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The fuzzy classification of geometallurgical domains

F. Khorram, O. Asghari, H. Memarian, A.H. Morshedy and X.M. Emery


Mineral reserves are heterogeneous by nature, which can lead to a high variability in the intrinsic features of ores and in the responses to mineral processing operations. A geometallurgical model, along with a reliable reservoir block model, helps to quantify the significant variabilities and develop programs to deal with them. It is an important tool for mitigating production risks and improving economic performance in the modern mining industry. In complex porphyry ore deposits, samples with high sulphide copper and high oxide copper will be processed via flotation and heap-leaching units sequentially. Therefore, a geochemical domaining based on total copper grade and its oxide and sulfide fractions can be inferred as the block processing destinations to different processing units or waste dump. Routine classification methods separate two domains with a sharp boundary. Since the error in grade estimation is unavoidable, the geometallurgical classification based on geochemical domaining will face uncertainty. Selecting a range threshold for each boundary, defining fuzzy membership functions, and assigning a membership degree to different classes for each sample would be a solution for this problem. This approach helps remove uncertainty in decision making, reduces the risk and increases the profitability of the project. This geometallurgical model is applied for different block dimensions with the aim of comparing the results.