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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

Print version ISSN 0038-223X


KLUGE, P.  and  MALAN, D.F.. The application of the analytical hierarchical process in complex mining engineering design problems. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2011, vol.111, n.12, pp. 847-855. ISSN 0038-223X.

Mining engineers frequently encounter complex design problems for which the critical components of the design are difficult to quantify or compare. Teams of people typically work on these designs and human perceptions and judgments play a strong role. To assist with this process, the analytical hierarchical process (AHP) as a decisionmaking tool is described in this paper. Although the technique is used in many other disciplines, it is currently not widely used in mining engineering in South Africa. To use the AHP process, the problem should be treated as a hierarchy that defines the goal, the alternatives to reach it, and the criteria for evaluation of these alternatives. Pairwise comparisons are conducted on the criteria of the hierarchy to establish priorities. The value of the technique is that it is simple to test for consistency amongst the pairwise comparisons to ensure that the answer obtained is better than that provided by a random selection. To illustrate the technique, the use of a backfill support system in a platinum mining project was investigated. Ten design parameters, which will be impacted by the use of backfill, were identified and weighted according to their relative importance. The result of the AHP evaluation was that the use of a backfill support system should be preferred to a conventional support system at the mine.

Keywords : analytical hierarchical process; backfill; mine design.

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