Mining operations determine a long-Term production schedule, often to maximize net present value. For a time horizon of between years and decades, optimization models seek the extraction times with monthly or yearly fidelity of three-dimensional, notional blocks of ore and waste within a deposit to satisfy spatial precedence constraints, as well as resource constraints on the amount of material extracted and sent to the mill. With algorithmic advances, as well as those in mine planning software and in hardware, we are able to solve instances with a decade-long horizon at daily fidelity. The resulting objective, repeatable, and defensible schedules inform production and maintenance supervisory decisions based on resource availability, that is, loaders, shovels, haul trucks, and mineral processors. We implement our solutions at the Turquoise Ridge underground gold mine in Nevada, United States. These solutions indicate more than a 2% increase in total ounces extracted over a decade while decreasing development footage by as much as 11% over the same time horizon. Furthermore, we are able to incorporate rules governing a shared resource and to evaluate binding versus nonbinding capacity constraints.
- Integer programming applications
- Mine planning
- Production scheduling
- Underground mining