Guidelines to the evaluation of selectively mined, open pit gold deposits during the exploration stage of mine creation

Pelly, Frederick Douglas Peter (1992) Guidelines to the evaluation of selectively mined, open pit gold deposits during the exploration stage of mine creation. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

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This dissertation studies the evaluation of selectively mined, open pit gold deposits during the exploration stage of the mine's life. Since 1970 a large number of selectively mined, open pit gold mines have come into operation. The most common deposits include epithermal vein, mesothermal lode and laterite gold deposits. In general the deposits are characterized by small tonnages (1-20 million tonnes), relatively high grades (2-10 grams per tonne gold), submicroscopic to coarse gold, inexpensive mining, and both free milling and refractory ores.The key components that require evaluating during the exploration period are the deposit's geology, ore reserves, pit design, ore metallurgy and environmental impact. Feasibility studies are the main vehicle by which to report and guide the exploration programme. During the exploration period a company may undertake an initial (geological feasibility), second (preliminary mine feasibility) and third (final feasibility) delineation programme in order to gather sufficient data to justify a mine development decision. The responsibility of evaluating the mineral prospect lies primarily with the exploration geologist and mining engineer. Broad experience, a professional attitude, a thorough understanding of mining economics, and a high level of geological, engineering and technical skills are traits required by the evaluators. In order for mining companies to make sound investment decisions the geographical, geological, mining, metallurgical, environmental, marketing, political and financial aspects affecting the economic potential of the venture must be integrated so that the likely costs, risks and returns of the investment alternative are quantified. Ultimately, it is the economic analysis of these three items that determine whether the mineral prospect is developed into a mine I delineated further I retained until economic circumstances improve, or abandoned. To assess the costs, risks and returns, extensive use of the risk analysis is advocated throughout the exploration period . When combined with intelligent judgement of the intangible risk elements, the probabilistic distribution of discounted cash flows are invaluable in making sound investment decisions. However, the economic analysis is only as good as the information on which it is founded. Accurate and representative field data is the most important prerequisite to successfully evaluating and developing a new mine.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Mining geology, Geology, Mining, Gold ores, Gold mines, Economics
Subjects:Q Science > QE Geology
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Science > Geology
ID Code:4224
Deposited By: Mrs Judith Cornwell
Deposited On:10 Dec 2012 12:39
Last Modified:10 Dec 2012 12:39
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