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Yamana Gold owns a high grade underground gold-silver mine in northern Chile, 160 km from Antofagasta. El Peñón is a low-sulphide epithermal deposit with mineralisation hosted in veins and hydrothermal breccias.
The mining method is split blasting by benching and filling, where an excavation allows ore to be extracted between two previously developed sublevels (drifts).
The objective was to obtain solids representing current available mineable resources, subject to technical and economic evaluation for determining reserves and developing long-term mine plans. Vulcan was used to maintain up-to-date in situ geological resources for each of the veins of the deposit.
An updated representative solid resource model is fundamental to determination of reserves and the subsequent development of long-term mining plans.
A solid representation (grade shell) of each of the veins is created, taking into account geological modelling information linked to drilling and channel sampling. The resource is updated by solids derived from topographic survey with the Maptek I-Site laser scanner, and survey data of the mine interior.
Where veins do not bifurcate, a polygon is drawn around the ore zone, and a solid is generated from the polygon enclosing the exploited/mined area. When complicated branching of veins occurs, polygons are constructed around the orebody. Complex solids must be generated that do not exceed the ore limit.
Boolean sectioning tools are used to create accurate solids. This allows the actual in situ geological resources to be generated.
At present the planning and development management team performs this work using a series of manual steps; future plans to automate the process will see further improvement. Collaboration and continuous feedback between El Peñón’s experience and software innovator Maptek resulted in the development of an effective solution for in situ reserving.
Thanks to Pablo Quiero Jaque
Long Term Planning Engineer
Yamana Gold - El Peñón
Presented at 2012 South America Users Conference