Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Comparing Exploration Plans for a Porphyry Copper Open-Pit Mine

Bell, Peter N (2020): Comparing Exploration Plans for a Porphyry Copper Open-Pit Mine.

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This paper uses stylized features of several open-pit copper mines in BC, Canada to build a toy model to compare different exploration plans. Assuming an ore body is there, would one exploration plan find it faster than others or more cheaply? This paper compares the results generated by three different exploration plans with the same budget, where key parameters are calibrated to mines in BC. A first plan drills holes on a uniform distribution across the search space and produces results that are worth less than they cost. A second plan uses a geochemical survey to narrow the area of drilling and yields greater value from exploration than the cost. A third plan includes a seismic survey before the geochemical and drilling, which yields less value than the second plan but increases the confidence that the drilling is in the right spot.

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