In geochemical exploration, a geochemical anomaly detection model is usually established to describe the population distribution of geochemical data, and samples that do not conform to the model are identified as geochemical anomalies. Because the establishment of a geochemical anomaly detection model does not make use of the relationship between geochemical elements and mineralization, its performance for mineral exploration targeting is affected to a certain extent. For this reason, neighbourhood component analysis and dictionary learning algorithms were combined to detect geochemical anomalies associated with gold mineralization in the Chengde area in Hebei Province, China. Neighbourhood component analysis was used to transform geochemical data from the input space into the neighbourhood component space to enhance the separability between the geochemical anomalies associated with gold mineralization and the background. Dictionary learning models for geochemical anomaly detection were established in the neighbourhood component space. The performance of the dictionary learning models established in the neighbourhood component space was compared with that of corresponding models established in the input space in geochemical anomaly detection. The results show that the former models are superior to the latter. In addition, there is a strong consistency between the mineral exploration targeting results and metallogenic characteristics of the study area. Therefore, combining neighbourhood component analysis and dictionary learning algorithms can improve the performance of dictionary learning models in geochemical anomaly detection.

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