Improving short-term grade block models: alternative for correcting soft data
Abstract Short-term mining planning typically relies on samples obtained from channels or less-accurate sampling methods. The results may include larger sampling errors than those derived from diamond drill hole core samples. The aim of this paper is to evaluate the impact of the sampling error on grade estimation and propose a method of correcting the imprecision and bias in the soft data. In addition, this paper evaluates the benefits of using soft data in mining planning. These concepts are illustrated via a gold mine case study, where two different data types are presented. The study used Au grades collected via diamond drilling (hard data) and channels (soft data). Four methodologies were considered for estimation of the Au grades of each block to be mined: ordinary kriging with hard and soft data pooled without considering differences in data quality; ordinary kriging with only hard data; standardized ordinary kriging with pooled hard and soft data; and standardized, ordinary cokriging. The results show that even biased samples collected using poor sampling protocols improve the estimates more than a limited number of precise and unbiased samples. A welldesigned estimation method corrects the biases embedded in the samples, mitigating their propagation to the block model.