Journal of Mining Science

, Volume 50, Issue 3, pp 508–526

Optimized open pit mine design, pushbacks and the gap problem—a review

Mineral Mining Technology

DOI: 10.1134/S1062739114030132

Cite this article as:
Meagher, C., Dimitrakopoulos, R. & Avis, D. J Min Sci (2014) 50: 508. doi:10.1134/S1062739114030132


Existing methods of pushback (phase) design are reviewed in the context of “gap” problems, a term used to describe inconsistent sizes between successive pushbacks. Such gap problems lead to suboptimal open pit mining designs in terms of maximizing net present value. Methods such as the Lerchs-Grossman algorithm, network flow techniques, the fundamental tree algorithm, and Seymour’s parameterized pit algorithm are examined to see how they can be used to produce pushback designs and how they address gap issues. Areas of current and future research on producing pushbacks with a constrained size to help eliminate gap problems are discussed. A framework for incorporating discounting at the time of pushback design is proposed, which can lead to mine designs with increased NPV.


Pushback design open pit optimization cardinality constrained graph closure 

Copyright information

© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.COSMO-Stochastic Mine Planning Laboratory, Department of Mining and Materials EngineeringMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.School of Computer ScienceMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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