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Quality Control in Mineral Exploration

Controlling the Quality of Information from Field to Data Base

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Quality Control in Mineral Exploration


There many goals associated with a QA/QC program for the mineral industry: Prevent the entry of large errors into the geological Database. Demonstrate that sampling and analytical variances are small relative to geological variance. Provide assurance that the accuracy of the data can be confirmed. Save management time by automating sample names and performing automatic checks on sample names. Allow problems to be realized rapidly to minimize their effects. Keep an archive for a complete audit trail. Comply meticulously with government regulations and standards with a minimal amount of employee time and effort.

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Quality Control in Mineral Exploration


Canadian Securities Regulation NI 43-101 dictates that every resource delineation project must come under the direction of a Qualified Person (QP) A QP is a professional with at least 5 years experience and a member of a recognized professional organization that has an enforced Code of Ethics.

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Quality Control in Mineral Exploration


World securities regulators and financial institutions have adopted the principles of NI 43-101 and now demand that full QC procedures are used for all resource delineation exploration programs

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Quality Control in Mineral Exploration


Form 43-101 F1, Item 14 details the mandatory requirements for a technical report, including:
3. A summary of the nature and extent of all QC procedures employed and check assay and other check analytical and testing procedures utilized, including the results and corrective actions taken.

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Quality Control in Mineral Exploration


Form 43-101 F1, Item 15 specifically details the data corroboration requirements including:
the QC steps and data corroboration procedures which have been taken, whether the author has corroborated the data the nature of and limitations on such corroboration the reasons for any failure to corroborate the data
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Quality Control Procedures are Necessary to Monitor


Accuracy Precision Contamination

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Accuracy
the degree to which an analysis or mean of a set of analyses approach a true concentration. Note: the true concentration is never known; an accepted value together with error limits accompanies most standards.

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Precision
Is an estimate of the reproducibility of the sampling and analytical system. The percent precision is related to concentration by: Pc = 2Sc/c x 100 where Pc is the precision in percent at concentration c, and Sc is an estimate of the standard deviation at that concentration.
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Quality Control
Comparison of Accuracy and Precision
Bias

Precise but not Accurate

Accurate but not Precise

Both Accurate and Precise

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Sampling and Analytical Bias


A systematic error inherent in a method or caused by some artifact or idiosyncrasy of the sampling system.

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Contamination
The introduction of any substance to a geological sample that is not in the original in situ location of that sample.

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Geological Blank
A sample of uncrushed rock or drill core that is known to contain a very low or nondetectable concentration of the element being sought. The blank is used to monitor contamination.

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Geological Standard
A composite of naturally occurring geological material for which an accepted mean and error on the mean has been defined. The standard is used to monitor accuracy.

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Round Robin
The analysis of a newly prepared geological standard, done in replicate by a number of labs, the purpose of which is to calculate the accepted mean and standard deviation. At least 60 analyses using a minimum of 5 labs are recommended.

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Field Duplicate Sample


Splits of drill core, reverse circulation cuttings or outcrop from the same sampling interval. These splits are bagged separately with separate sample numbers so as to be blind to the sample preparation laboratory.

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The Use of Field Duplicates


The field duplicate contains all levels of error: core or RC cuttings splitting, sample size reduction in the prep lab, and subsampling at the pulp, plus the analytical error. They are also a check on possible sample over selection. The duplicates are used to calculate field, preparation and analytical precision.
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Preparation Duplicate Sample


Splits of one sample taken after the coarse crush but before pulverizing (pulp). These should be done routinely by the sample preparation laboratory (usually 1 in 40 samples). The preparation duplicate has the error of sample size reduction in the preparation lab and the error of analyses.

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Pulp Duplicate Sample


Two separate weighings and analyses from one pulp. These are usually done routinely by all laboratories (between 1 in 5 to 1 in 20 samples). The pulp duplicate has the error of analyses.

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Sample Over Selection


Samplers have, either purposely or inadvertently sampled geological material, usually drill core, so as to preferentially place visible mineralization in the sample bag going for analysis.

