by Todd Wakefield
Sometimes lost in the rush to release the initial resource estimate for a mineral project is the importance of validating the exploration data upon which the resource estimate will be based. This is particularly true when a project has been acquired, rather than developed, by the company.
A good data validation program ensures that the digital database accurately represents the original data. The digital database is compared with the original assay certificates, logs, and collar and down-hole surveys to ensure that the data were loaded correctly. Numerical data are also queried to confirm that they fall within expected ranges.
Some checks that are not commonly performed, but are critical to measuring a project’s data quality include:
- Confirmation samples - independent samples collected on site to confirm the grade or other critical characteristics of the project
- Collar surveys - independent surveys of drill hole collar locations to confirm the accuracy of the original surveys
- Density measurements - independent collection and determination of density to confirm the accuracy of the measurements collected during the exploration drilling program
Independent checks, in addition to a thorough data validation program, provide confidence to management, investors, and auditors that the exploration data are reproducible. These independent checks are particularly important in due diligence and third-party audit situations, but are also effective as part of a rigorous internal data quality program.