Development of a capital investment framework for a gold mine
This study was done against the backdrop that executives should carefully consider all the options to manage difficult periods before letting employees go, especially if they are going to rehire employees shortly after the economic recovery. Therefore, the study investigated whether investing in operational development of a plant can be used to increase feasibility, rather than to make across–the–board labour cuts. Two South African mining companies were chosen for this study. They are two investment centres at AngloGold Ashanti, Mine X Ltd. and Mine Z Ltd. The investigating project was done at Mine X to extract gold from the neighbouring Mine Z. Mine X will have access to the minerals 40 years in advance of Mine Z due to insufficient essential infrastructure at Mine Z. The life–time of the project is 18 years (estimated). The main objective of this study is to investigate the feasibility, from Mine X’s point of view, with a deepening project including Mine Z. The most significant aspect will be to determine which investment timeframe decision will gain Mine X a feasible position in terms of economic growth. This will be achieved by the following secondary objectives in making a capital investment decision: 1. To describe the nature and significance of investment decision making. 2. To recognise appropriate capital investment evaluation techniques in conjunction with sensitivity analysis. 3. To apply the techniques and sensitivity analysis in order to make a decision of a possible, feasible investment opportunity at Mine X. 4. To develop a framework to identify the project’s components and associate and access difficulties for Mine X‘s project lifecycle. The feasibility study undertakes multiple scenarios and provides recommendations and a final report, based on the scenario that is the most viable. The following techniques which were identified were used to analyse the feasibility of the project: Net present value, internal rate of return and payback period. All these above techniques will be analysed in three different scenarios, namely: 1. Mine X will stay with its current operations without any new projects. 2. The development project will begin immediately. 3. A six–month delay in development of the project. The study found that the net present value was positive, the internal rate of return was more than the discount rate and the payback period was shorter than the project’s life–time regarding to all three above–mentioned scenarios. The highest net present value is calculated in case the project starts immediately. Both the internal rate of return and the payback period indicated that a six month delay in the project is the most viable. After considering all the facts, the study concluded due to the highest net present value the best feasible recommendation would be to start the project immediately. The value of this study is that it is the first study to investigate the relationship between the viability to delay or to start the investment project immediately in the South African mining industry. This study is also unique, since it takes into account how mining industries world–wide can achieve long–term success through development projects without losing key players, due to impulsive short–term downsizing decisions.