Sawing or cutting cost is controlled to a large extent by the sawing or cutting rate, which is heavily influenced by the performance of the saw. The performance characteristics of the saws are affected by a range of factors. However, the principal factors that require consideration in predicting sawing rates are the type of diamond saw, the saw operating parameters and the properties of the sawn rock. A variety of five groups of rocks (16 types) were cut using three types of diamond circular saws at different feed rates (0.2, 0.4, 0.6, 0.8, 1.0 m/min) and depths of cut (10, 30, 50, 70, 90 mm) and at a constant peripheral speed (65 m/s). A wide range of textural, mechanical, physical and intact properties of the rocks were quantitatively determined. Operating parameters of the diamond saws were continuously monitored during the cutting trials. Generally, down cutting method was applied in the experiments. The effects of the operating and rock parameters on the performance of the diamond saws were examined and relations between the cutting variables are described. Correlations between textural, physical and mechanical properties of the rocks with specific cutting energy of the saw are also highlighted. (C) 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.