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Open-File Report 98-207

A Simplified Economic Filter for Open-Pit Gold-Silver Mining in the United States

By Donald A. Singer, W. David Menzie, and Keith R. Long

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (10.4 MB)Introduction

In resource assessments of undiscovered mineral deposits and in the early stages of exploration, including planning, a need for prefeasibility cost models exists. In exploration, these models to filter economic from uneconomic deposits help to focus on targets that can really benefit the exploration enterprise. In resource assessment, these models can be used to eliminate deposits that would probably be uneconomic even if discovered. The U. S. Bureau of Mines (USBM) previously developed simplified cost models for such problems (Camm, 1991). These cost models estimate operating and capital expenditures for a mineral deposit given its tonnage, grade, and depth. These cost models were also incorporated in USBM prefeasibility software (Smith, 1991).

Because the cost data used to estimate operating and capital costs in these models are now over ten years old, we decided that it was necessary to test these equations with more current data. We limited this study to open-pit gold-silver mines located in the United States.

First posted March 7, 2000

For additional information, contact:
Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
345 Middlefield Road, MS 901
Menlo Park, CA 94025-3591

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Suggested citation:

Singer, D. A., Menzie, W. D., Long, K. R., 1998, A Simplified Economic Filter for Open-Pit Gold-Silver Mining in the United States: U. S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 98-207, 10 pp.,

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