Matrix report worth its weight in gold

Same time thirteen years ago some of Bre-X`s test results for gold landed on my desk. I had not asked for Bre-X’s data. But I had agreed to and signed a three-year confidentiality agreement with Barrick Gold Corporation. I did so on December 16, 1996. It was the very same confidentiality agreement Barrick Gold Corporation and Bre-X Minerals had signed a few days earlier. The first set of Bre-X data were transmitted by facsimile on December 17, 1996. I didn’t know then that my life would never be the same. Bre-X’s infamous phantom gold resource is but part of a tangled tale with as many twists and turns as Matheron took to create his new science of geostatistics. It’s a tale that taught me a lot more about the mining industry than I cared to know.
I sorted out the Bre-X fraud faster than Bre-X’s salting squad took to cook it up. I thought Barrick liked what I did. At least Barrick did when I applied statistics to prove that Bre-X was a salting scam.Barrick liked it so much that I signed on July 4, 1997 a Consulting Services Agreement with Barrick Goldstrike Mines Inc. I submitted on August 18, 1997 my report on Statistical Quality and Grade Control . Geostatisticians on Barrick’s staff didn’t think much of it. I had applied Fisher’s F-test to verify spatial dependence between gold grades of ordered core sections from a single borehole by applying it to the variance of the set and the first variance term of the ordered set. I had done the same thing with Bre-X’s salted boreholes. Stanford’s Journel would have assumed spatial dependence. But then, Matheron’s most gifted disciple never signed a Consulting Services Agreement with Barrick Goldstrike Mines Inc.When I was working with Bre-X’s test results my closest contact was a staff mining engineer at Barrick Gold Corporation in Toronto. We got along great because he knew plenty about sampling and assaying. And he knew why Bre-X’s bogus grades and Busang’s barren rock added up to a geostatistically engineered gold resource. He also knew how to test for spatial dependence, and why geostatistics should not be applied in reserve and resource estimation. He asked me whether I wanted to take a look at a large set of borehole data for a real gold deposit. Guess what? So, I did agree to and signed on October 22, 1997 a confidentiality agreement with Barrick Gold Corporation. I submitted my report on Confidence Limits for Gold Contents and Grades on February 9, 1998. When I called my contact to find out what he thought of my report he said, “It’s worth its weight in gold.” I didn’t ask him to put it in writing. His word was good enough for me.

Worth its Weight in Gold

Geologists, mining engineers and mineral process engineers rarely agree on metal grades of in-situ ores, mined ores and mill feed. I lived through many such rituals. The top brass wants high mineral inventories in glossy annual reports and geostatistics always delivers. Barrick’s geologists found confidence limits for gold contents and grades of mineral inventories a bit much of a commitment. Shareholders do want a measure for risk.
Another year passed by, Christmas 1999 came along, and the Confidentiality Agreement between Barrick Gold Corporation and Bre-X Minerals expired. I liked to talk about the Bre-X fraud. So, Barrick engaged lawyers who wanted to come to Vancouver and tell me why I should not talk. I called on a friend and the visit to Vancouver was cancelled. All I have done since Christmas 1996 is show why geostatistics is a scientific fraud.
What Barrick asked me ten year later blew my mind. Barrick wanted more consulting services. I’m not about to describe the required services but it had nothing to do with confidence limits for gold contents and grades of in-situ ore. I agreed to and signed on March 20, 2007 a Consulting Services Agreement for services to be provided at Barrick Technology Centre, Vancouver, BC. My contact had a lot of practical experience but stood to gain from a touch of real statistics. Before we could get going he was needed at Barrick’s Bulyanhulu gold mine in northwest Tanzania. Long before Barrick acquired Placer-Dome and its Bulyanhulu deposit I knew that Placer-Dome had some dedicated geostatisticians on board.
A Munk Debates on scientific fraud makes no sense. Who would debate the case for scientific fraud? Yet, a scientific fraud does underpin the practice of reserve and resource estimation all over the world. Shamelessly self-serving peer review is all it took. But that’s another story. I have called it Behind Bre-X, The Whistleblower’s Story.

Who wants more Munk Debates?

Who wouldn’t! Debates beat apathy. The Munk Debates is cool. The more so since climate change was the theme for the Fourth Munk Debates. Climate change, just like continental drift, has been around for a few billion years. It took geologists from 1915 to 1950 to slow down to continental drift and call it plate tectonics. So, it’s about time to debate climate change. Why not call it weather dynamics? I work with metrology, the science of measurement. I took a crack at testing whether or not annual temperatures at several locations in Canada have changed significantly as a function of time. The average temperature of 6.57 centigrade in 2007 at Ottawa International Airport was significantly higher than the average temperature of 4.79 centigrade in 1939. Similarly, the average temperature of 8.30 centigrade in 2007 at Toronto International Airport was significantly higher than the average temperature of 6.04 centigrade in 1939. Average temperatures didn’t change at international airports in Calgary, Vancouver and Victoria. Neither did the average temperature in Coral Harbour and Iqaluit change significantly during the test period under examination.

