SME did so at the turn of the century. Its acronym stands for The Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration, Inc. Not only did it approve Process simulation with spreadsheet software and put it in print in Minerals & Metallurgical Processing, Vol 16, No 2, May 1999. It also approved Borehole statistics with spreadsheet software and published it in Volume 308 of Transactions 2000. I was tickled pink that SME’s reviewers approved applied statistics. The more so since SME’s reviewers thought my work would stir up a hornet’s nest! But not a single hornet stirred! As a matter of fact, Stanford’s Professor Dr A J Journel didn’t put up opposition against applied statistics! He may well remember what he wrote on October 15, 1992 to the Editor of the Journal of Mathematical Geology? Here are but a few paragraphs of Professor Journel’s musings!
“1 – Data and degrees of freedom
The very reason for geostatistics or spatial statistics in general is the acceptance (a decision rather) that spatially distributed data should be considered a priori as dependent one to another, unless proven otherwise. It is that spatial dependence which allows differentiated local interpolation and mapping in general. Were the data independent one from another then only global statistics can be retrieved. In presence of dependence the classical notion of degrees of freedom vanishes: n spatially dependent data do not provide n degrees of freedom.
It is not correct to state categorically that kriging, or for that matter any other interpolation algorithm, does not add any information to the system. It does through the implicit or explicit model of correlation. Indeed, change the variogram model yet keep the same data, the kriging estimates change. This correlation/covariance/variogram model can be borrowed from another field or outcrop, it is then genuine new information. Or, it can be inferred from the same data used for kriging. In the latter case, new information is introduced through aspects of the sample bivariate (two-point) distribution. The important question is, of course, how representative of the unsampled area is that bivariate information, i.e., how appropriate is the prior “decision” of stationarity.“
What a world of difference between SME’s reviews and Professor Dr A J Journel’s shamelessly self-serving drivel. Merks and Merks 1991 Precision estimates for ore reserves was praised by and published in Erzmetall 44 (1991) Nr 10. David, the author of 1977 Geostatistical Ore Reserve Estimation, deemed our paper deficient in references to the geostatistical literature. Professor Dr A J Sinclair, PEng, PGeo, was the second reviewer. He objected to scores of equations incorporated in several ISO Standards after I had been active on several ISO Committees since 1974. Sinclair was thinking in the 1970s that Professor G Matheron was onto something! He didn’t notice that the variance had been stripped off the distance-weighted average AKA kriged estimate. UBC’s President didn’t notice either. Yet, I have delivered to the Office of Dr Martha Piper a pair copies of Sampling and Weighing of Bulk Solids.
Geostatisticians always praise geostatistical theory and practice. Stripping the variance off the distance-weighted average and calling what’s left a kriged estimate are the heart and soul of Matheron’s new science. I saw an opportunity to talk about applied statistics come along when Geostatistics for the Next Century made an early landing at McGill University. The stage was set at McGill’s Conference Centre in August 1993. I had submitted by registered mail my view on Properties of Variances. I was told on behalf of the Chair, that all seats were taken. Somebody did wish me success with my research!
Professor Dr A G Journel, Geology and Environmental Sciences, Stanford University, talked about stochastic simulation and Bayes’ Theorem but didn’t yet drift into Markov chains. He didn’t talk about confidence limits for contents and grades of mineral resources. Meanwhile, Bre-X Minerals was drilling and salting in the Kalimantan jungle. Stanford’s Dr A G Journel got into teaching more of the same. Stanford’s Journel taught only those with a PhD in geostatistics! For teaching out loud!