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Production Schedule Optimisation in Underground Hard Rock Mining Using Mixed Integer Programming


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Author M Nehring and E Topal


There are presently no suitable underground mine production scheduling optimisation models available for application to sublevel stope mining. Scheduling underground production for maximum return is therefore still a manual process, which generally involves scheduling production from the next available highest cash flow stope within the operational constraints of the project. In most mining operations, the scheduling problem is too large and complex to guarantee truly optimal results through manual scheduling.

This paper reviews some general optimisation studies that have been proposed for underground hard rock mining. Furthermore, an example of a mixed integer programming model is presented for a small conceptual sublevel stoping operation. Comparative results of a schedule generated by a mixed integer programming (MIP) production scheduling model and a manually generated model on a nine stope example is presented. Results indicate that the potential benefits of the MIP production scheduling model for the purpose of maximising NPV are significant. Finally, a new constraint was formulated to limit multiple exposures of fill masses for use in an existing MIP production scheduling model. Testing of the formulation took place on the central stope of the nine stope example, which showed that the formulation performed its task without breaking other operational constraints.

Nehring, M and Topal, E, 2007.
schedule optimisation in underground hard rock mining using mixed integer
programming, in Proceedings
Evaluation 2007
, pp
Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: