Grade-tonnage and other models for diamond kimberlite pipes

Nonrenewable Resources

DOI: 10.1007/BF01782275



Grade-tonnage and other quantitative models help give reasonable answers to questions about diamond kimberlite pipes. Diamond kimberlite pipes are those diamondiferous kimberlite pipes that either have been worked or are expected to be worked for diamonds. These models are not applicable to kimberlite dikes and sills or to lamproite pipes. Diamond kimberlite pipes contain a median 26 million metric tons (mt); the median diamond grade is 0.25 carat/metric ton (ct/mt). Deposit-specific models suggest that the median of the average diamond size is 0.07 ct and the median percentage of diamonds that are industrial quality is 67 percent. The percentage of diamonds that are industrial quality can be predicted from deposit grade using a regression model (log[industrial diamonds (percent)]=1.9+0.2 log[grade (ct/mt)]). The largest diamond in a diamond kimberlite pipe can be predicted from deposit tonnage using a regression model (log[largest diamond (ct)]=-1.5+0.54 log[size (mt]). The median outcrop area of diamond pipes is 12 hectares (ha). Because the pipes have similar forms, the tonnage of the deposits can be predicted by the outcrop area (log[size (mt)]=6.5+1.0 log[outcrop area (ha)]). Once a kimberlite pipe is identified, the probability is approximately .005 that it can be worked for diamonds. If a newly discovered pipe is a member of a cluster that contains a known diamond kimberlite pipe, the probability that the new discovery can be mined for diamonds is 56 times that for a newly discovered kimberlite pipe in a cluster without a diamond kimberlite pipe. About 30 percent of pipes with worked residual caps at the surface will be worked at depth. Based on the number of discovered deposits and the area of stable craton rocks thought to be well explored in South Africa, about 10-5 diamond kimberlite pipes are present per square kilometer. If this density is applicable to the South American Precambrian Shield, more than 70 undiscovered kimberlite pipes are predicted to be present. ?? 1992 Oxford University Press.

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Grade-tonnage and other models for diamond kimberlite pipes
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Nonrenewable Resources
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Kluwer Academic Publishers
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