Prefeasibility Cost Estimating and Economic Evaluation

Prefeasibility Cost Estimating and Economic Evaluation

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: Seattle, WA, USA Tool Tip
  • Duration: 2.5 days
  • CEUs: 2.0 (20 PDHs) Tool Tip

Course Summary


This course examines the procedures used to produce itemized cost estimates as they are applied to prefeasibility-level mine project analyses, and prepares you to complete a credible evaluation.  Efficient techniques for estimating costs using basic engineering principles are emphasized.  Multiple examples of capital and operating cost estimates for surface mines, underground mines, and mineral processing plants are presented to demonstrate how the procedures are applied.  The techniques necessary to select equipment fleets, determine supply requirements, and specify personnel needs are all presented.  Both spreadsheet-based modeling and the Sherpa Cost Estimating System are demonstrated for comparison to the manual methods described.  Project economic evaluation principles are also detailed with an emphasis on using discounted cash flow analysis for making exploration and project design decisions.

Student involvement will be encouraged through discussion of the students’ previous estimating experiences (if any) and through critique of the methods presented in the class.  In addition, students will be asked to work problems and should anticipate spending about 20% of their time in class doing so. For details of topics covered see course schedule.

Pre-Course e-Learning

Prior to the course, registered delegates have access to the online e-learning material consisting of an introductory course titled Estimating the Cost of Mining.

Certificate in Mining Studies

This course qualifies for two and a half 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 ConcepciĆ³n. 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?

The course is 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

Instruction will take place from 9:00am to 5:00pm on the first and second day, with a lunch break from noon to 1:00pm and 15 minute snack breaks in mid-morning and mid-afternoon, and from 9:00am to 12:00pm on the third day. Topics covered will include the following:

Day 1: 23 February 2012, from 9:00am to 5:00pm Pacific Standard Time

Introduction to Mine Cost Estimating:

  • Why estimate costs
  • Engineering based, itemized estimates

Itemized Cost Estimating:

  • Mine Planning Considerations:
    • Introduction
    • Mine plan
    • Production rates
    • Haulage paths and distances
  • Equipment Selection:
    • Excavating/Loading
    • Hauling
    • Drilling
  • Equipment Selection:
    • Hoisting, ventilation, and pumping
    • Supplies
    • Auxiliary equipment needs
Day 2: 24 February 2012, from 9:00am to 5:00pm Pacific Standard Time

Itemized Cost Estimating (continued):

  • Rounding Out the Estimate:
    • Personnel requirements and burden
    • Preproduction stripping and haul road construction requirements
    • Buildings and structures
    • Haul road construction requirements
    • Underground development
    • Mineral processing
  • The Final Steps:
    • Determine unit pricing and costs
    • Operating cost summary
    • Capital cost summary
    • Sherpa Mine Cost Estimating software
    • Spreadsheet-based modeling
  • Useful Estimating Tools:
    • Cost indexes
    • Scaling factors
    • Geometric regression analysis
  • Real World Applications:
    • Reliability vs. accuracy
    • Geology and site characteristics
    • What it costs vs. what we pay
Day 3: 25 February 2012, from 9:00am to 12:00pm Pacific Standard Time

Economic Evaluation:

  • Net Present Value:
    • Commodity values
    • Discounted cash flows
    • Apex Software for Economic Evaluation
    • Comparative analyses
    • The impact of project delays
  • Risk Assessment:
    • Sources of uncertainty
    • Bracketing unknown costs and determining distributions
    • Monte Carlo Risk Assessment

How to Register

Complete and return the registration form by fax: 604 681 4166 or email: [email protected].

If you have any questions you can contact Edumine by phone at +1 604 683 2037.


The full fee for the 2.5 day program is USD 2,000. The fee covers the lecture, a comprehensive set of course notes, access to Edumine pre-course e-learning, a certificate of attendance, catered breakfast and lunches incl. light refreshments. The fee does not cover accommodation.

Early Bird: there is a 10% discount if you register at least 30 days before 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.

* These discounts cannot be combined.


The course will be held at Homewood Suites Seattle Convention Center/Pike Street, 1011 Pike Street, Seattle, WA. Detailed arrival instructions, including a map, 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:

  • Homewood Suites Seattle. The downtown Seattle hotel is in close proximity to the dining and shopping of Pike Place Market, and numerous other must-see attractions in Seattle's bustling and vibrant downtown area. The Homewood Suites website is: When making reservations make sure to ask for the "InfoMine corporate rate".

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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