, Volume 44, Issue 4, pp 449-468,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 05 May 2012

Multivariate Block-Support Simulation of the Yandi Iron Ore Deposit, Western Australia

Abstract

Mineral deposits frequently contain several elements of interest that are spatially correlated and require the use of joint geostatistical simulation techniques in order to generate models preserving their spatial relationships. Although joint-simulation methods have long been available, they are impractical when it comes to more than three variables and mid to large size deposits. This paper presents the application of block-support simulation of a multi-element mineral deposit using minimum/maximum autocorrelation factors to facilitate the computationally efficient joint simulation of large, multivariable deposits. The algorithm utilized, termed dbmafsim, transforms point-scale spatial attributes of a mineral deposit into uncorrelated service variables leading to the generation of simulated realizations of block-scale models of the attributes of interest of a deposit. The dbmafsim algorithm is utilized at the Yandi iron ore deposit in Western Australia to simulate five cross-correlated elements, namely Fe, SiO2, Al2O3, P and LOI, that are all critical in defining the quality of iron ore being produced. The block-scale simulations reproduce the direct- and cross-variograms of the elements even though only the direct variograms of the service variables have to be modeled. The application shows the efficiency, excellent performance and practical contribution of the dbmafsim algorithm in simulating large multi-element deposits.