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Mine Development Terms

A summary of the types of mines and their phases of development


Greenfield projects are those with minimal to no previous exploration. Substantial exploration is required before the project can become development ready.


Brownfield projects are those who range from advanced development stage projects with a known resource to a proven production asset. 

Strip ratio

Refers to the ratio of overburden/waste required to be removed to extract one unit of ore. 

Open Pit Mine

A mine that can be mined from the earth’s surface, with exposure maintained throughout the extraction period. This method is preferred when the resource is large and close to the surface. 

Underground Mine

A mine where resource extraction occurs below the earth’s surface. The entry to the mine may be a horizontal or vertical tunnel known as a shaft or decline. 

Underwater Mine

A mine where the resource exists in an aquatic environment like the ocean floor. This process is unique and challenging and requires specialist mining and drilling equipment.

Scoping Study

An initial study used to define a possible metallurgical process of a project and the overview of unit operations required. Data used are preliminary in nature. Capex and opex are bound to a +/- 40% accuracy range. 

Prefeasibility Study

A more detailed and informative study that contains information such as ore composition, detailed testwork and advanced process designs. Capex and opex are bound to +/- 30% accuracy range. 

Feasibility Study

Definitive or Bankable Feasibility Studies are advanced stage works and based on finalized process designs for the project. Most input elements are defined with up to 30% of the engineering definition completed. Capex and opex are bound to +/- 15% accuracy range. 


The mining industry’s official standard for reporting exploration results, mineral resources and ore reserves. The standard is managed by the Australasian Joint Ore Reserves Committee.

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