Some grasp of statistics is required to apply Fisher’s F-test and verify spatial dependence between annual temperatures in ordered sets. Weather dynamics do change from day to day, from week to week, and from month to month. Such short-term changes in temperatures do not merit a Munk Debates. What does merit a Munk Debates is the question whether or not geostatistics is a scientific fraud.
Here’s in a nutshell my take on the Fourth Munk Debates. Elizabeth May is Leader of the Green Party of Canada. She is a gifted and confident speaker. She knows a lot of environmental stuff. She doesn’t know much about temperatures recorded by Environment Canada. Given that the Leader of the Green Party does speak a lot in public, she should know where temperatures went up or down, since when, and by how much.
George Monbiot was her partner in the Fourth Munk Debates. He is a superb scribe with the Guardian newspaper where his penchant for hyperboles runs rampant. How to measure climate change as a function of space and time is far beyond his grasp. Monbiot says cool things such as, “Canada is a cultured, peaceful nation, which every so often allows a band of Neanderthals to trample over it.” He doesn’t know Sir Ronald A Fisher ‘s work is trampled over by a tribe of statistically dysfunctional geoscientists bred in France, Great Britain, and elsewhere on this planet. The May/Monbiot side debated The Case For Climate Change.
Lord Nigel Lawson and Bjorn Lomborg debated The Case Against Climate Change. Lord Lawson is in a class apart when it comes to a life of public service in the United Kingdom of Great Britain. His work has done much to cool down global warming to climate change. He is the author of An Appeal to Reason, A Cool Look at Global Warming. He is the Chairman of Oxford Investment Partners, and of Central Europe Trust. As such, he knows all about mining conglomerates and mineral inventories in annual reports. He is bound to remember the Bre-X fraud. He may be unaware that geostatistical software converted Bre-X’s bogus grades and Busang’s barren rock into a huge phantom gold resource. Neither may Lord Lawson remember the cast of characters behind the Bre-X fraud.
Bjorn Lomborg’s claim to fame is based on The Skeptical Environmentalist and on Cool It. He is adjunct professor at the Copenhagen Business School. He also set up the Copenhagen Consensus Center to bring together those who set priorities for the world. I had brought to his attention in August 2008 that junk statistics underpins Matheron’s new science of geostatistics. I wanted to know whether he applies geostatistical data analysis. Environment Canada points to geostatistical data analysis in its handbook for inspectors. The skeptical environmentalist did not respond to my message.
The Merks and Merks team wants to debate The Case Against Geostatistics. Dr Frits P Agterberg, Emeritus Scientist with Natural Resources Canada, and Dr Roussos Dimitrakopoulos, Professor with McGill University, are highly qualified to debate The Case For Geostatistics. Both are serving in key positions with IAMG (International Association for Mathematical Geosciences). Once upon a time, IAMG stood for International Association for Mathematical Geology. Nowadays, our world needs more mathematical statistics.

2009 – A year of opportunity

Yes, you are reading this correctly.  There is no doubt that 2009 will go down in history as a year full of challenges and will always be thought of as the year of recession.  Personally, I could have lived without having to think about furloughs and workforce reductions.  But this year has also been fascinating to me because of the many businesses that I have come across, which managed to not only survival, but even thrived under the most difficult conditions.  They have figured out that superior core ethics and flexible strategic risk taking can bring you back into the middle of the business opportunities.

Of course there are certain business segments – construction and thus cement being a few of them – that are as volatile as they come and the phone just stopped ringing.  For some of us the company size and product range may be too inflexible.  There are all kinds of good reasons why your business has suffered and you had to react however you had to react to at least stay afloat. Regardless, I assert that there are two omni important things you can do to get back into a blazing saddle:

Get your own core ethics in shape and make sure that people know you for it; it is useless how many people you know.  Now is the time where you have to have a lot of people that will give you the first call for any business that they may be able to afford.  Core ethics and values are essential in keeping and maintaining a great dependable and knowledgeable workforce that can manage to be friendly to everyone – who wants to deal with miserable people when there is so little to smile about to begin with?  Know what your brand is and make sure your people know and live it too.  This nimble workforce and your brand image is going to help you putting revenue into your business, and you know that cash is still king.

The second success factor is that you need to take controlled risks.  You must know what is going on with your customers.  Now is not the time to skimp with your sales and definitely not your marketing budgets.  Make sure that your management team hits the road and sees your customers – period.  This does two things for your organization.  On one hand your top leadership gets to know how a customer really perceives you.  You get the opportunity to see and feel the discrepancy with your board room decisions and strategies.  The other side of the equation is that you get to know how you can help putting cash into the pocket of your customers by solving their issues or perhaps you get to create a need they did not even know that they had.

Either way, you and your leadership team are coming home with a punch list that is more or the less the roadmap to your continuing success.  Now you need to be just brave enough to act upon it and you will be off to a stellar 2010.

Ralf Weiser

Copyright:  Ralf Weiser 2009

Chatting with NRCan’s Emeritus Scientist

Dr Frits P Agterberg is Emeritus Scientist with Natural Resources Canada. He wrote a textbook on Geomathematics and scores of papers on a wide range of geological topics. He is the nimblest of geostatistical minds on this planet. His gift to assume spatial dependence between measured values in ordered sets is second to none but Stanford’s Journel. I called him on November 4, 2009, at NRCan in Ottawa but he was away from his Office. I caught him at home when I called his residence at 09:10 AM PDST. I asked him to explain why his zero- dimensional  distance-weighted average point grade does not have a variance.

Agterberg_problems

He hummed and huffed but didn’t speak to the matter of the missing variance. All I wanted to know is why the variance of his distance-weighted average point grade went missing. I pointed out the Central Limit Theorem would pop up if all of his measured points were equidistant to his selected point. NRCan’s Emeritus Scientist beats around the bush with the best. His textbook does refer to the Central Limit Theorem in Chapter 6 Probability and Statistics and Chapter 7 Frequency Distributions of Independent Random Variables but not in Chapter 10 Stationary Random Variables and Kriging. NRCan’s Emeritus Scientist has yet to give a clear and concise explanation why the Central Limit Theorem doesn’t apply to his distance-weighted average point grade.

I included Agterberg’s problems in my talk about Metrology in Mineral Exploration. I wanted to make a case at APCOM 2009 that distance-weighted average point grades do have variances. Nobody was ready for my show-and-tell but I got a gift. It was Clark’s Practical Geostatistics 2000. I found out that semi-variograms are still alive and below par. Here’s Clark’s problem. Her set of five (5) hypothetical uranium data doesn’t display a significant degree of spatial dependence. Thus, the concentration at the selected coordinates is not necessarily an unbiased estimate. Let’s find out what happens when coordinates are selected beyond her sample space.

Clark_mean

Who expects the distance-weighted average point grade to converge on zero? And who expects it to converge on the arithmetic mean? It’s a good test to find who is geostatistically gifted and who is not. I would rather test for spatial dependence between measured values in ordered sets and chart sampling variograms that show where spatial dependence dissipates into randomness. Come hell, high water, global cooling, polar warming, or another Bre-X.

My first APCOM affair was just as cluttered with geostat drivel as are all of IAMG’s shindigs. McGill’s Professor Dr Roussos Dimitrakopoulos sought to shed light on stochastic mine planning optimization. He is Editor-in-Chief, Journal for Mathematical Geosciences. That’s why all his work passes his own litmus test for scientific integrity with flying colors. Somehow, it may have slipped his mind how geostatistical software converted Bre-X’s bogus grades and Busang’s barren rock so smoothly into a massive phantom gold resource. But then, the geostatocracy has worked long and hard to ensure mining professionals never get a grasp of classical statistics.

It brings me back to my chat with NRCan’s Emeritus Scientist. I brought to his attention that a good test to verify McGill’s stochastic mine planning optimization would be to apply it to Bre-X’s data. Agterberg saw it differently because Bre-X’s data was “no real data”. No real data? But mining investors thought Bre-X was real! Didn’t Gemcom’s software convert Bre-X’s bogus grades and Busang’s barren rock into a massive phantom gold resource? And wasn’t the battle to take over Bre-X Minerals a really bizarre affair?

This was my second chat with NRCan’s Emeritus Scientist after we had found out in 1989 that geostatistics is a scientific fraud. It brought back an odd dialogue in 1992 with Dr W D Sinclair, Editor, CIM Bulletin, and Dr F P Agterberg, Associate Editor. We talked about a technical brief on Abuse of Statistics. I’ll keep that tangled tale for some other place and time!

Rock Star Leadership It is not What You Think

Do you have just about three minutes worth of time? Then please read my essay on the topic of leadership. Today more than any time in history are we in need of ethical leaders: At work, on the Internet, in our social networks, at school and of course at home. And each and every one of us can make a start. Like my granddad always told me: You have got to start with yourself?and do not expect others to go first.? Enjoy. Ralf

Our society has a skewed picture about ideal leadership. Rock star-type leaders with exuberant charisma dominate the media and people may believe that this is all it takes to be successful. Quite to the contrary, this showmanship cannot carry an organization infinitely, nor is it satisfying to work for individuals or companies with this leadership attribute. Long term and sustainable success come from leaders who think of others first and then themselves. They share self-awareness, humility and a fierce determination to make the company and its team members perpetually better. Good leaders treat the present moment as the only time they have to make a change instead of treating it as an obstacle or enemy to overcome. Who succeeds them is constantly on their mind they want their companies to be successful long after they are gone.
Research has found that organizations have been most successful with leaders that rose through the ranks of organizations. Some companies were found to have been in business for over 100 years. They owed their longevity to mostly quiet leaders that were determined to do what is right for the organizations. What made them great were in many cases the mistakes they had made first before making a breakthrough. By contrast, Lee Iacocca, Donald Trump and Richard Branson are stereo typical examples of charismatic leaders for most people. No one can argue that they did not have success in business. Though their type of egocentric leadership overlooks the power of teamwork and does not foster creativity of the individual worker. Once their leader leaves, often the business fails to sustain itself.
Bill Gates is undisputedly one of the most successful business leaders of all time. Instead of seeking the spot light he is the picture perfect example of corporate responsibility. He has a strong conviction that businesses should be able to do good whilst doing well financially. You can only do this if you will not let your ego in your way. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is one of the most recent examples of a leader realizing that money is merely the measurement but not the number one goal of an organization. Provide a vision that makes everyone better off and people and profits will follow. Influencing people only works if you earn their respect. There must be substance stemming from great core values and principles that take time to develop. Once they respect you can motivate by inspiring them without having to resort to micromanaging. Honesty, integrity, respect and caring for others are not simply empty phrases, but represent to me what I call a virtuous lifestyle. It helps you to become a better person and subsequently a better leader as well. It works in sales as well as in just about any social or work setting. Leaders are needed everywhere you do not have to be a rock star though.

