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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 2225-6253


LEACH, P.; VON DER HEYDEN, B.P.  and  RAVENSCROFT, P.. A novel economic-filter for evaluating sub-Saharan diamondiferous kimberlites. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2020, vol.120, n.9, pp.541-545. ISSN 2411-9717.

Because of their high degree of geological complexity, kimberlite-hosted diamond deposits are exceedingly difficult to evaluate for economic viability. Accordingly, standard mineral asset evaluation protocols (e.g., the Cost-, Market-, and Income Approaches defined in the SAMREC Code) may not hold sufficient predictive abilities for these deposit types, especially at the early stages of exploration. Here we present a novel tool, a cost filter approach towards preliminary evaluation of economic viability of southern African kimberlite-hosted diamond deposits, using the AK6 and BK11 diamond deposits from the Orapa diamond field as case studies. The development of this cost filter is underpinned by elements of both the Market Approach (i.e., comparisons to similar deposits) and the Income Approach (i.e., use of net present value (NPV) calculations) for mineral asset evaluation. Importantly, the cost filter is constrained through modification of only two primary variables (the average diamond value and the diamond grade) and thus differs significantly from other cost filters that rely on estimation and assumptions for every parameter input into an NPV calculation. The cost filter correctly predicts the sub-economic status of the BK11 diamond pipe, and is thus presented as a useful geo-economic tool for early stage kimberlite evaluation within the local southern African context. The approach and its theoretical underpinning foreseeably hold vast potential for use in the economic evaluation of other ore commodities, particularly where socio-economic and political risk factors can be negated by employing a geographic constraint.

Keywords : diamond; economic viability; kimberlites; southern Africa; cost models filter.

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