Project Evaluation— a key step to implementation

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 75, No. 843, 1982

D.M. SLAVICH, Manager of Financial Services, Bechtel Financing Services, Inc., San Francisco, California

In today's operating and investment climate, project evaluation is both more important and more difficult. It is more important because economic and financial analyses of a proposed project provide a basis for judgment of a project's commercial viability by equity participants, lenders and, in some cases, other participants such as offtakers and governments. It is more difficult because these analyses must, of necessity, be based on estimates, projections and evaluations which must be made in a period remarkable for its economic and political uncertainty.Project evaluation starts with the analysis of the engineering, commercial and financial information available. Beginning with the preliminary design and capital cost estimates, alternative financing plans can be developed outlining possible sources of funds, terms and security arrangements. Pro-forma financial statements can also be developed, including sources and uses of funds, cash flow schedules, income statements and balance sheets. With these results, various profitability measures can be determined.Subsequently, in an effort to deal with uncertainty, these results can be tested by measuring the impact on project viability and profitability of changes in project and external variables such as product process, mining and processing rates, operating and financing costs, currency exchange rates and other factors.The results are a number of financial projections reflecting different assumptions for key project parameters. The projections can be used to structure the project to achieve the maximum financial performance. Projects, the financial viability and profitability of which can be demonstrated under varying market conditions, will be the most competitive in capital markets.
Keywords: Project evaluation, Mineral economics, Financing, Inflation, Foreign exchange, Cash flow, Profitability, Models.