What are the stages a project must pass through to become a mine?

There are many hoops a project must clear to become a mine.

It takes on average 10 years for a project to turn into a mine. Very few projects make it.

Here are the steps from prospect to closure from Mining Intelligence.

Prospect: No significant exploration has been done on the project.

Exploration: Desk analysis was done with geologists in the field undertaking mapping, geophysical and or geochemical testing on detected ore anomalies. Minor drilling activity might have occurred and minor historic resources may be known.

Advanced Exploration: A major drilling campaign commenced to further the understanding of the detected ore body. Ore grade intersections have been made. A current resource may have been reported or is under calculation. A closed mine is being re-evaluated.

Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA): A preliminary economic assessment has started or will be starting for the project. Initial Reserve/Resource estimates were made.

Prefeasibility: Prefeasibility study has started or will be starting for the project. The study will determine mining and processing methods. Initial capital costs, Net Present Value (NPV), Internal Rate of Return (IRR), and transportation are calculated.

Feasibility: A Feasibility Study has started or will be starting. It is a continuation of what was presented in the Pre-Feasibility study but with more thorough analysis including project design and economic studies which resulted in the release of a bankable feasibility study. An exploration adit or decline may have been done.

Permitting: Property development stage where various permits are applied for and received.

Construction: Mining decision was made and the work on a construction of mine commenced. This could include pre-stripping, shaft sinking or decline development and ore could be stock piled. Infrastructure and plant construction contracts have been started or completed.

Commissioning: Mine was constructed and the process of verifying that it functions according to plan commenced.

Production: Commercial production has started and the ore is being processed.

Decommissioning: Planned shut-down of a mine commenced.

Closed: Decommissioning was completed. Mining has ceased and there are no plans to resume. Any associated processing plant and mining infrastructure has been dismantled or sold. Workings are allowed to flood or are backfilled. For open pits the final cut has been made and in underground the crown pillar removed. The reclamation process starts.

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