Prediction of copper recovery from geometallurgical data using D-vine copulas


The accurate modelling of geometallurgical data can significantly improve decision-making and help optimize mining operations. This case study compares models for predicting copper recovery from three indirect test measurements that are typically available, to avoid the cost of direct measurement of recovery. Geometallurgical data from 930 drill core samples, with an average length of 19 m, from an orebody in South America have been analysed. The data includes copper recovery and the results of three other tests: Bond mill index test; resistance to abrasion and breakage index; and semi-autogenous grinding power index test. A genetic algorithm is used to impute missing data at some locations so as to make use of all 930 samples. The distribution of the variables is modelled with D-vine copula and predictions of copper recovery are compared with those from regressions fitted by ordinary least squares and generalized least squares. The D-vine copula model had the least mean absolute error.

Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy