Mining companies are favouring extraction technologies that select high volumes of lower ore grades because it reduces operating costs while maximising productivity. Also, with major improvements being made to extraction technologies, companies can unlock value from sub-economic mineral concentrations because they can be converted into valuable ores.
Another factor affecting the mining industry’s shift towards lower grade ores is the financial advantage of extending the life of older mines, rather than spending resources on creating new ones. This, combined with technological innovations, incentivises the use of lower ore grades in mining.
Key fact: In copper mines, the average ore grade has decreased by approximately 25% in just ten years
Moreover, decreasing ore grades have one huge benefit when it comes to production: the size of a deposit increases faster than the rate of ore grade decline, meaning that lower ore grades contain a greater quantity of metals.
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