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Scientific Investigations Report 2010–5090–B

Aggregation of Estimated Numbers of Undiscovered Mineral Deposits—An R-Script with an Example from the Chu Sarysu Basin, Kazakhstan

By John H. Schuenemeyer, Michael L. Zientek, and Stephen E. Box

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Mineral resource assessments completed by the U.S. Geological Survey during the past three decades express geologically based estimates of numbers of undiscovered mineral deposits as probability distributions. Numbers of undiscovered deposits of a given type are estimated in geologically defined regions. Using Monte Carlo simulations, these undiscovered deposit estimates are combined with tonnage and grade models to derive a probability distribution describing amounts of commodities and rock that could be present in undiscovered deposits within a study area. In some situations, it is desirable to aggregate the assessment results from several study areas. This report provides a script developed in open-source statistical software, R, that aggregates undiscovered deposit estimates of a given type, assuming independence, total dependence, or some degree of correlation among aggregated areas, given a user-specified correlation matrix.

First posted July 14, 2011

  • This report is available only on the Web.

For additional information:
Contact Information, Mineral Resources Program
U.S. Geological Survey
12201 Sunrise Valley Drive
913 National Center
Reston, VA 20192

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Suggested citation:

Schuenemeyer, J.H., Zientek, M.L, and Box, S.E., 2011, Aggregation of estimated numbers of undiscovered deposits—an R-script with an example from the Chu Sarysu Basin, Kazakhtan: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2010–5090–B, 13 p., available at



Assessment Method

Statistics of Aggregation

Aggregation Code to Combine Undiscovered Deposit Estimates

Input File 1: Number of Deposits and Associated Probabilities

Input File 2: Correlation Matrix of Assessor- Defined Dependencies




References Cited

six appendixes


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