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Sentinel, Sediment hosted Cu deposit, Zambia

The Sentinel project is a sediment hosted copper deposit in Zambia being developed by First Quantum Minerals Ltd.


The project has been explored by nearly 800 drill-holes and >7MT of contained copper has been defined. What could we learn from relooking at the data for such a well drilled project?


The first thing we can do is do a series of simple grade interpolants to determine the distribution of economic elements?

Sediment hosted copper, Sentinel, Zambian Copper belt, 3D grade model

Here is the final model, with a series of narrow epithermal silver veins emplaced into the surrounding quartz monzonite. A later rhyolite stock cuts the veins.


In addition, using Google Earth, we were able to modelled a series of veins from the location and orientation of historic mine workings.


Sediment hosted copper, Sentinel, Zambian Copper belt, 3D grade model

We can see that the grade interpolants have identified distinct trends in the copper grades with a number of high grade shoots trending to the WNW (above) that was not recognized from the traditional section approach to grade modelling (left).


The grade interpolant only took a few minutes to model, compared to several weeks of manually digitizing grade shells, section by section using the traditional approach. It this appreaoch had been done sooner, these high grade zones would have been recognized earlier.

San Celso 3D geology Model, epithermal vein model
Silver grade model for epithermal silver veins

But that isn't all we can do!


Here is a quick interplant of the silver assays from the chip channel samples taken from the old workings.


e can see clear trends in the mineralisation and see that where there are vein intersections and changes in orientations, we can see that silver grades are significantly higher than in other areas.

So just with working is a small data set for a few days has produced:

  1. A high quality geology model

  2. A simple grade model showing trends in silver mineralisation

  3. Location several unsampled veins on the property.

  4. The mineralisation appears open to depth as the workings stop at ~100m depth (i.e. to the water table).


This model can now be taken and used to direct exploration to focus where it should be conducted.

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