In 2006, Eckhart Tolle authored a great book: “A New Earth – Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose”, in which he thoroughly discussed how our egos shroud us from seeing the real world. He argued that when our ego wins we all lose due to a lack of self-awareness and that of our surroundings. He drew a conclusion that this effect usually leads to unhappiness in our lives since our inner self is never happy with the current state. A person with an egocentric thinking pattern also finds ways to look superior by e.g. finding faults in others, working in absolute truth terms instead of relative ones, etc. The author was born in Germany and studied at the universities of London and Cambridge in Great Britain. Tolle’s own journey provided the impetus to write two bestsellers including the one mentioned above. He now lives in Canada.
In his 2001 book, “Good to Great,”? Jim Collins researched why some companies continues to be successful for decades, while others subsisted or completely fell by the wayside. Collins used to be a faculty member of Stanford University Graduate School of Business and now works from his own management research laboratory. Great companies were led by what he called Level 5? leaders. Most worked through the ranks of the same organization. They all worked on improving themselves as a person first, and then the company. Their high level of self-awareness kept their egos in the background, which fostered virtuous leadership based on modesty, honesty and integrity. This responsibility to self and the company lay the foundation for the resolve to do whatever it takes to do what is right no matter how difficult the decisions. He made a fabulous point about what poisons any organization: If you maintain good, you will never achieve great (2001).
Bill Gates is one of the most prolific business leaders of our time.?He founded Microsoft Corporation, which revolutionized how we use our computers today. in 2008?he wrote an article for Time magazine called, “How to Fix Capitalism” (2008). The article covers how creative capitalism can make money and save lives. He saw the creative part in corporations pursuing small profit markets and helping impoverished countries with new strategies. He provided multiple examples for instance micro lending money to very small businesses in third world countries. Gates furthermore explained how capitalism does not have to be the reason that underprivileged people exist, but that the creative capitalism model can share the wealth with people who have been left out thus far.
Time magazine writer Josh Quittner reviewed the personal CEO voyage of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg in his July 2008 article, “Facebook: Movement or Business?” CEO Mark Zuckerberg built a company that is backed by investors and has not made a profit. Zuckerberg seemed to not have thought about vision mission statement until he went on a trip to Turkey, where he generated the first one and started to implement it at the company right away. The author is a prolific writer for Time and Fortune Magazine and has co-authored five books with his wife.
Jeffrey Gitomer is currently one of the most experienced and prolific sales coaches in the U.S.A. He has authored five books on the subject of selling based on rock solid core values fostering customer loyalty. One of them is his 2006 book, “Little Black Book of Connections: 6.5 Assets for Networking Your Way to Rich Relationships.”? He holds?more than 100 presentations per year and his customer base includes many Fortune 500 companies. His syndicated column appears in almost 100 business related newspaper worldwide, which is read by literally millions of people. His selling and people philosophy is based on providing value first to people with whom you would like to form a long term relationship with. He asserted that wealth is the result of who knows you instead of whom you know.
The 2008 book, “100 Ways to Motivate Others: How Great Leaders Can Produce Insane Results Without Driving People Crazy,”? is one of 16 books leadership coach Steve Chandler has authored. His recommended that anyone desiring to lead others should invest a great deal of time in addressing your own weaknesses first. Many of his 100 strategies are based on self betterment and leading by example. He furthermore reviewed on all corner-stones of leadership: Early and honest communication, great listening skills, empathy for employees, provided a worthwhile purpose, providing a vision, motivation through inspiring others working off of their strengths and not their weaknesses. Chandler strongly felt that the era of the bossy superior is numbered. The chain of command style leadership covers the insecurities of most of such managers.
John Maxwell provides timeless how-to’s for leadership in his 1998 book, “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You.”? One of his strongest points for managers to empower others is the case of Henry Ford, who almost caused the collapse of his own company by micro-managing people instead of empowering and inspiring his workers. Maxwell argues that managers should devote a significant amount of time in leaving a positive legacy behind. He concluded that succession planning is a successful tool in combating losing a whole company when the CEO leaves.? He also authored the book, “The 360-Degree Leader: Developing Your Influence From Anywhere in The Organization.” John Maxwell addresses common myths about leadership. He makes a strong point that you can become a top leader by leading up, across, and down. Such leaders are needed at any given level, ethnicity, etc.

