Estimating Mining Costs for Prefeasibility Analyses

Estimating Mining Costs for Prefeasibility Analyses

Areas of Study: Management

Qualifies for CMS


Short Course Short Course
  • Audience Level: Professional Tool Tip
  • Dates: Unscheduled Tool Tip
  • Early Bird: Tool Tip
  • Enrollment: Included Tool Tip
  • Registration Fee: Tool Tip
  • Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada Tool Tip
  • Duration: 2 days
  • CEUs: 1.6 (16 PDHs) Tool Tip

Course Summary


This course recognizes that mining is an economic endeavor, and, after safety, the cost of mining is one of the most important considerations in that endeavor. If you are an exploration geologist, a mining engineer, a metallurgist, a mine accountant, or a practitioner of any number of other mining-related specialties, at some time you will be asked to either do a cost estimate or to evaluate or utilize the results of an estimate whether you feel qualified to do so or not. This course will prepare you to do both.

This successful class was introduced by Edumine in Vancouver in May 2011. It has since been taught five additional times in Perth, Seattle, Spokane, and via live webcast in Korea. Student involvement and feedback have played a vital role in continued improvement in class content and presentation.

Course Aim and Structure

This basic course will introduce you to multiple systems for estimating mining costs, including shortcut methods, and more detailed methods, and will prepare you to do a credible estimate. You will gain an understanding of the level of detail required for a credible estimate, and an understanding of the shortcomings of some of the shortcut methods commonly used. An efficient procedure for estimating costs suitable for publication in Canadian NI 43-101 reports is emphasized. A capital and operating cost estimate for a surface mine is used as an example to demonstrate how the procedure is applied.

Hands-on experience will be facilitated in workshop sessions using spreadsheets and Sherpa Mine Cost Estimating Software. If time allows, students will be given the opportunity to prepare a cost estimate using their own data for an actual project. Prepared spreadsheets will be provided to students for later use, and the Sherpa system will be available to all students for a period of time following the class.

Student involvement will be encouraged during the workshop sessions and through discussion of the students' previous estimating experiences, if any, and through critique of the methods presented in the class. For details of topics covered see course schedule.

Prefeasibility level cost estimating for surface mines will be emphasized in this class. Students interested in a more detailed engineering approach to cost estimating for underground mines should also attend the class Engineering-Based Cost Estimating for Underground Mines immediately following this class.

Participants are advised to bring a laptop computer (with MS Excel), and are encouraged to bring actual mine project data if available.

Certificate in Mining Studies

This course qualifies for two days of short course credit for the Certificate in Mining Studies (CMS), a continuing education program of accredited short courses, webcasts and online courses for lifelong learning in mining, supported by University of British Columbia, University of Arizona and University of Concepción. more details »

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Registered participants who attend the entire short course and complete an evaluation at the end of the course will receive a Certificate of Attendance, confirming the Professional Development Hours (PDH)/Continuing Education Units (CEU) earned. Please confirm with your employer and/or professional association that this course qualifies for CPD.

Who Should Attend?

This is an introductory course appropriate for engineers, geologists, mineral economists and others with a basic understanding of mineral resources and mining.

Scott Stebbins P.E.

Mr. Stebbins is licensed in Washington State, USA, as a professional mining engineer. For thirty years his work has focused on estimating the costs and determining the economic viability of almost every facet of proposed mineral development projects.

He began his career at the U.S. Bureau of Mines in 1980, where he was involved in the various aspects of mineral property evaluation. In 1990 he resigned from the Bureau and went to work for Western Mine Engineering, Inc. (now InfoMine USA, Inc.). While there, he specialized in cost model development and equipment operating costs determination. In 1995, he founded Aventurine Engineering, Inc., as a platform from which to develop and market cost-estimating and economic-evaluation software. In addition to software development, Mr. Stebbins has worked consistently since leaving the Bureau of Mines as a mine and mineral processing cost estimator and consultant with over 100 project evaluations to his credit.

Most recently, he was tasked with writing the chapters on both surface and underground mine cost estimating for the upcoming release of the 3rd edition of the Society of Mining Engineer's Mining Engineering Handbook.

Provisional Schedule

This course is divided into two sessions with following topics:

Day 1:
Time Session
08:15 – 08:45 Registration and breakfast
08:45 – 09:00 Welcome and introduction
09:00 – 10:30

Introduction to mine cost estimating for prefeasibility analysis

  • Overview of cost estimating methods
10:30 – 10:45 Break with refreshments
10:45 – 12:30

Standards and terminology
Choosing a production rate

12:30 – 13:30 Lunch
13:30 – 15:00

Itemized cost estimating: Open pit mine

  • The 12 steps to a completed estimate
  • Mine plan
  • Production rate
  • Haul distance
15:00 – 15:15 Break with refreshments
15:15 – 17:00

Equipment selection and supply requirements

Discussion and spreadsheet workshops covering:

  • Excavating/loading
  • Hauling
  • Drilling
  • Auxiliary equipment
  • Supplies
Day 2:
Time Session
08:30 – 09:00 Breakfast
09:00 – 10:30

Rounding out the estimate

Discussion and spreadsheet workshops covering:

  • Personnel requirements
  • Preproduction stripping requirements
  • Buildings and structures
  • Haul roads
  • Determining unit pricing and costs
  • The cost summary sheet
10:30 – 10:45 Break with refreshments
10:45 – 12:30

Useful estimating tools

  • Parametric cost estimating systems
  • Cost indexes
  • Scaling factors
  • Sensitivity analysis
12:30 – 13:30 Lunch
13:30 – 15:00

Workshop: Estimating mining costs using Sherpa Software

15:00 – 15:15 Break with refreshments
15:15 – 17:00

Workshop continued: Estimating mining costs using Sherpa Software

How to Register

To register yourself, click the ‘Register Now’ button and complete the online registration form.
To register on behalf of someone else, or to register groups of 2 or more, please contact us; discounts may apply.

