Integrated short and medium term underground mine production scheduling
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The development of short- and medium-term mine production schedules in isolation from each other has meant that only a local optimum can be achieved when each scheduling phase is carried out. The globally optimal solution, however, can be achieved when integrating scheduling phases and accounting for the interaction between short-term and medium-term activities simultaneously. This paper addresses the task of integrating short- and medium term production plans by combining the short-term objective of minimizing deviation from targeted mill feed grade with the medium-term objective of maximizing net present value (NPV) into a single mathematical optimization model. A conceptual sublevel stoping operation comprising 30 stopes is used for trialling segregated and integrated scheduling approaches. Segregated medium- and short-term scheduling using separate models achieved an NPV of $42 654 456. The final scheduling approach involved integrating the two scheduling horizons using the newly-developed globally optimal integrated production scheduling model to achieve an NPV of $42 823 657 with smoother mill feed grade. The larger the stope data set, the larger the difference between the two scheduling approaches is likely to be. At the very least, an integrated approach ensures feasibility across the two scheduling horizons, which cannot always be assumed when using a segregated approach.
Copyright © 2012 Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM) http://www.saimm.co.za/
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