Resource assessment of copper deposits in China
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Copper-bearing deposits of China are statistically analyzed in terms of ore grade, metal amount and ore tonnage. Each of grade and metal amount shows more or less a lognormal distribution. Analysis gives 10 copper metallogenic districts, each having specific densities of deposit numbers and copper reserves larger than 3. Based on the ratio of copper in ore value (RCu), Chinese copper deposits are classified into two groups: mainly copper-producing deposits (MC: RCu⩾0.5) and accessorily copper-producing deposits (AC: RCu<0.5). The grade-tonnage relation of MC deposits can be combined by two exponential functions approximating high grade (>3.0%) and low grade (<2.0%) parts. The critical copper grade, which is obtained from the low grade part of the relation, is 0.34%. Chinese copper resources are concluded to become pessimistic, because some mines are working with grades close to this critical value. Taking account of the fact that many copper deposits are actually polymetallic, Cu-equivalent grades, which are converted from ratios of metal prices to the copper price, are also introduced. The critical Cu-equivalent grade of MC deposits (0.43%) also suggests that Chinese copper resources are pessimistic.
Key wordscopper resources critical grade assessment
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