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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 0038-223X


LITTLE, J.; KNIGHTS, P.  and  TOPAL, E.. Integrated optimization of underground mine design and scheduling. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2013, vol.113, n.10, pp.775-785. ISSN 2411-9717.

It is common practice for underground mine plans to be created sequentially, where results from one planning process form the input data for another. While this is practical for manual methods, computerized optimization techniques should consider an integrated approach to creating the global mine plan. This is because optimizing an individual mine planning process, such as stope layouts, introduces a likelihood of increasing costs or decreasing revenues associated with other areas, such as production scheduling, as harmful decisions must be balanced. Considering the interaction and influence that individual underground mine planning processes have on each other during optimization will provide more profitable results than if these are ignored. Optimization techniques for stope layouts and production scheduling are reviewed. An integer programming model is proposed that allows for either integrated or isolated optimization. Both approaches are separately applied to a block model. The results demonstrate the model's ability to produce optimal long-term sublevel stoping mine plans and the benefits of using an integrated approach.

Keywords : underground mine optimization; stope layouts; underground production scheduling; integer programming; mathematical programming application.

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