Among the various types of belt conveyors, the multi-drive technology has gained worldwide popularity in recent years because of the cost saving opportunities as a result of the possible reduction of the belt weight. Until recently, however, limited knowledge on the cost-effective design of such conveyor systems was reported in the literature. Following the findings of a novel contribution on this matter, this paper presents a comparative numerical study for the identification of the most advantageous belt conveyor design for a specific bulk material handling application. Three types of belt conveyor are compared: the single drive belt conveyor, the single-tandem drive belt conveyor and the multi-drive belt conveyor. Subject to the assumption made and the manufacturers supplied information, the study shows that the implementation of the most cost-effective multi-drive conveyor will result in equivalent annual cost savings of about 63,120 $(USD) and 29,475 $(USD) over the cheapest single drive and single-tandem drive contenders, respectively. Other economic and environmental spin-off effects are also evaluated in the paper.