Natural Resources Research

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 161–181 | Cite as

Spatial Modeling of Geometallurgical Properties: Techniques and a Case Study

  • Jared L. DeutschEmail author
  • Kevin Palmer
  • Clayton V. Deutsch
  • Jozef Szymanski
  • Thomas H. Etsell


High-resolution spatial numerical models of metallurgical properties constrained by geological controls and more extensively by measured grade and geomechanical properties constitute an important part of geometallurgy. Geostatistical and other numerical techniques are adapted and developed to construct these high-resolution models accounting for all available data. Important issues that must be addressed include unequal sampling of the metallurgical properties versus grade assays, measurements at different scale, and complex nonlinear averaging of many metallurgical parameters. This paper establishes techniques to address each of these issues with the required implementation details and also demonstrates geometallurgical mineral deposit characterization for a copper–molybdenum deposit in South America. High-resolution models of grades and comminution indices are constructed, checked, and are rigorously validated. The workflow demonstrated in this case study is applicable to many other deposit types.


Geostatistics Multivariate simulation Multiple imputation Multiscale modeling Nonlinear variables Unequal sampling Parameter uncertainty Model verification 



Many discussions on best practices in multivariate geostatistical modeling with Ryan Barnett and other colleagues at the Centre for Computational Geostatistics are gratefully acknowledged. The input of Bryan Rairdan, Rodrigo Marinho, the editor of Natural Resources Research, and three anonymous reviewers is also much appreciated.


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Copyright information

© International Association for Mathematical Geosciences 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jared L. Deutsch
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kevin Palmer
    • 2
  • Clayton V. Deutsch
    • 1
  • Jozef Szymanski
    • 1
  • Thomas H. Etsell
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Mining and Petroleum Engineering, Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Teck Resources LimitedVancouverCanada
  3. 3.Department of Chemical and Materials EngineeringUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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