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This paper develops the themes explained at the previous SAIMM Platinum conference by Whittle and Burks1. Optimization techniques can be used to significantly increase the value of mining businesses by enabling better long- term planning decisions. Open pit and underground mine design, mine scheduling, cut-off grade and blending, stockpiling, and the linking of these to flexible elements of the metallurgical recovery processes are all evaluated together. Transport or sale of intermediate products and the requirements of the product metal markets can also be considered. Experience shows that net present value (NPV) can potentially be increased by 5-35 per cent or more, usually even before the expenditure of significant amounts of project capital.

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