Authors: Bye, AR

Paper is not available for download
Contact Us


Cite As:
Bye, AR 2011, 'Mine planning case studies demonstrating value from geometallurgy initiatives', in Y Potvin (ed.), Strategic versus Tactical 2011: Proceedings of the Fourth International Seminar on Strategic versus Tactical Approaches in Mining, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 307-327,

Download citation as:   ris   bibtex   endnote   text   Zotero

The mining industry is facing some key challenges which provide a compelling case for geometallurgy initiatives. Over the last 30 years, the average grade of Australian orebodies being mined has halved while the waste removed to access the minerals has more than doubled. In the last eight years, the industry’s energy consumption has increased 70% while multi-factored productivity (MFP) has fallen 24%. This paper documents a broad range of industry case studies which demonstrate strategies for gaining value from geometallurgy. The mining industry constantly faces the key questions of how significant ore variability is on mine valuation and how would knowledge of the variability change the mining schedule, mine to mill design and operation. Using case studies this paper describes the methods used for incorporating mineral extraction attributes into orebody models and their technical integration into daily operation as well as mine planning optimisation. While pit optimisation from a fully attributed geometallurgical model highlights areas of opportunity and risk it is shown that during the scheduling phase of mine planning that significant value can be added. The benefits from these projects included reducing geotechnical and environmental risk, improving mine to mill performance, option analysis and quantified cash flow risk. There is growing acceptance within the minerals industry that “realistically assumed modifying factors” defined by a competent person/s are not sufficient to mitigate the risk of funding mining ventures. Geometallurgy is moving away from factored ore reserves to data-rich block models providing reliable information for mining, metallurgical and environmental considerations.

ABARES (2010a) Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences. Australian Commodity Statistics 2010, Canberra.
ABARES (2010b) Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences. Australian Energy Statistics - Australian Energy Update 2010, Canberra.
ABS (2010a) Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product, Dec 2010, ABS, Cat No: 5206.0, Canberra.
ABS (2010b) Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian System of National Accounts, 2009-10, ABS, Cat No: 5204.0, Canberra.
ABS (2010c) Australian Bureau of Statistics. Experimental Estimates of Industry Multifactor Productivity, 2009-10, Canberra.
Bye, A.R. (2006) The application of multi-parametric block models to the mining process, in Proceedings Second International Platinum Conference ‘Platinum Surges Ahead’, 8–12 October 2006, Sun City, South Africa, The South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy.
Dunham, S. and Vann, J. (2007) Geometallurgy, Geostatistics and Project Value — Does Your Block Model Tell You What You Need to Know? in Project Evaluation Conference, 19–20 June 2007, The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, Melbourne, Australia, pp. 189–196.
Egaña, M., Arancibia, E., Villegas, F. and Ortiz, J.M. (2008) Geostatistics applied to geotechnical parameters, in Third International Conference on Mining Innovation (MININ 2008), J. Arias, R. Castro, T. Golosinski (eds), 6–8 August, Santiago, Chile, Gecamin Ltda, pp. 137–146.
SAMREC (2007) South African Mineral Reporting Codes. The South African code for the reporting of exploration results, mineral resources and mineral reserves, the SAMREC code, 2007 edition.
Sandu, S. and Syed, A. (2008) Trends in Energy Intensity in Australian Industry, 08.15, ABARE, Canberra.
Syed, A., Melanie, J., Thorpe, S. and Penney, K. (2010) Australian Energy Projection to 2029-30, ABARE Research Report 10.02, prepared for the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism, Canberra, March 2010.
Topp, V., Soames, L., Parham, D. and Bloch, H. (2008) Productivity in the Mining Industry: Measurement and Interpretation, Productivity Commission Staff Working Paper, December 2008, Productivity Commission, 149 p.

© Copyright 2022, Australian Centre for Geomechanics (ACG), The University of Western Australia. All rights reserved.
Please direct any queries or error reports to