Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 74, Issue 6, pp 4699–4718 | Cite as

Consideration of sustainable development principles in ultimate pit limit design

  • Nabiollah Adibi
  • Majid Ataee-pour
Original Article


Sustainable development is a concept that was introduced almost at the end of the twentieth century and quickly entered the literature. In recent years, the concept of sustainability and sustainable development (SD) has been successfully extended to mineral resources, but there have been few attempts to consider this concept in the ultimate pit limit (UPL) design. The problem of UPL determination is the first step in the open pit mine design and planning process. There are several mathematical, heuristic and meta-heuristic algorithms to determine UPL. The objective function in these algorithms is the maximization of total profit. Few models integrated some aspects of mining reclamation benefit and cost in the UPL design. However, there is not any comprehensive method for UPL design based on SD considerations. This paper provides a model for UPL designing based on SD indicators. According to this model, it is possible to integrate the SD principles in UPL design. The proposed model is explained by a simple 2D example and applied in an iron mine as a case study. Generally, using SD principles in UPL design may lead to a larger UPL than traditional method (profit maximization). The suggested method is appropriate for those ore bodies with no underground option. In cases with the underground option, before applying the suggested method, the transition level from surface to underground shall be determined.


Ultimate pit limit Sustainable development Indicators Mining 


  1. Amankwah H (2011) Mathematical optimization models and methods for open-pit mining. Linköping Studies in Science and Technology, Dissertations No. 1396, Linköping UniversityGoogle Scholar
  2. Ataee-pour M, Rahmanpour M, Adibee N (2012) Ultimate pit limit optimization with simultaneous maximization of profit and ore content. In: 4th Iranian mining engineering conference, Tehran University, Iran, pp 145–151Google Scholar
  3. Azapagic A (2004) Developing a framework for sustainable development indicators for the mining and minerals industry. J Clean Prod 12:639–662. doi: 10.1016/S0959-6526(03)00075-1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Badiozamani MM, Askari-Nasab H (2014) Integration of reclamation and tailings management in oil sands surface mine planning. Environ Model Softw 51:45–58. doi: 10.1016/j.envsoft.2013.09.026 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Burgher EK, Erickson E (1984) The optimization of coal mine production schedules using linear programming: an example that determines the effects of reclamation costs and interest rates. Min Sci Technol 2:69–78. doi: 10.1016/S0167-9031(84)90223-8 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Coccetta L, Kelsey PJ (2001) Models for mine site rehabilitation. In: International conference on models and simulation, pp 2155–2160Google Scholar
  7. Craynon J, Karmis M (2011) Optimizing coal mine design for sustainable development at large surface coal mining operations in Appalachia. 5th international conference on sustainable development indicators in the mineral industry (SDIMI). Aachen, Germany, pp 75–82Google Scholar
  8. De Palacios LDLT (2011) Natural resources sustainability: iron ore mining. Dyna 78(170):227–234. Accessed 30 Nov 2014
  9. Dogan T, Bascetin A, Sertabipoglu Z (2009) The effects of changing block size on ore quality control and environmental impacts. 8th international Symposium on Mine Planning and Equipment Selection (MPES). Alberta, Canada, pp 301–310Google Scholar
  10. Gholamnejad J (2009) Incorporation of rehabilitation cost into the optimum cut-off grade determination. J South Afr Inst Min Metall 108:89–94Google Scholar
  11. Gholamnejad J, Mojahedfar AR (2010) Determination of the largest pit with the non-negative net profit in the open pit mines. J Min Environ 2(1):45–52Google Scholar
  12. GRI (2005) GRI mining and metals sector supplement pilot version 1.0. Global reporting initiative. Accessed 30 Nov 2014
  13. Hilson G (2000) Sustainable Development policies in Canada’s mining sector: an overview of government and industry efforts. Environ Sci Policy 3:201–211. doi: 10.1016/S1462-9011(00)00086-1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. IBRAM (Instituto Brasileiro De Mineracăo) (2012) Information and analysis on the Brazilian mineral economy. Accessed 30 Nov 2014
  15. King BM (1998) Impact of rehabilitation and closure costs on production rate and cut-off grade strategy. In: Conference on application of computers and operations research in the mineral industry (APCOM), London, UK, pp 617–629Google Scholar
  16. Krajnc D, Glavic P (2004) Model for integrated assessment of sustainable development. Resour Conserv Recycl 43:189–208. doi: 10.1016/j.resconrec.2004.06.002 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lerchs H, Grossmann IF (1965) Optimum design of open-pit mines. Trans Can Inst Min Metall 68:17–24Google Scholar
  18. Mehrabi B, Karimi B (2004) Jalalabad iron deposit; example of hydrothermal iron deposit. In: Proceedings of 22nd geoscience symposium of Iran, Tehran, pp 125–134Google Scholar
  19. O’Hara TA, Suboleski CS (1992) Costs and cost estimation. In: SME mining engineering handbook, 2nd edn, vol 1, Chap 6.3. Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration, United State pp 405–424Google Scholar
  20. Picard JC (1976) Maximal closure of a graph and applications to combinatorial problems. Manag Sci 11(22):1268–1272. doi: 10.1287/mnsc.22.11.1268 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Rashidinejad F, Osanloo M, Rezai B (2008a) An environmental oriented model for optimum cut-off grades in open pit mining projects to minimize acid mine drainage. Int J Environ Sci Technol 5(2):183–194. doi: 10.1007/BF03326012 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Rashidinejad F, Osanloo M, Rezai B (2008b) Cutoff Grades optimization with environmental management; a case study: Sungun copper project. IUST Int J Eng Sci 19(5–1):1–13Google Scholar
  23. Singh RK, Murty HR, Gupta SK, Dikshit AK (2007) Development of composite sustainability performance index for steel industry. Ecol Ind 7:565–588. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2006.06.004 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. UN (1992) Agenda 21. In: Proceedings of United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, Brazil, Rio De Janerio. Accessed 30 Nov 2014
  25. World Commission on Environment and Development (WECD) (1987) Our common future. United Nations, Accessed 30 Nov 2014

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mining and Metallurgical EngineeringAmirkabir University of TechnologyTehranIran

Personalised recommendations