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The Use of Standards


Certified Reference Material (CRMs) These may be purchased from a number of sources including:
Canmet: www.nrcan.gc.ca/mms/canmet-mtb/ccrmp/ CDN Labs: www.cdnlabs.com/ NIST: ois.nist.gov/srmcatalog/ USGS: minerals.cr.usgs.gov/geo_chem_stand/ Rocklabs: www.rocklabs.com/ Geostats: www.geostats.com.au African Minerals: www.amis.co.za
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The Use of Standards


Certified Reference Material (CRMs)
New standard certificates include the Between Lab Standard Deviation, which is to be used in assessing accuracy of a single analysis.

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The Use of Standards


Property Specific Standards
Standard 1, Round Robin

Gold, gpt

Round Robin analysis and statistical calculations.

1.10 1.05 1.00 0.95 0.90 0.85 0.80 0.75 0.70 0.65 0.60 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 L2 L2L2 L2L2 L1 L1 L1 L1 L1 L1 L1 L1 L1 L1 L3 L3 L3 L3L3 L3 L4 L2 L3 L3 L4 L4 L2 L3 L2 L3 L2 L4 L4 L4 L5 L5 L5 L5L5L5 L5L5 L5 L5 L2

L4 L4 L4 L4

Analytical Order

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The Use of Standards


Property Specific Standards
Standard chart with standards from drill samples.
Assay Grade (Au gr/T)

Standard 1 Gold Round Robin and Drill Holes

1.00 L3

Round Robin Data


0.90 L3 L3 L3

Drill Data

Mean + 2SD

L1 L1 L1 L1 L1 L1 L1 L1L1 0.80 L1 L1 L1 L1L1 L1 L1 L1 L1 L1 L1 L1 L1 L1 L1 L1 0.70

L2

L3 L3

L3

L3 L3 L3

Note: lab does better as drill program proceeds.

L2 L2 L2 L2 L2 L2 L2 L2 L2 L2 L2 L2 L2 L2 L2

L3L3 L3 L3L3 L3 L3 L3

L3 L2 L2 L2 L2 L2 L2 L3 L2

P-27 P-27 P-28 L4 P-27 P-24 P-26 P-26 P-27 P-29 P-29 P-24 P-25 P-26 P-24 P-29 P-29 P-31 P-31 P-27 P-28 P-31 P-32 P-32 P-32 P-32 P-33 P-34 P-34 P-36 P-25 P-32 P-24 P-25 P-25 P-26 P-28 P-31 P-31 P-33 P-34 P-35 P-35 P-35 P-36 P-37 P-38 P-30 P-30 P-35 P-38 P-26 P-30 P-30 L4 L4 L4 L4 L4 L4 L4 L4L4 L4L4 L4 L4 L4 L4 L4 L4 L4 L4 P-25 P-28 L4 L4 L4 L4 L4

Mean

L3
Mean - 2SD

0.60 L3 0.50 L2

L3 L3 L3

0.40 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180

Number of Samples

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The Use of Standards


Property Specific Standards
Field Screw Ups
4.50 4.00

Standard C3, Au

Failed standards caused by poor sample storage and contamination of standard in field.

92 84 114 AC AC GL GL GL GL AC GL AC AC SGS GL GL GL 86 87 89 AC BC 109 114 GL GL BC 79 BC BC AC AC 79 93 95 79 108 CM SGS SGS 107 99 100 104 BC BC AC 112 SGS 80 81 86 91 106 110 118 BC BC 92 BC AC SGS 82 88 90 SGS BC CM SGS 87 SGS 89 108109 114 SGS SGS 100 116 ACT 94 97 CM CMCM CM CM 116 ACT 110 ACT ACT CM CM 110 111 116 ACT 117 ACT ACT ACT ACT 105 79 ACT 99 105 97 117 CM 88 104 108 85 86 79 90 89 0 20 40 60 80 96 98 94 97 99 100 109 120 140

3.50

Au, gpt
3.00 2.50 2.00

Analysis Number 81

Standards in drill samples


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The Use of Standards


Property Specific Standards
a0213053

Inventing ways to screw up. Give the standard a name in the data base. Wrong standard selected in the field.
Gold, g/t

