Assessing geologic model uncertainty - a case study comparing methods

Abstract Evaluating mineral resources requires the prior delimitation of geologically homogeneous stationary domains. The knowledge about the ore genesis and geological processes involved are translated into three dimensional models, essential for planning the production and decision-making. The mineral industry usually considers grade uncertainty for resource evaluation; however, uncertainty related to the geological boundaries are often neglected. This uncertainty, related to the location of the boundary between distinct geological domains can be one of the major sources of uncertainty in a mineral project, and should be assessed due to its potential impact on the ore tonnage, and consequently, on enterprise profitability. This study aims at presenting three different methodologies capable of generating multiple geomodel realizations and thus, assessing uncertainty. A real dataset with high geological complexity is used to illustrate the methodology. The results are compared to a deterministic model used as a reference scenario.