Design Topics

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This page contains the master Table of Contents for all topics that might be considered for mine design studies, from scoping through to feasibility level. It is quite comprehensive but may not be in the correct order, may be too detailed, or might have omissions for a particular mine design study. Therefore, this does not represent a Table of Contents that would be appropriate for any specific mine design project.

To help with overall navigation, a summary Table of Contents showing major topics is provided immediately below. Clicking on these topics will take you to the list below, which contains more detailed list of sub-topics.

Blue links represent topics for which pages have been created, red links and black text titles represent still to be completed topics (more opportunities for potential authors).

To browse a list of pages in the wiki, organized by topic, use the navigation link to Completed articles, or click here.

The general environment in which the mine exists

  • Company objectives
    • Description of objectives
  • General mine site considerations
    • Location and access
    • Confirmation of legal ownership of property
    • Exploration and development committments
    • Infrastructure availability
    • Previous production
  • Business drivers
  • Risks and Benchmarking
  • Organizational Design

The stages of mine design

The information required for the mine design

  • The geological model
    • General geology
    • Geological control of mineralization and metal content
    • Mineral domains
    • Structural model
    • Faults
    • Dykes
    • Foliation and shearing
  • Resource model
    • Methods of estimation
      • Disrtibution of metals in space
      • Polygonal estimates
      • Geostatistical methods
      • Grade simulation models
    • Grade-tonnage curves
    • Condemnation drilling
  • Overview of geotechnical program
    • Site investigation
      • Rock mass characteristics: planning a field visit; intact strength determination; joint data collection; data analysis
      • Rock mass classification
      • Faults, dykes, large scale structural features
      • Rock stress conditions
      • Seismic activity
      • Hydrogeology & surface hydrology: field program; data collection and analysis; estimation of mine inflows
  • Metallurgical model
    • Ore mineralogy
    • Mineralogical domains
    • Gangue mineralogy
    • Nuisance metals (mill and proces toxins)
    • Bench-scale mill tests
  • Geotechnical design
    • Anticipated rock mass behaviour
    • Span design for non-entry stopes: Stability graph method
    • Span design for man entry stopes
    • Pillar design (including crown pillar)
    • Mine layout and extraction sequence: general considerations; numerical modelling
    • Ground support
      • Significant properties of support elements
      • Empirical support design
      • Installation methods and equipment requirements
    • Backfill
      • Types of backfill
      • Plant requirements
      • Backfill distribution
  • Mineralogy and the milling process

Selection of mining method

  • Review of the main mining methods
  • Preliminary selection of mining method
  • Refined selection of mining method
    • Rough layout and costing of the ore, waste, backfill, materials, labour transport development
    • Rough layout and costing of ventilation infrastructure
    • Risk assessment matrix
    • Risk mitigation profile
    • Selection of mining method(s) for detailed design
  • Value addition

Stope design and layout

  • Stope design
    • Dimensioning of stopes
    • Determination of operational constraints and productive capacity
    • Determination of the number of production levels required
    • Sequencing numerical simulation
  • Stope layout
    • Ore development
    • Waste access drifts
    • Transportation drifts
    • Access ramps

Infrastructure design

  • Transport infrastructure
  • Backfill
    • Required capacity
    • Types of backfill
    • Distribution circuit
  • Ventilation
    • Ventilation requirements estimation
    • Design of the primary circuit, development and fan requirements
    • Design of the local distribution of the air. Sizing of fans and openings
  • Mine services
    • Mechanical service shops, location, access, size, fixed equipment
    • Fuel and oil service bays, infrastructures for the transport of fuel and oils from surface
    • Warehouses, location, capacity
    • Powder and cap magazines, location, capacity, security
    • Lunch rooms and Refuge stations, location, capacity, air and water supply, communications
    • Mine communications system
    • Electrical distribution system


  • Critical path analysis and simulation
  • Development plan
  • Production plan
  • Mine closure
  • Environmental rehabilitation


  • Scheduling risks
  • Discrete Event Simulation

Economic evaluation and risk analysis

  • Revenue estimation
  • Metal Price Forecasting [1]
    • Net Smelter Return
    • NSR Factors
  • Examples
  • Cash flow and DCF estimation
  • Sensitivity analysis
  • Risk analysis
  • Valuation using real options

Risk management

  • Risks associated with imperfect input models
  • Risk assessment methods
  • Metrics
  • Design benchmarks
    • Scheduling Key Performance Indicators
    • Economical Metrics