What fascinates us so much about charismatic leaders? Charisma is related to the ego. That is why rock stars are rock stars: They are the epitome of highly charismatic and therefore ego driven individuals. The ego gets in a leader’s way though. For one it is assumed that charisma equals self confidence. Though we like people that exude this self confidence and tend to trust them because of it, that does necessarily meant they always know the answer to every business problem. Another way where the ego gets in a managers way is when it snuffs out everybody else’s creativity and willingness to experiment within the confines of their jobs. Leaders like this tend to be terrible micromanagers. Our ego is the opposite of self awareness, which looks for ways making you look better compared to others (Tolle, 2008). The good news is that the fix is easy, at least for anyone who seeks bettering himself: Reflect upon yourself and increase your self awareness. Any good leader does not strive to become the shining rock star, instead he must desire making rock star of his team members.
Unfortunately, charismatic and often unethical leaders like Enron’s Ken Lay have lowered our respect and expectation level for corporate leadership. Companies are in it only for the money, right? Wrong, they should not be. When good leaders show responsibility, they provide it for the employees, company and for themselves.
Providing a new direction and vision is often seen as the key responsibility of leaders. Companies destined to either become or stay mediocre, select new CEOs based on new directions they can pursue. Collins provides a myriad of examples where such leaders failed to see that the experience and knowledge of what works and what does not, comes from within (2001, p. 254). Good leaders tap into this powerful resource. They first worry about whom they have on the team. They get great people on and the wrong people off the team, then they worry about where they want to go with them. It is imperative to realize how little supervision employees need if they know where they harmoniously fit in and where they must make their contribution. Then employees can use their creativity fulfilling their own purpose all in the context of helping the company to be better. The emphasis lies on the CEO being a good individual with a great portion of self respect and values who is not afraid to amend a plan based on what is good for the organization even if it is not a grandiose sounding marketers dream come true.
Collins’ research project focused on leaders that were able to confront the brutal facts,? (2001, p. 88). They are determined toward achieving long range goals, so long as they are a derivative of a culture of truthfulness. They do not go with ideas that may be popular, but not realistic. Adversity was found to be the vehicle of finding better ways to do things. This is where a strong leader and charisma was found to be quite a detriment to a company’s progress. Such leaders had a much harder time for employees to bring the hard facts to the table in fear of retribution or even ridicule. In working as a manager I learned this the hard way. It is much better to lead by asking questions rather then telling people what to do. Allowing for the inconvenient facts to be voiced is instrumental for any leader. Once you know the truth, any manager can reflect upon it and provide a new direction, together with the people that helped create it.
According to Collins, this inquisitive mind set is best utilized in finding what the one thing is that your company can do well, that people can be passionate about and what also can provide the funds to continue working (2001). This takes dedicated managers and who possess the discipline driving all involved personnel to make that happen. That also means that it requires a hefty amount of knowledge and company specific experience that needs to build up for a longer period of time. When less than stellar companies try to fix their problems by hiring flashy outsider CEO’s, they cut themselves short. Such managers may achieve results at first, but rarely sustain a company in the long run. That is really simple to figure out. A rock star type leader is mainly driven and motivated by his ego. What happens though when the leader goes away and the ego goes with it? The rest of the company immediately suffers as there is no one who can fill the larger than shoes of the old manager. Good old-fashioned discipline is also necessary after the main company direction has been generated. The routine fosters trust and commitment management. Results are achieved, measured, communicated and perpetuated.
Bill Gates may be well known, but he does not fit the profile of charismatic, chest beating leader. In his recent Time magazine article, “How to Fix Capitalism,” he reviewed how overall life on this planet has gotten better for people, but billions of people have not been able to ascend from poverty (2008). In essence he pleads the case for more companies and their CEOs to explore ways to prosper whilst elevating more people into better lives. Though markets conventionally thought of as depressed, can be tapped into if entrepreneurs are willing to review and adapt their rich world business philosophies to make them work in such areas. What struck me here were two things: On one hand Bill Gates provides ingenious thoughts on how make capitalism work better for more people. Second, he has been more of a quite type leader who puts the needs of an even priority level with everyone else. Some may say that he does no longer need to worry about earning a living and that he thus can devote much more time and money to good causes. Concededly it does help him to not having to worry about money as much, but he seems to genuinely believe in doing good deeds for people who can barely make it through the day.
A Time article about Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg provides an insight of a work-in-progress leader (2008). Zuckerberg fits the profile of charismatic leader. He built a company that is backed by investors that have trusted him enough even though it has not made a profit yet. While the rock star has been fed by media and Facebook fans looking at its rising usage as sign of a movement rather than a steady revenue stream, the investors look at it strictly as a business model. Mark’s journey is now at the verge where charisma and fans alone will no longer guarantee financial success. Since his trip to Turkey he appears to be on a path of self discovery, awareness, in which the business goal is not only money (Tolle, 2008). He realized that he was lacking a proper vision and mission for his organization. Simply put: Build up an organization on sound core values and customers will come supporting your organization with revenue. Money is not pursued, it is attracted. I take great comfort that amongst many bad examples of bad egomaniacs, there seem to be cases where top managers are still capable to do the right thing.
Sales positions are often filled with rock stars, but the most successful ones are the one who leave their egos at the door. Salesmen are leaders of sorts; they must be trustworthy enough such that customers will consider their proposals over others if they are less risky. They must not only lead the whole sales process, but also represent the order fulfillment cycle. Leadership skills are necessary to have the courage facing new prospects. Sure dressing to the nine’s and being able to show off has never hurt during the sales contact. This is not a very effective sales strategy though. It is much better if you connect with people by providing value first without a background agenda. You make yourself deserving to be contacted by the prospects since you enjoy their respect based on what you were willing to do for them without them ever asking for anything in return it – not because of your persona. This is not about whom you know, but who knows you (Gitomer, 2006).
In the context of leadership there is the misconception that controlling people and being decisive means leadership. This could not be farther from the reality. In controlling others you may look like the shaker and maker of people and profits when in fact all you do is making your direct reports miserable and you cannot control anyone 24/7 anyway. This has much more to do with yourself rather than the one whom you would like to manage. Being bossy stems from lacking self confidence. You should possess the self awareness enabling you to lead yourself first. Then you can also lead others, because they want to follow you and not because you control their every move (Chandler, 2008). By contrast it is a great motivational tool if others see you grow. As you better your own leadership skills, you will help inspire the desire to do better and personally grow as well (Chandler, 2008).
Empowering people whom you want to manage is the key to long term success in business and contributes to your mental health. A bad example of a brilliant and charismatic leader that failed to realize the potency of empowerment was Henry Ford. The stages of his ego based leadership style are classic. He was a brilliant inventor and entrepreneur that led the Ford Company to become a dominant car manufacturer. During his later tenure at Ford, he neither worried about succession planning, nor did he believe in coaching managers to become leaders (Maxwell, 1998). All this did was that he became the bottleneck and therefore the hindrance for his organization’s growth due to him having to sign off on anything requiring a managerial input. While it may feel great to be needed sometimes, it is only fun for a while and only for very few individuals. This is very egotistical and there are plenty of companies that are no longer around because of the effects of this leadership style.
Leaders are needed everywhere. You lead your own life, your family, in our social networks, your company, and many more places. Leadership in a nutshell is all about being able to influence people. Occupying an important position is worthless when you want to lead people; they will follow leaders who genuinely care about them. Now just remember Princess Diana. Prince Charles enjoys all the privileges a charismatic leader could dream possessing: Money, wealthy friends, privileges and the possibility to still become King of England one day. We remember more about the good things Diana did. The whole world was in awe over what this woman was capable of doing. It was not because of her status that she managed to influence so many people. She genuinely cared about people. Her good core values and empathy made her the person whom we shall remember for a long time to come.

Time will tell if our societies will ever adopt a different view about ideal leadership. Currently dazzling manager personalities rein our imagination when we picture ideal leaders. It is really sad when you consider how many great managers we hear nothing about since they are living in the shadow of the few high roller managers. Great leaders learn to lead themselves first before they attempt to influence people. Solid core values and principles are the foundation to long term success in business and especially life in general. Frequent self-reflection and meditation are part of the journey tackling our egos. When we let our egos win, we all lose. It is so much better to inspire people. It lets us tap into their human potential instead of wasting our energy in trying to control processes and people. Once self-awareness kicks in we can serve others, provide value to society, have empathy for others and pave the way to becoming great managers. Charisma alone is to leaders what a one-hit wonder is to a rock star -?a flash in a pan.
Ralf Weiser
References
Chandler, S., & Richardson, S. (2008.) 100 ways to motivate others: How great leaders can produce insane results without driving people crazy. Franklin Lakes, NJ: Career Press.
Collins, J. (2001.) Good to great: Why some companies make the leap … and others don’t. New York, NY: HarperCollins.
Gates, B. (2008.) How to fix capitalism. Time. 172. 40.
Gitomer, J. (2006.) Little black book of connections: 6.5 assets for networking your way to rich relationships. Austin, TX: Bard Press.
Maxwell, J. (1998.) The 21 irrefutable laws of leadership: Follow them and people will follow you. Nashville, TN: Nelson Business.
Maxwell, J. (2005.) The 360-degree leader: Developing your influence from anywhere in the organization. Nashville, TN: Nelson Business.
Quittner, J. (2008.) Facebook: movement or business? Time. Retrieved 08/09/2008 from http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1826081,00.html
Tolle, E. (2006.) A new earth – Awakening to your life’s purpose. New York, NY: Plume.