SPD-2 Standard Samples


1.20

Failure wrong standard name


1.10

1.00

0.90

a0213683 a0213574 a0213487 a0212001 a0118681 a0129828 a0130261 a0130563 a0129829 a0211855 a0118683 a0130257 a0210946 a0213887 a0210677 a0212111 a0129055 a0211201 a0211494 a0129319 a0212179 a0211491 a0211497 a0117844 a0128554 a0210954 a0211204 a0130973 a0211771 a0116918 a0116916 A0114936 a0116920 a0119059 0.80 a0117842 a0118687 a0116322 a0117839 A0115476 A0116318 A0115473 A0114939 0.70 A0115477 0.60

Failure

0.50

0.40 0 5 10 15 20 25 Work Order Number 30 35 40 45 50

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The Use of Standards


Property Specific Standards
a0213052

SPD-1 Standard Samples

Inventing ways to screw up. Give the standard a name in the data base. Wrong standard selected in the field.
Gold, g/t

7.50

7.30

Failures
7.10 a0213682 a0128088 a0130258 a0211200 a0210680 a0211492 a0129317 a0213888 a0129827 a0211856 a0212112 a0212187 a0211772 a0212850 a0211203 a0129829 a0130972 a0210952 a0211498 a0211495 a0128553 a0129054 a0130565 a0130569 a0210945 a0130975 a0213572 LI09575-0

6.90 6.70 A0114938

6.50

a0116915 a0118682 A0115472 A0116320 a0117838 a0118685 a0117841 A0114935 a0118690

6.30

a0119063 a0119272 a0116917 a0117845

6.10

5.90

5.70

Failure (blank)
5.50 0 5 10 15 a0128089 20 25 Work Order Number 30 35 40 45 50

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The Use of Standards


Property Specific Standards
Porphyry Copper Project

Cu, %

Field standard showing both drift and change in instrument.

0.45 0.44 0.43 0.42 0.41 0.40 0.39 0.38 0.37 0.36 0.35 0.34 0.33 0.32 0.31 0.30 0 100 200 300 Analysis Number 400 500 600

Calibration drift

5 % difference in average grade

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The Use of Field Blank


Most contamination occurs during sample preparation. Blanks must therefore be submitted from the field to the preparation laboratory.
Field Blanks, Preparation Contamination
45.0 40.0 35.0 30.0
Silver, gpt

25.0

Failed Blanks
20.0 15.0 10.0 5.0 0.0 75 80 85 90 95 100 105 110 115 120 Drill Hole Number

Warning Level

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This contamination was found by the field blank only, not by the laboratory. It originated in the steel of the pulverizer, that contained 95 g/t Au.

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Au ppb
100 120 160 140 180 200 240 220 260 280 320 300 340 360 400 380 420 440 480 460 500 20 40 80 60 0
08/10/1998 12/10/1998 16/10/1998 20/10/1998 24/10/1998 28/10/1998 01/11/1998 05/11/1998 09/11/1998 13/11/1998 17/11/1998 21/11/1998 25/11/1998 29/11/1998 03/12/1998 07/12/1998 11/12/1998 15/12/1998 19/12/1998 23/12/1998 27/12/1998 31/12/1998 04/01/1999 08/01/1999 12/01/1999 16/01/1999 20/01/1999 24/01/1999 28/01/1999 01/02/1999 05/02/1999 09/02/1999 13/02/1999 17/02/1999 21/02/1999 25/02/1999

1998

Massive Batch Contamination

Field Blank Au ppb

The Use of Field Blank

Date of Analysis

Warning Level

1999

The Use of Field Blank


P-35 P-36

The beginning of a drilling program usually has the most failures, as the laboratory becomes accustomed to the samples.

