Multiple Production Point, Engineering-Based Cost Estimates for Proposed and Operating Open Pit Mines

CIM Montreal 2015
Scott Stebbins (Aventurine Engineering Inc.)
Knowing and understanding the influences that drive production costs from multiple points within an open pit mine are critical to both reserve estimators and mine planners. In this paper, we examine a procedure to estimate these costs through the use of commercially available software. The analysis examines costs from 240 discrete points within a theoretical pit as the excavation expands over a 24 year mine life. These points are located within 8 different geologic regimes developed through 10 stages of production. Costs are estimated both in terms of U.S. dollars per ton ore and per ton moved. Estimates are engineering based and as such consider not only haulage but also variations in drill penetration rates, bit consumption, powder factors, and a host of other parameters associated with the varying geologic and geotechnical conditions.

In addition to the operating cost estimates, the capital expended throughout the life of the mine to facilitate production from deeper and more remote locations is reported and discussed in terms of a machine life-cycle form of analysis. Expenses associated with overhauling and replacing machines are included along with the more straight-forward costs of expanding the fleet size to handle increases in haul distances as the mine evolves.
Keywords: Planning, Equipment Life-Cycle, Costs, Reserves
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