Spatial dependence in mineral exploration

Some twenty years ago my son and I submitted to CIM Bulletin a paper on Precision Estimates for Ore Reserves. David, CIM Bulletin`s reviewer, blew a fuse because we didn`t refer to `twenty years of geostatistical literature`. We did study David`s 1977 Geostatistical Ore Reserve Estimation and Clark`s 1979 Practical Geostatistics. Neither author showed how to test for spatial dependence. So, we showed how to test for spatial dependence between gold assays determined in bulk samples taken from twelve (12) rounds in a drift. CIM Bulletin was but one of several journals to reject our paper. Yet, it was praised by and published in Erzmetall 44, October 1991. We could not show how to estimate the intrinsic variance of gold because but a single bulk sample was taken from each round.
It was easy to estimate the intrinsic variance of gold in Bre-X’s phantom resource. Bre-X’s quality control program was based on selecting and testing duplicate test portions of every tenth crushed and salted core sample. The set of duplicate gold assays for Bre-X’s bonanza borehole BSSE198 gave enough degrees of freedom to estimate the analytical variance with a proper degree of precision. Fisher’s F-test proved that the analytical variance and the first variance term of the ordered set are statistically identical. Hence, the intrinsic variance of gold in BSSE198 was statistically identical to zero. Plenty of placer gold was present in crushed and salted core samples but Bre-X’s bonanza borehole BSSE198 was barren.

When APCOM 2009 asked for abstracts, I talked to my son about presenting one more paper on our home turf. His talk about EMF at some school of mines in Nantes, France, took him too far away from Vancouver to attend APCOM 2009. Our abstract was based on a bulk sampling program at the Cerattepe project in Turkey where core recovery was poor. So, I advised my client to implement an interleaved bulk sampling program in order to derive unbiased confidence intervals for in-situ gold and silver. Our abstract was accepted and Metrology in Mineral Exploration was approved.
I spoke to a small group on Thursday, October 8, 2009, at 15:30. I showed how to unscramble the Bre-X fraud, and how to derive the statistics for Cerattepe’s bulk sampling program.

The sampling variogram for gold displays a significant degree of spatial dependence at 99.9% probability

and defines a lag of 4.30 m at 95% probability. It is corrected for the extraneous measurement variance estimated from pairs of interleaved bulk samples.

The sampling variogram for silver also displays a significant degree of spatial dependence at 99.9% probability and defines a lag of 4.09 m at 95% probability.

It is also corrected for the extraneous measurement variance for silver.

After showing my audience how to derive 95% confidence limits of the masses of in-situ gold and silver, I asked why the variance of Agterberg’s distance-weighted average point grade is still missing. I didn’t get a single response. There were no questions and I got but a pinch of polite applause. My soul mate got an anonymous note together with the second coming of Clark’s 1979 Practical Geostatistics on DVD. Which APCOM 2009 sponsor ignored my question but handed my spouse an anonymous note? Was it Gemcom? Or did Geovariances do it?
I was tickled pink with that priceless gift. In her first coming Clark cooked up a semi-variogram, berated those who sloppily call it a variogram, and praised Journal and his buddies for teaching her all she knows about “the theory of the Theory of Regionalized Variables.” Journel may well have taught Clark how to assume spatial dependence between ordered sets of measured values. He might even have cautioned Clark, too, not to become “too encumbered with Fischerian [sic!] statistics”. So, what did Professor Dr William V Harper teach Dr Isobel Clark between 1979 and 2000? Sadly, Clark’s learning curve simply flat lined! Testing for spatial dependence failed to make Clark’s grade. She still scolds those who work with sloppy variograms rather than with her own sacred semi-variogram.
Statistics or geostatistics? Sampling error or nugget effect? Clark talked about those questions at WCSB4 in Cape Town on 21-23 October 2009. Sampling error adds a nice touch of Gy’ological thinking to Clark’s repertoire. Why does testing for spatial dependence still fails to make her grade? Why did she take the factor two (2) out of degrees of freedom for ordered sets? Why does she deem too sloppy a sampling variogram that shows where orderliness in a sample space or in a sampling unit dissipates into randomness? Why did a statistician such as Harper fail to notice that geostatistics is a scientific fraud? Now, Clark and Harper are ready to take Gy’s sampling theory to sampling practices in mineral exploration, mining, processing, smelting and refining? Strip the variance of Agterberg’s distance-weighted average, assume spatial dependence between measured valuee, interpolate by kriging, smooth the least biased subset of some infinite set of distance-weighted averages AKA kriged estimates, and rig the rules of real statistics with impunity!

Troubleshooting: It does not take an expert to do it correctly

This blog is for all of us who at one point or another faced an issue that needed to be resolved quickly and must not happen again. Are you the subject expert in the area of the majority of issues? Chances are that you are not and even the people that are called experts, technicians, engineers, etc. may not be quite up to it either, but you find out about this way too late. This is a very frustrating, time consuming and of course costly event. There are countless examples of such cases that are all about frustrated customers that continue facing a problem that sub vendors and other third parties could not resolve for them either. For instance the Bulk-Online.com/Forum Forum is such an area where people turn for last resort help. Although, you can do a lot if not all on your own. All it takes is a blank piece of paper, ask five “W” questions and possess the diligence to look at all the details of the issue and the experts will like you for doing a lot of the leg-work research upfront.

In my line of business I get confronted with this phenomenon way more than I think is necessary. Just two weeks ago there was a job site where it took our service technician one trip to make an air blower system work where no fewer than three previous attempts by the end-user, engineering company and original equipment manufacturer did not resolve the issue. I might add that almost six weeks went by in the process. The difference was that the technician listened to all parties and started over from the very beginning of the issue and did not trust the previously collected info without convincing himself about its validity. When all hands go up in the air and people start blaming each other for the trouble at hand, it is time to withdraw and start with a clean slate.

