With a detailed database of mining, minerals, and metals (MMM) projects, IPA can quantitatively measure the performance of capital projects at the individual project, project system, and industry levels.
The Mining, Minerals, and Metals (MMM) business area covers those businesses and projects that extract and process minerals. Project scopes in the business area cover open pit, open cast and underground mining, transportation, processing, refining and finishing, along with associated infrastructure activities such as power, water, and construction camp facilities.
IPA collects and maintains project data to benchmark and analyze mining and mineral processing projects, including those producing aluminum, bauxite, coal, copper, diamonds, gold, iron ore, nickel, platinum, potash, steel, and other minerals. IPA’s MMM business area supports the MMM industry at three levels:
Individual Project Level
IPA can establish an individual mining or mineral processing project’s level of readiness for proceeding into the Feasibility phase or at the full-funds authorization point by measuring project risks, determining its competitiveness against like projects, and determining whether Best Practices have been used for development.
Project System Level
Project benchmarks are used to evaluate the effectiveness of a company’s process for selecting, developing, and executing projects. Opportunities for system improvements are identified also.
Downstream industry benchmarking conferences and cost engineering forums allow MMM owner companies to share Best Practices for the more effective delivery of capital projects.
IPA’s ability to measure mining and mineral project performance is grounded in data. A Mineral Projects database—a subset of IPA’s database of more than 17,000 projects—includes metrics from the evaluation of more than 1,100 mineral projects worldwide. Using this MMM projects database, IPA’s experienced team of analysts is able to quantitatively measure the level of definition of orebody characterization, mine definition activities, process plant development, and definition of key infrastructure elements from the beginning to the end of an owner company’s project development and execution process.
IPA also has established a path to deliver mining and mineral processing assets successfully. The pathway is rooted in a gated process for defining project fundamentals throughout the project development process, known to many as Front-End Loading (FEL). Mine, Process Plant, and Infrastructure FEL underpins the asset development practices and has strong links to project outcomes.
The best-performing mineral companies developing projects with comparable execution durations are able to deliver projects that are 10 percent more competitive than other industry projects. IPA research shows that better mine project definition and better process plant / infrastructure definition helps project cost predictability, eliminate schedule slip, increase cost efficiency, drive execution speed, drive better start-up and early operations performance, achieve better safety, and potentially eliminate major late changes.
Capital Project Evaluation
Using a proprietary set of databases and statistical models, IPA evaluates individual projects and project systems in a number of key areas. IPA can establish an individual project’s readiness for authorization, quantify the cost and schedule risks, and determine competitiveness against like projects. Benchmarking a group of projects within a client's portfolio enables IPA to evaluate the effectiveness of an owner company’s process for selecting, developing, and executing projects, and identifies where and how improvements to the process can be made.
Mine Front-End Loading (FEL) Assessment
A risk mitigation tool, IPA’s Mine FEL, quantitatively measures the level of orebody and mine definition activities by assessing and rating each stage of a mining project from drilling, geological modeling and metallurgical work through mine design and planning to mine production. The tool helps business and project teams to understand how well their mining project is defined at each stage of its development. The tool also assesses the use of industry Best Practices.
Mineral Processing and Infrastructure FEL Assessment
Provides a risk mitigation tool that quantitatively assesses the level of definition associated with mineral processing plants and their associated infrastructure requirements. The assessment identifies cost, schedule, and operational performance risks as early as the Pre-Feasbility phase through to project execution. The assessment also identifies and recommends Best Practices and risk mitigation strategies to increase the project’s chances of success.
IPA offers organization and project team assessment services to determine owner and project team function competencies and assess team integration, including the use of contract services.
MMM companies regularly turn to IPA’s research services to identify key drivers of project success for megaprojects, expansion projects, and stay-in-business projects, to name a few. An MMM database of more than 500 projects from around the world allows researchers to analyze key project success metrics, including safety, cost, schedule, startup duration, and operational performance. The database contains information on coal, iron ore, bauxite, gold, diamond, nickel, and copper mines (open pit and underground), as well as metals and minerals processing facilities projects. Unmatched datasets, combined with IPA’s research expertise into capital projects, result in studies with insights that can help mining companies develop strategies to better cope in difficult markets.
Project Assessment Software
With the FEL Toolbox software application, a company can accurately measure the quality of Front-End Loading (FEL), or project definition, for a particular project (less than US $20 million), based on IPA data. Additionally, project teams can use the application to benchmark their project’s FEL compared to other projects executed by their company as well as similar projects in the industry.
Training & Education
IPA’s education division, the IPA Institute, offers a full suite of courses sharing capital project development Best Practices derived from IPA research. The following are public courses frequently attended by project professionals in the MMM industry:
Several MMM owner clients participate in these groups to share knowledge and Best Practices for improving capital project effectiveness:
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Manager, Mining, Minerals, and Metals
Baqun currently serves as Manager of the Mining, Minerals, and Metals Business Area. Since joining IPA in January 2006, Dr. Ding has been involved in the analysis of mineral, exploration & production (E&P), refinery, chemicals, and pipeline projects of different sizes for major international companies. In recent years, he has been mainly focused on the evaluation of complex megaprojects planned and executed by various industries. Dr. Ding is also a member of IPA’s Review Board, which reviews all IPA deliverables. His areas of expertise include reserve estimates, mineral property evaluations, mineral project feasibility studies, and detailed mine planning and design. Prior to joining IPA, Dr. Ding worked as a mining engineer for approximately 20 years, which included years of hands-on experience with China Gold in China.