model for Benchmarking Mining Technologies

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Altinpinar, Mehmet
High-resolution synthetic model , Block model , Benchmarking , Geostatistics , Geostatistical simulation , Geometallurgy , Mine planning
Variability of the rock properties and the uncertainty associated with their estimation in the blocks mined and processed becloud the decision making in the mining value chain. In addition to grades of elements and minerals of interest, the presence of deleterious materials, as well as varying geometallurgical properties of rock materials have significant impacts on the economic performance of mining projects. Researchers are faced with the challenge that there are limited opportunities for benchmarking mining methods and technologies as this type of information is proprietary from mining companies and seldom shared for research purposes. In this thesis, a methodology was developed for building a high-resolution realistic synthetic block model containing grades as well as mineralogical and geological properties for benchmarking purposes. A high-resolution block model, featuring 128 million nodes, was developed for a porphyry copper deposit and used to simulate mining decisions through the mine value chain. To achieve this, samples were extracted from the model by means of a drillhole campaign to allow for comparison of estimation and planning decisions with the actual model data, which provides access to the ground truth. Applications of the developed approach to benchmark advanced mine planning techniques including machine-learning tools in prediction, forecasting, and decision making were also discussed.
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