Field Blank
0.30

0.25 P-24 0.20

Assay Grade (Au gr/T)

Drill Hole Number


P-38

0.15 P-25 0.10 P-24 0.05 P-24 P-24 P-24P-25 P-25 P-25 P-27 P-27P-27 P-29 P-29 P-29 P-24 P-24 P-24 P-24 P-25 P-25 P-25 P-25 P-25 P-26 P-26 P-26 P-26 P-26 P-26 P-26 P-26 P-26 P-26 P-27 P-27 P-27 P-27 P-27 P-27 P-28 P-28 P-28 P-28 P-28 P-28 P-28 P-28 P-28 P-28 P-29 P-29 P-29 P-29 P-29 P-30 P-30 P-30 P-30 P-30 P-30 P-30 P-30 P-30 P-31 P-31 P-31 P-31 P-31 P-31 P-31 P-31 P-31 P-32 P-32 P-32 P-32 P-32 P-32 P-32 P-32 P-32 P-32 P-33 P-33 P-33 P-33 P-33 P-33 P-33 P-33 P-34 P-34 P-34 P-34 P-34 P-34 P-34 P-34 P-35 P-35 P-35 P-35 P-35 P-35 P-35 P-36 P-36 P-36 P-36 P-36 P-36 P-37 P-38 P-38 P-38 P-38 P-38 P-38 P-38 P-38 0.00 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 P-26

Warning Level

Number of Samples

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The Use of Field Blank


Example of field blank using unmineralized core.

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The Use of Field Duplicates


1st step in handling duplicate data is to plot the original analysis vs the duplicate analysis. Look for fliers that may indicate sample mis-ordering or nugget effect.
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Precision Resources Field Duplicates
25000

20000

Regression Line 1:1 Line

Gold, Duplicate

15000

10000

Possible sample mix-ups

5000

0 0 5000 10000 Gold, Original 15000 20000 25000

The Use of Field Duplicates


1st step in handling duplicate data is to plot the original analysis vs the duplicate analysis. Look for fliers that may indicate sample mis-ordering or nugget effect.
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Example of Bias Chart
4.0 3.5 1:1 Line 3.0

2.5

Au 2, gpt

2.0

1.5

1.0

0.5

0.0 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0

Au 1, gpt

The Use of Field Duplicates


Calculate the mean of the duplicates and the absolute difference between the duplicates to look for the relationship between grade and precision.
Difference vs Mean of Duplicates
1.2

1.0

Absolute Diff of Duplicates - Au (g/t)

0.8

0.6

0.4

0.2

0.0 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5

Mean of Duplicates - Au (g/t)

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The Use of Field Duplicates


Thompson-Howarth Estimate of Precision
Sort the mean and absolute differences by increasing mean. Then group the data in sets of 11 samples. Calculate the mean of each set of 11 and the median difference. Plot these.
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Thompson-Howarth Precision Calculation Regression of Groups of 11
0.20

Regression Equation
y = 0.0493x + 0.0112
Median Diff of Gps of 11 Duplicates - Au
0.15

0.10

0.05

0.00 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5

Mean of Gps of 11 Duplicates - Au (g/t)

The Use of Field Duplicates


Thompson-Howarth Estimate of Precision
Calculate the regression equation of the linear regression line.

Regression Coefficients Intercept X Variable 0.0112 = So 0.0493 = K

Pc=2So/C + 2K

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The Use of Field Duplicates


Thompson-Howarth Estimate of Precision
C Pc
234.36 122.11 65.98 54.76 32.31 24.82 21.08 18.83 17.34 16.27 15.47 14.84 14.34 13.94 13.60 13.31

Use the formula to calculate the relationship between precision and concentration

0.01 0.02 0.04 0.05 0.10 0.15 0.20 0.25 0.30 0.35 0.40 0.45 0.50 0.55 0.60 0.65

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The Use of Field Duplicates


Thompson-Howarth Estimate of Precision
Plot this precision data on a chart.
Precision (%)

Thompson-Howarth Precision vs Concentration


100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2.0

Concentration, Au, gpt

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The Use of Field Duplicates


Thompson-Howarth Estimate of Precision
Repeat this procedure for all three types of duplicates. This will show where the major error is in the sampling and analytical protocol.
All Dup Precision, Au, All Data
100 Pulp Dup 90 Prep Dup Core dup 80

70

60
Precision, %

50

40

30

20

10

0 0.00

0.20

0.40

0.60

0.80

1.00 Au, g/t

1.20

1.40

1.60

1.80

2.00

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Quality Control Logic


Decision logic is required for each project to decide if a QC sample is a failure, and a reason for the failure.

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Quality Control Logic


Example of Logic for Gold Project

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Example of Table of Failures

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