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Using simulation to quantify uncertainty in ultimate-pit limits and inform infrastructure placement

Mining Engineering , 2015, Vol. 67, No. 12, pp. 49-55

Deutsch, M.; González, E.; Williams, M.


Uncertainty exists in ultimate-pit limits due to geologic variation and unpredictable economic landscapes. In this work, we show how this uncertainty affects the ultimate pit and how it can be analyzed to improve the mine planning process. A stochastic framework using geostatistical simulation and parametric analysis was used to model the effects of geologic and economic variations on ultimate-pit limits and overall project economics. This analysis was made possible by a new pit optimization implementation that can be automated and set up to calculate ultimate pits for hundreds of different scenarios in a matter of hours. Quantifying ultimate-pit uncertainty early in the mine planning process allows mining engineers to make informed decisions regarding infrastructure placement and to mitigate the possibility of incurring substantial costs to relocate critical mine facilities.