Physical measures of mineral deposit characteristics, such as grade and tonnage, long have been used in both subjective and analytic models to predict favorability of areas for the occurrence of mineral deposits of particular types. After a deposit has been identified, however, the explorationist must decide whether to continue data collection, begin an economic feasibility study, or abandon the prospect. The decision maker can estimate the probability that a deposit will be commercial by examining physical measures. The amount of sampling data required before such a probability estimate can be considered reliable can be determined. A logit probability model estimated from onshore titanium-bearing heavy-mineral deposit data identifies and quantifies the relative influence of a deposit's physical measures on the chances of the deposit becoming commercial. A principal conclusion that can be drawn from the analysis is that, along with a measure of deposit size, the characteristics most important in predicting commercial potential are grades of the constituent minerals. Total heavy-mineral-bearing sand grade or even total titanium grade (without data on constituent mineral grades) are poor predictors of the deposit's commercial potential. ?? 1988 International Association for Mathematical Geology.
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Physical deposit measures and commercial potential: The case of titanium-bearing heavy-mineral deposits