Stochastic production phase design for an open pit mining complex with multiple processing streams
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In a mining complex, the mine is a source of supply of valuable material (ore) to a number of processes that convert the raw ore to a saleable product or a metal concentrate for production of the refined metal. In this context, expected variation in metal content throughout the extent of the orebody defines the inherent uncertainty in the supply of ore, which impacts the subsequent ore and metal production targets. Traditional optimization methods for designing production phases and ultimate pit limit of an open pit mine not only ignore the uncertainty in metal content, but, in addition, commonly assume that the mine delivers ore to a single processing facility. A stochastic network flow approach is proposed that jointly integrates uncertainty in supply of ore and multiple ore destinations into the development of production phase design and ultimate pit limit. An application at a copper mine demonstrates the intricacies of the new approach. The case studyshows a 14% higher discounted cash flow when compared to the traditional approach.
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