Discount rate selection for long-term sequential mineral projects

Journal title

Gospodarka Surowcami Mineralnymi - Mineral Resources Management




No 3

Divisions of PAS

Nauki Techniczne


<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>Mineral projects depict various specific features that differentiate them from alternative investments in other industries. Among these features, one can specify unique characteristics of mineral deposits such as scarcity, geological setting and structure, resource/reserve uncertainty and depletability. Resource uncertainty results in the sequential nature of operations (exploration, development and production stages). Other specific features of mineral projects include long investment - and production periods, high capital intensity, varying production conditions, unpredictability and high volatility of mineral prices, etc. Specific features of mineral projects are sources of exceptionally high risks. To ensure the payback of high capital costs these significant risks must be addressed in the economic evaluation of a mineral project. In the discounted cash flow analysis, DCF, which is the most commonly used in evaluations of such ventures, all project uncertainties are reflected in a level of the discount rate used for the actualization of future cash flow values. The riskier project has a higher discount rate. Apart from being extremely high risk, mineral projects are both sequential and long-term - the first feature means that the extent of a project risk decreases dramatically over time, and second - that care should be taken when evaluating these projects because cash flows arising in later years of the project lifetime have little value. The paper delivers a proposal to apply the time-varying discount rate to the economic evaluation of a mineral project. The first part introduces a commonly accepted approach to evaluating discount rates along with conceptions of adjusting them to risks of individual projects. In the following sections, the article presents the current practice in the setting of discount rates for mineral projects and then a proposed modification of this approach by introducing the time-varying discount rate. In the end, a verification of the proposed suggestion based on a copper project example has been delivered.</jats:p>


Komitet Zrównoważonej Gospodarki Surowcami Mineralnymi PAN ; Instytut Gospodarki Surowcami Mineralnymi i Energią PAN




ISSN 0860-0953