Conventional Methods of Resource / Reserve Estimation

2 modules


Course Length
18 hours

Edumine Courses

08 Feb 2024



The investment necessary to start a mine is of the order of 10's to 100's of millions of dollars. In order for the investment to be profitable, the potential product in the ground must be present in adequate quantities and quality to justify a decision to invest. Mining and processing systems used to extract the products must then operate so as to produce revenue to offset the planned investment and to provide an acceptable profit. Clearly, all technological and financial decisions regarding planned production are built on an understanding of the mineral assets available.

Thus, the estimation of grade and location of material in the ground (in situ resources) must be known with an acceptable degree of confidence. This is especially true of certain large, low grade deposits for which grade is only slightly above minimum profitable levels, and for some precious metal deposits where only a small percentage of mineralized ground can be mined at a profit. Mining profits are strongly leveraged to product price and to realized grade of material mined. A small difference between planned (estimated) and realized production grade, or a small change in metal price, can have a large impact on mine profitability.

The three undertakings, ore estimation, mine planning and grade control, are complementary in an efficient mining operation and are natural progressions one to another. The integration of these three endeavors is important because the grade control system must balance with the ore reserve as well as with the final products of the operating plant, and both estimation and grade control are influenced by planned operational procedures. If this balance is not achieved then the original investment may be in jeopardy. Reappraisals of mineral inventories can be necessary many times both prior to and during the life of a mine.

Resource/reserve estimation procedures commonly are considered in two categories, empirical and geostatistical. This course is confined to the principal empirical methods of estimation.


  • Alastair J. Sinclair


Duration: 18 Hours
Access: 90 Days
Category: Exploration
Level: Specialize
Version Date: June 22, 2006

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Course Content

The principal topics covered include:

  • Essential Concepts, Geological Continuity, Value Continuity
  • Dilution, Regionalized Variables, Accuracy and Precision, Block Estimation
  • Ore/Waste Boundaries, Conditional Bias, Cross Validation, Systematic Approach
  • Sectional Methods, Polygonal and Triangular Methods, Inverse Distance and Contouring

The course comprises 16 working sessions, 5 exercise sessions, numerous figures and supporting materials, and 4 interactive review sessions designed to confirm the learning objectives. Course duration is equivalent to approximately 18 hours of viewing content.

Learning Outcomes

  • Discuss the essential concepts of mineral reserve estimation using empirical methods, including the concepts of geological continuity and value continuity.
  • Discuss the effects of dilution, regionalized variables, accuracy and precision, ore/waste boundaries, and conditional bias on mineral reserve estimation.
  • Discuss the requirements of block estimation, the advantages of a systematic approach, and use of cross-validation.
  • Discuss empirical methods of mineral reserve estimation, including sectional methods, polygonal and triangular methods, and inverse distance and contouring methods.
  • Apply the knowledge gained to understanding, reviewing, and performing mineral reserve estimations.

Recommended Background

  • A degree in geology, mining or related discipline.
  • An understanding of the basic principles and methods of statistics.
  • An understanding of the basic principles of geostatistical semi-variograms.


By completing/passing this course, you will attain the certificate Edumine Certification

Learning Credits

Conventional Methods of Resource / Reserve Estimation
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Added 4 months ago, by Anonymous
very instructive course
Added 5 months ago, by GARRY
very comprehensive coverage and easy to follow The content follows closely the excellent text by Sinclair . Highly recommended
Added 5 months ago, by John
Added 10 months ago, by Chloe
Added over 1 year ago, by Anonymous
I really enjoyed the course, even if i expected it a little more challenging. Reading was relatively fast, probably because the concepts were really summarised and simplified. No deep theory explained. I also found the references old. I inderstand that the basics of geostatistics were sets many years ago and the suggested reading books are still valid bibliography sources. However i think the course deserves an update, also in light of moderns development of practical implamentation of mineral evaluation methods. Let's see the exercice part of it, maybe i will review my opinion.
Added over 2 years ago, by Jean-Daniel
Added almost 3 years ago, by Anonymous
It was a great course overall.
Added over 3 years ago, by Anonymous
Good course, but a bit brief. I was expecting more content. Also, small black and white figures are often hard to read. Color figures and the ability to magnify would be helpful. I will still recommend the course to my colleagues however.
Added over 3 years ago, by Robert
Added over 3 years ago, by Fred

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