Cost Benefit Analysis of Genomics in Mining

CIM Montreal 2015
Chris Kennedy (SRK Consulting)
Many aspects of a mining operation are influenced by biology, often acting as a catalyst for geochemical processes including extraction of metals from ore, weathering of excavated rock and tailings, and sequestration of contaminants in active or passive treatment systems. Mining processes can also have a significant impact on biological processes that surround a mine site, that to date, are poorly understood especially when long term impact is considered. Genomics (i.e. the science that aims to understand the genetic information of an organism encoded in DNA) is a tool that can help to better understand the biological component of mining processes. In order to help demonstrate the potential applications of genomics in mining, SRK Consulting (Canada) Inc. evaluated literature, case studies and responses from key opinion leaders to understand whether and what value can application of genomics tools add to any part of the mining lifecycle. While numerous potential opportunities exist, cost benefit analyses for ore extraction, bioremediation and covers were performed using economic models in order to demonstrate changes to net present values (NPVs) when the biological component is optimized. The outcomes of the evaluations showed that significant NPV improvements are possible while also lowering environmental risk and uncertainty.
Keywords: innovation, genomics, optimization, Cost benefit analysis, biological processes
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