Questions? Please contact Edumine: +1 604 683 2037 or [email protected] and we will get back to you during regular business hours, Monday - Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm Pacific Time.


The fee covers the lecture, access to Pre-Course e-Learning, a certificate of attendance, and catered breakfasts and lunches including light refreshments. The fee does not cover accommodation.

Early Bird: there is a 10% discount if you register at least 30 days prior to the course start date. A 10% discount is offered for groups of 5 or more OR if you provide your Annual Edumine subscription User ID at time of registration. The maximum discount that can be applied is 20%.


The course will be held at InfoMine Inc, Vancouver, Canada, Suite 640 - 580 Hornby Street, Vancouver, BC. Detailed arrival instructions will be sent to all participants 10-14 days prior to the commencement of the course.

Hotel Accommodation

If you need to make hotel reservations, we recommend the following hotels. Each hotel is within a 5-15 minute walking distance of the course venue and provides convenient access to transportation and 'Canada Line' rapid transit to/from Vancouver International Airport.

When making reservations make sure to ask for the "InfoMine corporate rate".

  • Executive Hotel Le Soleil, named by Resorts & Great Hotels Magazine as "One of the Top 100 Hotels in the World," has been recipient of the American Automobile Association's (AAA) 4-Diamond rating since its opening. Executive Hotel Le Soleil differentiates itself with a unique mixture of stylish sophistication and old world elegance. Featuring 119 luxury boutique lodging accommodations, it is conveniently located across the street from the InfoMine/Edumine offices. Experience Copper Chimney restaurant's award winning chefs and enter into an exotic world of Indian fusion food.
    The Hotel Le Soleil's website is:

  • Metropolitan Hotel Vancouver: make yourself at home in one of the Metropolitan Hotel's 197 elegantly appointed guestrooms and suites. Enjoy the Metropolitan's 24-hour Business Center; fully-equipped Health Club with indoor pool, whirlpool, sauna, and squash court; and the Diva at the Met restaurant, a AAA 4-Diamond rated restaurant featuring Vancouver's finest cuisine, celebrated Chef's table, and distinguished wine cellar. The Metropolitan has received a "4 Green Keys" rating through the Green Key Eco-Rating Program.
    The Metropolitan Hotel's website is:

  • Vancouver’s most art-full hotel, the Listel Hotel is a cultural tourist’s dream and a showcase for eco-friendly practices. Packed with original art, this 129 room boutique hotel boasts comfortable, contemporary furnishings and a perfect location in the West End, the city’s most eclectic shopping and dining neighbourhood. The hotel is also home to Forage, a pioneer in sustainable restaurant operations and home to Chef Chris Whittaker’s award-winning farm-to-table fare. Forage is known for its small plate dining and BC wine and craft beer on tap.
    The Listel Hotel's website is:

  • Days Inn Downtown Vancouver Hotel: experience the modern comforts of the historic full-service business hotel located in the core of downtown Vancouver. Their West Coast hospitality will ensure your stay is as comfortable as possible. Discover true value at the Days Inn Downtown Vancouver Hotel as they provide FREE Wireless Internet, Bottled Water / Tea & Small Business Center. InfoMine’s corporate rate includes $10.00 breakfast voucher, best available room at check-in, Day Pass to Health and Fitness Centre around the corner.
    The Days Inn Downtown's website is:

  • The Delta Vancouver Suites is a 225 all-suite property designed with business travel in mind. Centrally located in the Heritage District of downtown Vancouver, the hotel is just one block from Waterfront Station, the main hub of the Canada Line providing convenient and economical transportation to/from the Vancouver International Airport. The hotel is in close proximity to many corporate offices, the Vancouver Convention Centre and government offices making business connections easy. Attractions such as Rogers Arena and BC Place Stadium and neighborhoods including Gastown, home to many of the best restaurants Vancouver has to offer are all a short walk away. The Delta Vancouver Suites' website is:

For further information about hotels in Downtown Vancouver, see the following website:

Terms and Conditions

By submitting a short course registration form, you agree to pay the associated fees in full before the course start date.


Notice of cancellation must be given in writing by letter, fax or email and action will be taken to recover, from the delegates or their employers, that portion of the fee owing at the time of cancellation.

A 10% administration fee will be levied for cancellations made 4 or more weeks prior to the first day of the course. Thereafter, the following cancellation refund schedule will apply.

  • Cancellation made more than 3 weeks prior to the first day of the short course: 70% of the registration fee is reimbursed.
  • Cancellation made more than 2 weeks prior to the first day of the short course: 50% of the registration fee is reimbursed.
  • Cancellation made less than 2 weeks prior to the first day of the short course: no reimbursement of registration fees.

Edumine reserves the right to cancel an advertised course on short notice. It will endeavour to provide participants with as much notice as possible, but will not accept liability for costs incurred by participants or their organisations as a result of the course being cancelled or postponed. If a course is cancelled, fees will be refunded in full. Edumine also reserves the right to postpone or make such alterations to the content of a course as may be necessary.

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