Putting the “GEO” back in front of GEOmetallurgy abstract accepted by AusIMM

    Published on September 12th, 2018

    CSA Global Principal Geologist Warren Potma will discuss ‘Putting the “GEO” back in front of GEOmetallurgy: Importance of early implementation of quantitative mineral system characterisation, classification and modelling’ at the upcoming Complex Orebodies Conference scheduled between 19-21 November 2018.

    “Complex Ore Bodies” are those deposits that are challenged by the interactions between technical, environmental; community and state, marketing and economic circumstances. In the case of as yet unmined deposits these factors interact so that mining these ore bodies emerge as very complex proposals that are hard to finance. Hence they remain un-mined. As policy evolves to keep up to increasing societal demands new rules create complexity for existing mines, threatening their survival if they cannot adjust to the new environment.

    As researchers, policy makers, mining companies, governments and communities rise to these challenges it is becoming increasingly clear that “Complex Orebodies” are the deposits that without solutions to these dynamic and interconnected issues may never be mined. “Current Complex Ore Bodies” are existing mining operations for which the goal posts are changing. In some cases, they are becoming uneconomic due to depth or grade. In others, the environmental impact or societal disruption is such that their continued extraction is untenable. Unless solutions are found, these mines face closure.

    Warren will be joined by Principal Consultant (Corporate and Business Development) Alexey Tsoy when he presents: “Long-term mining schedule optimisation.”

    ABSTRACT: Putting the “GEO” back in front of GEOmetallurgy: Importance of early implementation of quantitative mineral system characterisation, classification and modelling

    Truly integrated, quantitative, 3D GEOmetallurgical (or mineral system) characterisation, classification and 3D modelling should provide a cradle to grave unifying link across the exploration and mining value chain. All too often, spatially representative (quantitative) characterisation and modelling of a mineral system is delayed until feasibility stage, incurring a significant opportunity cost.

    The application of robust GEOmet characterisation methods early in the project lifecycle (at exploration stage) improves ground selection, exploration, and Mineral Resource estimation outcomes, long before there is a need for metallurgical test work. The value of this early provision of quantitative 3D mineralogy models is compounded at project feasibility stage, and continues to accrue over the entire project lifecycle, delivering cost savings, improved decision making and early warning of issues and opportunities.

    The inputs are comparatively inexpensive; four-acid ICP-MS geochemistry (the key component for spatially representative prediction of ore and gangue mineralogy throughout the mineral system), SWIR spectral mineralogy, selective petrography and XRD, and quantitative drill hole data capture (oriented structure, magnetic susceptibility, density, pXRF, acid fizz, rock hardness and quality core photography) in addition to high quality standardised geological logging & mapping (Fig.1). Yet many of these costs are deemed too extravagant at the exploration and resource drill-out stage.

    Figure 1. Illustration of the inputs, wide-ranging applications and impact of early-stage implementation of quantitative 3D GEOmetallurgical characterisation and modelling of mineral systems.


    Warren Potma
    Principal Geologist

    Warren is a geologist with more than 20 years’ experience in exploration and mining geology, management and technical R&D. He specialises in structural geology, integrated mineral system analysis, 3D modelling, and technical mentoring. Warren has extensive exploration, mine production and technical projects experience, and a strong background in applied exploration technology R&D and mineral systems research he gained while with the CSIRO. He has a strong track record of discovery in Chilean magmatic hydrothermal mineral systems (IOCG, porphyry Cu/Au), Archaean orogenic gold and VHMS systems, and broad experience across the range of magmatic-hydrothermal mineral systems.

    Complex Orebodies Conference 2018

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