Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Jara J.J., Moreno F., Jara R., Dubournais F., Mata R., Peters D., Marquardt C. and Lagos C. (2019)

Ranking of Placer Gold Prospects in Chile Through Analytic Hierarchy Process

Revista : Natural Resources Research
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación


Chile has a rich, but poorly known history of placer gold mining. At present, this sector is almost nonexistent and there are some restrictions for its revival: disperse and partial information on existing resources and limited technical expertise to assess the potential of placer gold mine sites. This paper presents the background, methodology and results of the prioritization process of known prospects of this kind in Chile. This research was part of a publicly funded project aimed to incentivize the development of this industry. The ranking was carried out using the analytic hierarchy process, which allowed to include different quantitative and qualitative variables related to the economic potential, technical aspects, contextual viability and socioeconomic factors in the analysis. The results show that, despite the increasing relevance of environmental and community issues in mining development, the business potential and the economic/technical aspects are the main factors in the early selection of a site to advance in exploration and development activities. Both variables represented around 40% and 37% of weights in the final selection, respectively. In contrast, contextual viability and local socioeconomic impacts only accounted for the remaining 23%. This study also shows that the inclusion of experts with different backgrounds in the process enriches the analysis and does not significantly distort the final outcome of the prioritization. Finally, the relevance of using MCDM tools when assessing the attractiveness of mine sites for their development is highlighted, particularly when public funds for subsequent exploration activities are committed.