Production phase and ultimate pit limit design under commodity price uncertainty
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Open pit mine design optimization under uncertainty is one of the most critical and challenging tasks in the mine planning process. This paper describes the implementation of a minimum cut network flow algorithm for the optimal production phase and ultimate pit limit design under commodity price or market uncertainty. A new smoothing splines algorithm with sequential Gaussian simulation generates multiple commodity price scenarios, and a computationally efficient stochastic framework accommodates the joint representation and processing of the mining block economic values that result from these commodity price scenarios. A case study at an existing iron mining operation demonstrates the performance of the proposed method, and a comparison with conventional deterministic approach shows a higher cumulative metal production coupled with a 48% increase in the net present value (NPV) of the operation.
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