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Reserve Modelling – Feasibility Study of Mining Projects & Economic and Risk Evaluation of Mining Projects 

Block courses at the Institute of Applied Geosciences, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (equivalent to 5 ECTS)


These courses are sponsored by the German Geological Society. Participants who are members of the DGGV or become one during this course can apply for a subsidy from the DGGV upon presentation of the certificate of participation.

Reserve Modelling – Feasibility Study of Mining Projects

26.02.24 – 27.02.24

Dr. Klaus Steinmüller: Economic Geologist – Mineral Economist (retired). With BGR, he developed a toolkit for the economic evaluation of mineral resource projects and delivered courses on it in several Mining Authorities in Africa and Asia.

Scope: The purpose of this course is to provide students with a series of materials, which facilitates the assessment of the economics of a mineral resource project in an early development stage.

Content: The course consists of the following three modules:

Part 1: From Exploration to a Mine

  • Project phases after the discovery of a mineral resource project:
  • Modifying factors which determine the development of a mine
  • Necessary steps and studies to verify, whether the projects may be developed to a viable mine
  • Movie on the development phases and life of a mine

Part 2: Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves

  • Definition and distinction between mineral resources und mineral reserves
  • Mineral resources und mineral reserves related to the development stages of a mineral resource project
  • Exercise on the cut-off grade to establish mineral reserves
  • Exercise on the determination of the ore grade
  • Exercise on the determination of mineral resources

Part 3: Evaluation of the Economic Viability of Mineral Resource Projects

  • Parameter and criteria for the economic evaluation of a mineral resource project: Ore value, Life of Mine (LOM), operating costs (Opex), investment amount (Capex), payback period, operation margin, Net Present Value (NPV), Internal Rate of Return (IRR)
  • Exercises on the estimation of LOM, Opex, Capex, Payback Period, NPV and IRR
  • Exercise on the economic estimation of the viability of mining and milling a mineral resource – Operating Margin
  • Exercise on the economic estimation of the viability of the investment for building and operating a mine and a processing plant – NPV, Cash Flow
  • Peer comparison of several mineral resource projects

The training exercises are based on mineral deposit models and real-world mineral resource projects.

Pre-requisites: Knowledge of ore deposit geology is expected. Some knowledge of mineral exploration and development of mining projects is helpful.

Economic and Risk Evaluation of Mining Projects

28.02.24 – 01.03.24

Dr. Max Frenzel: Group Leader Geometallurgy & Economic Geology at the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology (https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Max-Frenzel)

Scope: This is an applied course in uncertainty and risk assessment for mining projects. Its goal is to provide students with a detailed understanding of the technical factors influencing the economic feasibility of a mineral project, and how these can be assessed quantitatively, including uncertainties. Major uncertainties generally arise from both internal and external sources. Internal sources of uncertainty are generally related to the geological characteristics of a mineral deposit and their interactions with mining and beneficiation processes. External uncertainties arise from global markets, as well as local social and regulatory environments. Improper accounting for these uncertainties has recently resulted in the failure of ~70% of major new mining projects to reach projected performance targets, highlighting the great importance of this topic for the minerals industry. The course mostly focusses on technical factors. In addition, some key economic, societal and environmental aspects of mineral projects will also be discussed. The knowledge and skills taught in this course will enable students to participate actively in the modelling and simulation processes necessary for the detailed evaluation of a mineral project.

Content: The course will cover the following topics:

  • A brief repetition of the key concepts for project evaluation: resources, reserves, grades etc.
  • The basics of uncertainty assessment through simulation.
  • The basics of geostatistical modelling and simulation, i.e., the science of interpolating geological information between point measurements, and evaluating the uncertainties associated with such interpolations. The techniques to be covered are kriging and sequential gaussian simulation.
  • The basic principles of mineral processing, explaining which information is necessary to convert mineral resources (amounts present/documented in a deposit) into reserves (amounts economically extractable from a deposit), and how resource/reserve estimates can be made from geostatistical deposit models.
  • Potential ways of assessing the potential impact of external factors.
  • A qualitative overview of some of the legal, social, societal and environmental issues which need to be considered when a mining project is developed to ensure success.
  • Exercises on real world data to demonstrate the step-by-step process of a technical assessment, resource / reserve calculation and uncertainty assessment.

Pre-requisites: Detailed knowledge of ore deposits and ore-forming processes are expected. Previous experience with the R Software for data analysis and simulation is an advantage and will be helpful for the completion of the exercises. Some prior knowledge of geostatistics, mining and mineral beneficiation technology is helpful but not required.

Please register with Laura Neira until 12th February 2024: laura.neira@kit.edu

Further information on course content: benjamin.walter2@kit.edu (Priv. Doz. Benjamin Walter)