A two-day Mineral Resource Estimation (MRE) conference organised by the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM) was held in the last week of May in Perth, Western Australia.  Derisk director Mark Berry attended a format that included key-note presentations, technical talks, panel discussions, and a session presenting results of the Parker Challenge.  This challenge involved competitors preparing a Mineral Resource estimate using a Rio Tinto supplied drillhole database from the Oyu Tolgoi camp in Mongolia.

This conference was badged as the inaugural MRE conference.  However, MRE is always a key theme in the International Mining Geology series of conferences that is co-hosted by AusIMM and the Australian Institute of Geoscientists (AIG), having been run 12 times since 1989 – most recently in 2022.  In many ways the content at this conference complemented the content of the Mining Geology conferences, except for the innovation of the Parker Challenge.  

The key message from this conference is that there are lots of great things happening in the MRE space, but the emphasis on a sound understanding of geology, structure, weathering, alteration, and mineralisation remains essential to the preparation of a robust MRE.  Numerous talks presented case studies on the application of artificial intelligence and machine learning to MRE.  To be successfully implemented any tool, including implicit modelling and all estimation methods, must be carefully guided by geoscientists with a strong understanding of the overall geological framework and mineralisation controls.  This message has remained true ever since the very first MRE was prepared, yet it is amazing and perplexing that it needs to be repeated at each and every conference where MRE talks are presented.  Why is this so?