The Tichauer-DeTomi Matrix: a Tool for Assessment of Geological Uncertainty in Small-scale Mining

  • Ricardo TichauerEmail author
  • Giorgio De Tomi


Mineral exploration is a critical step for success in mining. However, small-scale mining often ignores exploration best practices. This paper introduces the Tichauer-DeTomi Matrix, a tool for assessment of geological uncertainty in small-scale mining. This matrix, which measures the level of compliance of exploration programs in small deposits with industry best practices, has been applied to three small mining projects in Brazil: an artisanal gold mine in the Amazon, a small-scale manganese mining venture in the Northeast, and a small manganese deposit in the Southeast. The application of the matrix resulted in indexes that reflect the actual level of maturity of the mineral exploration program in each project. Therefore, the matrix has shown potential to be an effective tool for assessment of the geological uncertainty remaining in small-scale mineral projects, as well as to identify priority exploration activities for reduction of risks associated with the geological uncertainty. As a risk assessment tool, the Tichauer-DeTomi Matrix may be helpful in promoting investment and sustained development in and around small mines.


Small-scale mining Mineral exploration Tichauer-DeTomi Matrix 



This study was financed by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior-Brasil (CAPES)-Finance Code 001 and by the National Scientific Council (CNPQ)-Grant 3061177/2017-0.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration Inc. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mining and Petroleum EngineeringUSP - Universidade de São PauloSão PauloBrazil

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