The Impact of Operating Cost on Life of Mine Costs of Hydrometallurgy Facilities

Author(s): J.R. Porter, C. Panaou
51st Annual Conference of Metallurgists, Niagara Falls, Canada


A significant effort is expended on preparation of the capital estimate for feasibility studies. The development of the operating cost estimate is usually allocated a significantly smaller budget and less emphasis is placed on ensuring the accuracy of the operating cost. This paper presents a comparison of capital and operating costs of hydrometallurgy processing plants in order to demonstrate the importance that variations in operating costs have on the overall life-of-mine costs. The analysis is supported by a case study on the operating costs of a water treatment plant at an existing Australian hydrometallurgy facility at the feasibility design level.