Category Archives: Mineral economics

Why do we always find ourselves in this mess? — The constant cycles of commodity prices & production costs

This past week, I have had two conversations with friends that lead me to this post. Both friends work in gold mines and are worried due to uncertainty, brought on by the recent drop in gold price. It seems like … Continue reading

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How to develop mineral resources in uncertain times: The way forward for Africa?

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The last two editions of Mining Journal have included two articles about mining in Africa that have inspired this post. With commodity prices trending downward, it appears several African countries, have once again missed the opportunity to benefit, long-term, from … Continue reading

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Glencore Xstrata Update: $7.7b Writedown

This week marked a major update in the Glencore Xstrata acquisition, a topic I focused on over a year ago here. What was then a proposed merger became an all-share acquisition by Glencore to create the first commodities trader with … Continue reading

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Bull/Bear Markets and Mine Plans

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This week, I read several articles on gold’s bear run on the markets (you can find my favorite here). Several news outlets noted that gold dipped below $1,500/oz., which takes it below 20% of its peak price (the official definition … Continue reading

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Is open pit optimization helpful in mine planning for industrial minerals?

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In my time in the aggregates sector, I found that open pit optimization (i.e. determining optimal outlines à la Lerchs-Grossman or floating cone methods) is not widely used in strategic mine planning. In fact, this is the case in most … Continue reading

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NPV, IRR and strategic mine plans: The relationship between mineral economics and mine planning

Most mining engineers recognize the connection between mineral economics and mine planning, especially medium- to long-range (strategic) mine planning. However, my experience is that most mine planning engineers are more competent in the engineering aspects of design and planning than … Continue reading

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Assessing uncertainty: What is the most important variable?

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Many mine engineering analyses involve uncertainty due to variability in input variables. Simple methods can be effective in some cases but can be limiting in others. Regardless of what approach one takes it is important to focus such analyses on … Continue reading

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