Using Dynamic DCF and Real Options Methods to Value and Assess Flexible Mine Project Design


Michael Samis, Graham A. Davis

The dramatic fluctuation in metal and energy prices in the last few years is causing mining companies to consider alternative analytical methods for mine design and valuation. The goal is to improve insight into unforeseen changes in the economic and project environment and to design projects that take advantage of management's ability to respond to these changes. Such flexibly managed projects will contain value that cannot be measured using traditional engineering economic approaches, further motivating the used of alternative, modern valuation methods. This paper considers the valuation of an uneconomic low-grade resource at an open pit gold mine using two of the most popular modern valuation methods, Dynamic Discounted Cash Flow and Real Options. Our analysis demonstrates that the conventional valuation method may incorrectly represent the value and risk attached to mining this type of resource because it is unable to recognize management's ability to respond to future events in a manner that minimizes losses and exploits advantageous business conditions. The results of this paper highlight the importance of recognizing flexibility and business uncertainty in both mine design and valuation.
Keywords: valuation, Dynamic Discounted Cash Flow, Real Options