Ekaterina Pelenkova has a Master's Degree in Geology from Laurentian University (Canada) followed by more than 12 years of experience in the mineral exploration industry. Experience in the field of geological exploration began as a specialist in the Geological Services Department of LLC MC Intergeo and the Department of Mineral Resources of PJSC MMC Norilsk Nickel. Work experience includes exploration, implementation and management of QA / QC programs for Ni-Cu-PGE deposits, porphyry Cu-Mo-Au and gold deposits. During two years of work at the international consulting company Micon International, Ekaterina gained experience in resource modeling the Au, Li, and Au-Sb-Hg deposits in Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. After joining the Micromine team, Ekaterina authored and successfully gives the “Quality Assurance and Quality Control (QA / QC) of geological data” course for industry specialists.
Implicit modelling – a good tool or a bubble of soap?
Like the common transition from analogue to digital, implicit modelling is gradually replacing time-consuming geological wireframing with a fast, streamlined digital solution. The main strength of the implicit process is that sectional resource delineation is not required anymore in order to create a wireframe. Instead, the software uses radial basis function to create the 3D shells for you based on the points, polylines, polygons or drillhole interval input data. That means, geologists can get results without spending days on a traditional interpretation and wireframing. As a result, the latest tendencies are that more and more JORC and NI 43-101 resource estimates are carried out based on implicitly modeled shells.
However, while being a numerical process and thus providing less subjectivity and bias to interpretation, implicit modelling, left alone and not guided by understanding of geology and software, may lose track of reality and create resources that would burst like a soap bubble when the mining comes in.
Implicit modelling is just a tool, not an all-encompassing artificial intelligence. The geologist should take control of the process by limiting tools, variography-based anisotropic search ellipse models or structural trend model to develop geologically realistic shapes. For illustrative purposes, a traditional wireframe model of gold deposit is compared to the implicit models build will various software tools.