GEOSTATISTICAL APPROACH FOR THE ESTIMATION OF SHEAR-HOSTED GOLD DEPOSIT: A CASE STUDY OF THE OBUASI GOLD DEPOSIT, GHANA
Journal: Malaysian Journal of Geosciences (MJG)
Author: Casmed Charles Amadu, Gordon Foli, Bernard Kissi-Abrokwa, Sylvester Akpah
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited
Underground mining at Obuasi in Ghana has been in operation since 1947. This paper uses geostatistical methods to evaluate gold ore blocks to ensure reliable grades for mining large tonnage and low-grade resources. Historically, the principal ores were low tonnage, high grade and relatively homogeneous quartz stockwork with simple geometry and average bulk grades in the range of 20-30 g/t that were evaluated using conventional polygonal methods and mined by semi-mechanized means. Currently, the ore is a shear-hosted mixed quartz vein and disseminated sulphide type deposit of low grade that is mined using highly mechanized means. The need therefore arises for a re-assessment of the estimation procedures to ensure prolonged and more profitable mining. Both diamond drill (DD) core and stope/cross-cut channel samples were taken from Block 1 at the mine for analyses and re-assessment. A wireframe model was used to constrain the three dimensional (3D) block model of the deposit. Ordinary kriging (OK) and multiple indicator kriging (MIK) geostatistical methods were used to estimate gold grades. Grade distribution is positively skewed with high spatial variability and extreme values while background values are established as <0.6 g/t. The Spatial variability is characterized by fitting models on experimental variograms. The MIK approach mitigates the effects of outliers and establish grades that are consistently lower than the OK and the weighted average method that are widely used at the mine. The MIK method, a non-linear, non-parametric method of local grade estimation are applicable to the deposit architecture. Profoundly, the MIK method is a more reliable approach considering the fact that the MCF based on the estimates at the mine are high despite operational deficiencies on the mine. The results from this study demonstrates usefulness of geostatistics to determine the architecture of Au mineralization at the deposit scale.