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South African Journal of Industrial Engineering

On-line version ISSN 1012-277X

Abstract

KUHN, C.  and  VISSER, J.K.. Managing uncertainty in typical mining project studies. S. Afr. J. Ind. Eng. [online]. 2014, vol.25, n.2, pp. 105-120. ISSN 1012-277X.

Mining project studies and their evaluation are characterised by high uncertainties. These uncertainties range in magnitude from, and are prevalent in, the geological data on which the project is based, through to the final prices received for the ore, metal, or mineral being sold to the market. The process for managing uncertainties in mining projects could have a huge impact on the decision about the final option and on the project composition. It is therefore critical that a systematic process is followed that manages these uncertainties effectively and consistently throughout the project phases, and when evaluating various options one against the other. This paper discusses the results of an investigation to determine the extent to which risk management was applied in twenty different project studies in the mining environment. The results of these studies indicate that uncertainties relating to typical mining project studies are not well understood or managed. A process to manage these uncertainties throughout the project development phases was developed and used in a typical pre-feasibility study. The results indicate that the process can be successfully implemented; and that the process helps to develop the project faster by focusing the project teams most on the uncertainties that affect the project need or requirement.

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