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Building a New Assessment Tool for Potential Rare Earth Underground Mining Projects

Barakos, G.; Mischo, H.


Once an ore body has been probed and outlined and initial resource indications deserve further attention, the evaluation stage has to begin to determine the potential exploitation. This analysis is a sophisticated process, let alone when it comes to underground mining projects and especially on rare earth deposits that are governed by notable boundary conditions. However, the significant numbers of the parameters to be considered and their complexity, as well as the solvency of the outcomes, often result in questioning the suitability of common evaluation methods. This has created a necessity for a new evaluation procedure that focuses on potential rare earth underground mining projects. This paper describes the construction development of an assessment tool that considers not only the mining method selection process but identifies social, economic and environmental impact factors and Rare Earth Element industry-specific criteria as well. Based on the philosophy of previous linguistic and numerical approaches, this combined tool is based on a step-by-step numerical analytical hierarchical process with weighted criteria. The purpose of building this tool is to adjust to the specifications of rare earth underground mining projects and to contribute into having accurate and secure con-clusions for if and when investment decisions should be made and minimize the potential risks regarding the viability of any mining project.

Keywords: rare earths; underground mining method selection; viability; assessment tool

  • Open Access Logo Contribution to proceedings
    7th Sustainable Development In Minerals Industry Conference (SDIMI 2015), 12.-15.07.2015, Vancouver, Canada
    Proceedings of SDIMI 2015, Vancouver: University of British Columbia


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