Estimating the Cost of a Feasibility Study for a Mining Project
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Jan 1, 1990
The cost of preparing a feasibility study is notoriously difficult to estimate. Studies for mining projects are typically commenced when an exploration programme has identified a mineable resource and pre-feasibility studies have shown that development of the resource would lead to an economically viable project. Pre-feasibility studies will normally include an estimate of the cost of a formal feasibility study and this estimate would then be firmed up before a commitment is made to proceed with the formal study. Data for preparing the feasibility study cost estimate will be sketchy, geological investigations, metallurgical testwork, and marketing studies may be needed before the scope of the project and hence the scope of the formal study can be finally determined. Before an estimate of the work required and hence of the cost of the feasibility study can be prepared the source of project funds must be decided. Studies for internally funded projects are often less rigorous than those which must be "bankable" and subject to the scrutiny of external financial institutions. This paper sets out suggestions for preparing more accurate cost estimates for feasibility studies by ensuring that all activities are included and shows how a staged approach to preparing such studies can minimise costs and guard against cost overruns. It also provides a case study showing how the estimate compared with actual costs for a recent feasibility study completed by Pancontinental Mining Limited.