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Method of Appraising Economic Prospects of Mining Exploration over Large Territories: Algerian Sahara Case Study


  • M. Allais

    (Corps des Mines, Paris, France; École Nationale Superieure des Mines, Paris, France; Institut de Statistique de l'Université de Paris, Paris, France; Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris, France)


The present study has essentially been conceived as a part of a larger study in the field of operations research. Its purpose resides in the scientific detection of the best and economically optimal strategy to be used in prospecting for metal deposits in the Sahara. The purpose of mining exploration is to discover workable deposits, and to acquire certain information on the natural wealth. This, of course, will involve certain costs. With zero expenditure there is zero information. But the cost of complete information would be inconceivable. Between these two extremes there is an optimum which we propose to seek. Obviously, the determination of such optimum is impossible unless a certain attitude towards risk is adopted. Such determination will also be conditional on at least an approximate knowledge of the probability distributions involved in the problem. The present study aims at the analysis of the second aspect, and attempts to evaluate the economic prospects of mining exploration in the Sahara, from the point of view of statistical distributions of both the number of deposits and their value.

Suggested Citation

  • M. Allais, 1957. "Method of Appraising Economic Prospects of Mining Exploration over Large Territories: Algerian Sahara Case Study," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 3(4), pages 285-347, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:3:y:1957:i:4:p:285-347
    DOI: 10.1287/mnsc.3.4.285

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    Cited by:

    1. Sophie Jallais & Pierre-Charles Pradier & David Teira, 2008. "Facts, Norms and Expected Utility Functions," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00274361, HAL.
    2. Robert J. Kalter & Thomas H. Stevens & Oren A. Bloom, 1975. "The Economics of Outer Continental Shelf Leasing," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 57(2), pages 251-258.
    3. Smith, James L. & Lee, Thomas K., 2017. "The price elasticity of U.S. shale oil reserves," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 121-135.
    4. Herfindahl, Orris C., 1970. "Recursos naturales en el desarrollo económico," Copublicaciones, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), number 1803 edited by Editorial Universitaria, December.
    5. Santos, Teodoro M., 1981. "Research on Minerals for Philippine Development Planning: A Survey," Working Papers WP 1981-02, Philippine Institute for Development Studies.
    6. Smith, James L., 2002. "Oil and the economy: introduction," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 163-168.
    7. Jakobsson, Kristofer & Söderbergh, Bengt & Snowden, Simon & Li, Chuan-Zhong & Aleklett, Kjell, 2012. "Oil exploration and perceptions of scarcity: The fallacy of early success," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 1226-1233.

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