Economic block model development for mining seafloor massive sulfides
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionMinerals. 2018, 8 (10), 1-27. 10.3390/min8100468
To support open-pit studies related to seafloor massive sulfides mining projects, an economic block-model is required. A modular framework is proposed to produce economic block models accommodating various levels of data. The framework is illustrated on a site of interest located on the Arctic Mid-Ocean Ridge. Random sampling based on literature datasets is performed to assign grades, porosity and grain density to the model. Other required parameters are produced using relationships found in the literature. Revenues are estimated using literature values within a net smelter return methodology. Mining costs are determined using the cost of a mining system and the estimated time required for excavating the ore. The excavating time is assessed through the specific energy for the ore and the mining machines. The specific energy is calculated with a hyperbaric rock-cutting model. An economic block value of each mining block is then provided. The mining block database resulting from the study constitutes a valuable input into further studies on resource development. The framework has also been used to support a sensitivity study. The availability of the marine assets has been found as having the greatest influence on the economic value of the study case.