My mentor Ralph T. Buscarello from a renowned machinery analysis company called Update International out of Colorado always said that one needs to ask one key question to start any root cause analysis: “What and when did something change?” What he meant by that is that most issues have a rich history that must under no circumstance get ignored. This is the first of five “W” questions. What you end up with should be a list with possible issues or situations that may have played a role, and / or holds the key to the resolving the problem. Then you must develop possible causes / problems for each of your issues. For each of them you need to ask the second “W” question. “Why and how could this have happened?” By the time you do this to the extent of five levels you will have found the most likely issue. If you do not follow this basic concept you may find yourself confronted with another old saying: Garbage in – garbage out. Your result is just as good as the initial data that went in at the beginning.

I am not suggesting you do all of this work yourself. That would be counterproductive and the opposite is the case; use the previously involved parties and their findings – but ask them to verify and explain their work to you. With just a hint of critical thinking and a great portion of due diligence and determination you will either resolve your problem, or at least have created another path leading up to the problem’s resolution. The reason why a lot of issues do not get resolved is because people are hesitant to spend the extra time it takes to start from the very beginning of a problem. Just do not be one of them.
Ralf Weiser

The world is flat again!

Ancient people used to believe that the Earth was flat and it was not until roughly 500 years ago that we acknowledged the concept of our Mother-ship being a sphere. The technological tsunami that has been well on its way since the World Wide Web kicked into high gear in the mid Nineties managed to flatten the world again. As we keep surfing the top of the wave – and the Internet – we finally have a tool that has great potential for countries and people of any ethnical and religious background to participate in business globally without having to ever leave their houses.
There is not a week that goes by where businesses call or e-mail me offering their products and engineering services – from more than 8000 Kilometers away. Not only does our technology finally offer opportunities to those of us who used to suffer from centuries of colonialism and its ugly repercussions, it also has proven itself by making business more transparent and thus fairer in general. The times are gone by when manufacturers tried to manipulate the quotation and buying process by controlling if not limiting information. Now we just need a browser and a good search engine and wealth of information opens itself up to us. The Bulk Blog and the Bulk Online Forum are just the case in point for this phenomenon.
This type of trading makes the whole quotation and buying experience much fairer and provides unique business opportunities for producers that are sincere and genuine in what they offer to the market. The emergence of social marketing that at its root is basing a company’s success to think about inviting customers to buy instead of pushing themselves onto the customer and actively having to sell products or services. What that means is that now a consumer has so many choices that what a seller offers had better be providing value to them. It should (I feel it is a must) be offered for customers to take at their free will without manipulation. The Web lowers the smoke screen that conventional sales and distribution outlets used to benefit from and raises the bar for us all to be honest. Consultants are probably the only ones who could argue that there income are threatened by the free information made available on the Net. On the other hand, they also have a great chance to use the technology to their benefit. Even the Web cannot exist without relationships that are based on trust and commitment management. There still need to be people who need to work on answering Web based requests.
Of course then there is the rate of speed at which one can acquire knowledge and do business. It is fascinating to me that nowadays I have the opportunity to not travel to a job site any more because you I log on to the machinery controllers and “be there” without being there. Machinery troubleshooting is possible from wherever we have access to the Net. Even better, you are even alerted by the machine with an SMS or e-mail that it is on trouble. Can you imagine how much time, money and natural resources you – and therefore your customer – do not need to spend anymore? Plant managers have an opportunity assessing life cycle costs for product ranging from a small blower to high value assets such as kilns – phenomenal.
I have trouble nowadays thinking back to a time when we did not have technological marvels such as E-Mail, Skype, Twitter, customer relationship databases, Intranets, Microsoft Roundtable and so many more. It still comes with disadvantages such as leaving poor folks out who do not have the money to participate. The Internet has changed our lives forever and it has brought us humans closer together than ever before in history. It also will provide well for entities that use the technology in a way that is beneficial for all the stake and share holders – including the customer as well as our environment. How flat can the Earth get?

Who wrote bogus stats, when, where, and why?

Professor Dr Roussos Dimitrakopoulos came up all the way from Down Under to chair a Forum on Geostatistics for the Next Century at McGill University on June 3-5, 1993. His task was to honor Professor Dr Michel David for writing the very first textbook on Matheron’s new science of geostatistics. What David didn’t know was how to test for spatial dependence and how to count degrees of freedom. He wrote his first textbook against all odds since he didn’t even know that functions do have variances. I have written a bit about the properties of variances. So, I send by registered mail an abstract to that futuristic forum at McGill University. Some person at McGill’s Conference Office encouraged me in an unsigned letter of March 31, 1993, to submit my abstract to another event. I’ll dig up more bits and pieces about the properties of variances.
Dimitrakopoulos likes McGill a lot. In fact, he settled down in La Belle Province after the Bre-X fraud was no longer on his mind. In a candid interview with the National Post on August 15, 2005, he clarified the intricacies behind his valuations of mining projects. Here’s what he said, “You drill a few holes, you think you understand something but what you know is very, very little. Uncertainty means probabilistic models, and there are a gazillion types of them.” How about that? Some mining investors might wonder how RD selects the least biased probabilistic model. Peter Ravenscroft, a senior executive with Rio Tinto and an expert at geostatistics himself, thinks what RD does is kind of cool and gave him a stack of dough.
Professor Dr Roussos Dimitrakopoulos was present at APCOM 2009 in Vancouver, British Columbia. The first line of his abstract reads, “Conventional approaches to estimating reserves and optimizing mine planning and production forecasting result in single, often biased forecasts.” I wonder what would have happened if Stochastic Mine Planning Optimization: New Concepts, Applications, and Monetary Value in an Ever Uncertain Market, had been applied to Bre-X’s exploration data. Financial institutions should demand that the International Organization for Standardization set up a Technical Committee on Reserve and Resource Estimation. It’s long past due. Matheron thought he was a statistician in 1954. Yet, his Note Statistique No 1 shows he didn’t know how to test for spatial dependence between metal grades in ordered core samples. Neither did he know how to derive the variances of length-weighted average lead and silver grades determined in core samples of variable lengths. So much for Matheron’s new science of geostatistics!

