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Optimum machining parameters are of great concern in manufacturing environments, where economy of machining operation plays a key role in competitiveness in the market. This paper proposes a new optimization technique based on the modified ant colony algorithm for solving multi-pass optimization problems. The cutting process has roughing and finishing stages. The machining parameters are determined with the minimum unit production cost, subject to a set of practical machining constraints. The results indicate that the proposed modified ant colony framework is effective compared to other techniques carried out by different researchers.