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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 2225-6253


SARI, Y.A.  and  KUMRAL, M.. Clustering-based iterative approach to stope layout optimization for sublevel stoping. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2021, vol.121, n.3, pp.97-106. ISSN 2411-9717.

Underground mining operations tend to have higher operating costs than surface mines. When metal prices decrease, profitability is jeopardized due to the high costs. Therefore, mining management harnesses new practices that increase operational efficiency. One way to manage this challenge is to invest in new mine planning practices. Stope layout optimization as a part of underground mine planning aims to identify a portion of the orebody in the form of production volumes (stopes) to maximize profit under roadway and stope dimension constraints. In this paper we propose a novel approach based on identifying ore-rich areas of the deposit and prioritizing their extraction through an iterative heuristic clustering approach. The proposed approach is compared with and validated by an exact method through a small mining example. The heuristics produced nearly identical results in a very short time. Finally, a case study was carried out using a larger data-set. The cluster-based iterative approach generated near-optimal stope layouts in a computationally effective manner

Keywords : underground mining; iterative optimization; stope layout planning; sublevel stoping.

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