Dr Frederik P Agterberg wrote in 2000 that Matheron was the Founder of Spatial Statistics. Matheron thought he was a statistician in 1954 when he wrote his Note Statistique No 1. He didn’t write about spatial dependence between metal grades of ordered core sections with variable length. He did derive length-weighted average lead and silver grades but didn’t derive the variances of these central values. In 1907 he stirred up “Brownian motion on a straight line.” He did so because he liked Riemann integrals better than Riemann sums. He wrote in his 1978 Foreword to Mining Geostatistics why he proposed the name geostatistics in the 1960s. Professor Georges Matheron would have been shocked had he read in his obituary that he was the Founder of Spatial Statistics. Agterberg invited me on October 1, 2004, to present my views at the next IAMG annual meeting in Toronto. I happen to know a lot about IAMG events where geostatistocrats talk bafflegab. I would rather make my case against bogus stats at APCOM 2009.

Dr Michel David wrote a few words of caution in his 1977 Geostatistical Ore Reserve Estimation. First, he wrote, “…statisticians will find many unqualified statements…” Then, he blew the sales of his work by writing, “This is not a book for professional statisticians.” But he was indeed right. David did prove it when he wrote his test for geostatistical proficiency. He took M&S’s set of nine (9) measured values and “estimated” the same set of sixteen (16) what he came to call “…points…” He wrote on page 286 of his textbook, “Writing all the necessary covariances for that system of equations is a good test to find out whether one really understands geostatistics.” Why did the author of the very first textbook on geostatistics fail to derive the variance of each of this sixteen (16) functionally dependent values? Why didn’t he count degrees of freedom? If M&S’s set of nine (9) measured values were evenly spaced, the set and the ordered set would give df=n-1=8 and dfo=2(n-1)=16 respectively. Why is the geostatocracy still asleep at the switch? Why is Bre-X’s massive phantom gold resource all but forgotten?

A Marechal and J Serra wrote Random kriging in 1970 to celebrate the first krige and smooth bash in North America. M&S toiled under Matheron’s tutelage at his Center de Morphology Mathematique, Fontainebleau, France. So, why did M&S set out to simplify Matheron’s kriging equations with their own random kriging procedure? Under Punctual Kriging in Random kriging they show how to get a set of sixteen (16) functionally dependent values from a set of nine (9) measured values. M&S didn’t show how to derive a variance of a functionally dependent value. Neither did they show how to test for spatial dependence by applying Fisher’s F-test to the variance of the set of measured values and the first variance term of the ordered set. What Matheron never taught M&S was how to count degrees of freedom. In his own 1970 Random functions and their applications in geology Matheron wrote, “Let us denote a Brownian motion on a straight line.” In Matheron’s mind it somehow seemed to replace Riemann sums with Riemann integrals. Matheron never explained what Brownian motion and ore deposits have in common. M&S put Random kriging “within the geostatistical framework of the French school.” Go figure why!

Dr Isobel Clark is the author of Practical Geostatistics. She wrote on the first page of Chapter 5 Kriging, “It would seem sensible to use a weighted average of the sample values, with the ‘closer’ sample values having more weight.” On the same page she wrote, “The arithmetic mean is simply a special case where all the weights are identical.” She wrote in her Preface that Journel and others at Fontainebleau taught her all she knows about the theory of the Theory of Regionalized Variables.” She transposed for “mathematical convenience” the factor two (2) in dfo=2(n-1), the number of degrees of freedom for an ordered set of n measured values. That’s how Clark’s semi-variogram was born. Why did Fisher’s F-test for spatial dependence between hypothetical uranium data fail to make Clark’s grade in her 1979 Practical Geostatistics? And why does nobody care?

Statistically dysfunctional geoscientists write all sorts of things that are bound to hound them in time. Read what Stanford`s Journel wrote to the Editor of the Journal for Mathematical Geology. What he did was set the stage for conditional simulation on Stanford stationary. Take note of when he wrote it. And read what JMG’s Editor wrote to me. So, my feeling that geostatistics is invalid might be correct. How about that? He also wrote that different “flavors” of geostatistics may fail at different times. Now that’s kind of cool. I do know which flavor failed in the Bre-X fraud. It was the flavor of assuming continued gold mineralization between salted boreholes. The odd geostatistician might be taught how to test for spatial dependence and how to count degrees of freedom. Most are doomed to assume, krige, smooth, and rig the rules of statistics.

Influence of electrostatic charge on pneumatic conveying

In pneumatic conveying, the air molecules pass the material particles and when they touch, the combination of the 2 exchange electrons until electrostatic equilibration is reached.

When the air and material part from each other, the exchanged electrical charges remain also separated and leave the particles electro statically charged.

In the example of pvc-resin, the air becomes positively charged and the pvc-resin becomes negatively charged. (see tribo electric series)

This phenomenon is called the tribo-electro effect.

The electrostatic charge of a particle increases with the number of contacts between air molecules and the particles until the maximum possible charge exchange is reached.

The maximum possible charge exchange is limited by the ratio between product particles and air particles. (In fact this is the Solid Loading Ratio).

In the example of PVC-resin, the pvc particles collect electrons up to a maximum.

This maximum absorption of electrons depends on the availability of air molecules, supplying these electrons.

A low SLR implies that there are more air molecules available per product particle, resulting in a maximum charged voltage.

Electrostatic charging is therefore stronger at low SLR’s

Continue reading Influence of electrostatic charge on pneumatic conveying

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