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Gold Grades and Gold Costs: Exploding the High-Grade Myth

- By: John P Sykes
Posted in: Blog, Conferences, Exploration, Mining, Recommended


A couple of month’s ago my PhD supervisor, Allan Trench, presented at the RIU Explorers Conference in Fremantle, on the subject: “Gold Grades and Gold Costs: Exploding the High-Grade Myth”. The presentation was based on work by student Matt Kanakis, so really credit should go to him. It’s a nice, simple study, that provides some good initial evidence, that at least in the context of the Australian gold mining industry, grade is not all that matters when it comes to economics. In fact, it seems mineralisation style and geometry are more important. It perhaps comes as no surprise to mining geologists and engineers that equidimensional, homogenous deposits are amenable to bulk mining methods (either open pit or underground) and thus generally seem to have lower costs. It is however good to have some hard data to remind us, and I would suggest it is worth expanding to cover a wider range of dates, deposit types and commodities, and conducting some analysis to see if we can more clearly link the geology and the economics. This would no doubt be of benefit to both gold miners and explorers. The presentation is available below:

Gold grades & gold costs – Trench et al – Feb 2015 – Centre for Exploration Targeting / University of Western Australia / Curtin University from John Sykes