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|Economic evaluations of mineral projects are based on discounted cash flow analyses, followed by sensitivity and risk analyses. However, the global macroeconomic and political environment in which the mineral industries operate have a profound effect on the viability of individual projects. Since the oil crises of 1974 and 1980, demand patterns for minerals have become much more variable and prices more volatile. Significant changes in the geographical distribution of world mineral supply and demand are underway, and the mix of minerals used is also changing. Social and political factors are as important as economic and technical factors in determining the viability of mineral ventures. Economic evaluation of mineral projects have to be undertaken in a more uncertain and risky environment. They can no longer be reduced to a number crunching exercise.|