Optimal mining rates revisited: Managing mining equipment and geological risk at a given mine setup
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- Del Castillo, M.F., Godoy, M.C. & Dimitrakopoulos, R. J Min Sci (2015) 51: 785. doi:10.1134/S1062739115040165
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This paper presents a mixed integer programming formulation dealing with the effective minimisation of risk incurred when optimizing mining production rates in such a way that production targets are met in the presence of geological uncertainty. This is developed through the concept of a “stable solution domain” that provides all feasible combinations of ore and waste extraction for the ultimate pit limit of a given deposit, independent of the geological risk. The proposed formulation provides an optimal annual extraction rate, together with the optimal utilization of a mining fleet and an equipment acquisition program. This solution eliminates unnecessary capital expenses and is feasible under all geological scenarios. The mathematical programming model is detailed and tested at a gold deposit. The results are used as input to a production schedule design and are compared to the schedule generated using a constant mining rate; the comparison shows that about 40% of equipment acquisition can be delayed for 7 years and mill demand still be met, thus maximizing profit and minimizing costs.