An approach to rational decision making in the orientation of mineral exploration efforts
The problem of strategic decision making in the metalliferous minerals industry has, to date, tended to have been solved by a stochastic process. This thesis describes a new approach to this problem involving rational decision making for the orientation of mineral exploration efforts. The thesis is composed of two basic parts, the first being the specific statement of the problem, underlaying assumptions and constraints, and its theoretical solution. The second part being an example of the use of the theory by a hypothetical mining company to determine the best exploration strategy, and a review of the status of known deposits in the light of the results of the strategy developed. Success is defined, in general, as the excess of reality over desire. Using this concept in exploration, reality is expressed as a series of grade-tonnage curves representing the sources of the commodity. Financial desire is initially defined as an internal rate of return, but this is then translated to equivalent grade-tonnage combinations and is then also depicted as a series of grade-tonnage curves. The chances of exploration success are then determined by overlaying the grade-tonnage curve of reality on that of desire. On the basis of this overlaying specific deductions are made regarding the relative amount of effort that can be rationally justified for each commodity. In addition, specific, attractive deposit types are identified and minimum grade and tonnage criteria are calculated for each deposit type within each commodity. Finally, these specific conclusions are combined to form the best overall strategy for investment in mineral exploration by a hypothetical company.