Spatial aspect of long-term openpit mine sequence optimization
Transactions of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration
, 2015, Vol. 338, No. 1, pp. 393-402
This paper treats the spatial aspect of mine sequence optimization, revealing it in the context of determining the optimum number of cutbacks of an openpit mine. Cutback mining is currently a dominant method in the mining of base and precious metals. It is based on a pseudo-economic discretization of the pit space using advanced pit design algorithms. The result of implementing such an approach of pit design is the generation of pit shells, which need to be grouped into an optimum number of cutbacks to maximize project value. In this paper, the development of a mathematical solution of this problem using combinatorial analysis is presented. The solution provides a multivariate investigation of the optimum mine sequence with the implementation of a method for production scheduling optimization that uses Net Present Value (NPV) as a criterion for assessing the economic efficiency of mine sequencing. A case study using the conditions of a hypothetical openpit gold mine is provided to illustrate the applicability of the approach.The results obtained reveal the complex nature of NPV variation as a function of the cutback geometry.