A Mining Project is a Field of Risks: A Systematic and Preliminary Portrait of Mining Risks

A Mining Project is a Field of Risks: A Systematic and Preliminary Portrait of Mining Risks

A. Badri S. Nadeau A. Gbodossou 

Mechanical Engineering Department, University of Quebec, École de technologie supérieure, Quebec, Canada

Unit of Education and Research in Management Sciences, University of Quebec in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Quebec, Canada

30 June 2012
| Citation



Due to the current economic situation and the growth in world demand, the mining industry is undergo-ing a period of spectacular development. The current need to increase production at mine sites coincides with the development of managerial capacities, the use of new industrial methods and equipment, and increased use of skilled workforce. Despite such developments, a number of researchers view the min-ing sector among the world’s most uncertain and hazardous industries. Although the sector utilizes risk management tools appropriately, several large-scale mining projects have failed as a result of neglect or underestimation of hazards. Total risk management of a new project remains a goal to be attained so as to enhance reliability of decisions and make mining organizations safer and more secure.

The intent of this paper is to provide researchers and practitioners a preliminary portrait of the risks related to new mining projects. To attain this objective, the authors have primarily used results from research undertaken in the field. They completed this portrait using the results of hazard identification studies that they conducted in an open-pit mining project in Quebec. During this study, a number of data-gathering techniques were used, including documentation analysis, collaborative field observa-tions, and interviews with managers and workers.

This work demonstrates the possibility of identifying a number of categories of known risks and uncertainties not recently taken into account in any systemic or systematic way in mining project risk management. In this paper, identified risks are categorized hierarchically to show the impact and pos-sibility of occurrence of each for every project phase. Despite having a number of limitations, this study enables construction of a risks portrait indispensable for completing a reliable and rapid assessment of mining project hazards.


mining industry, project life cycle, risk management, risks portrait


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