As of 1 December 2014, the 2012 edition of the JORC Code requires Ore Reserves to be defined by studies at the pre-feasibility or feasibility level. This paper examines how the pathway for most mining developments is determined in the Pre-Feasibility Study and how a trade-off must be made between the need to make the best decision, the constraints of limited time and resources, and the level of the project’s accuracy and uncertainty in terms of value. Issues considered include framing the scope of the study, planning for robust decision-making and ensuring effective communication between the diverse disciplines within the team.
An inherent conflict exists between the immediate value added to a mining business from an increase in ore reserves resulting from a ‘quick’ Pre-Feasibility Study and the long-term value of pursuing a development strategy based on proper investigation and evaluation of the options. Recognition and resolution of this conflict is necessary if a project is to progress into future development stages, both in a timely manner and with the optimal development alternative and strategy.
The challenge for project developers and those conducting the Pre-Feasibility Study is to understand what the key deliverables are (ie an Ore Reserve statement, option selection, business evaluation, forward work plan or risks) and how to follow good practice to ensure that these deliver value.
Logan, D J and Jackson, J, 2016. The pre-feasibility study – big choices, little time, in Proceedings Project Evaluation 2016, pp 122–132 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).