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Minerals 2019, 9(2), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/min9020108

Incorporation of Geometallurgical Attributes and Geological Uncertainty into Long-Term Open-Pit Mine Planning

1
Advanced Mining Technology Center, Universidad de Chile, Santiago 8370451, Chile
2
Delphos Mine Planning Laboratory & Department of Mining Engineering, Universidad de Chile, Santiago 8370448, Chile
3
GeoInnova, Santiago 7500032, Chile
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 December 2018 / Revised: 5 February 2019 / Accepted: 6 February 2019 / Published: 13 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geometallurgy)
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Abstract

Long-term open-pit mine planning is a critical stage of a mining project that seeks to establish the best strategy for extracting mineral resources, based on the assumption of several economic, geological and operational parameters. Conventionally, during this process it is common to use deterministic resource models to estimate in situ ore grades and to assume average values for geometallurgical variables. These assumptions cause risks that may negatively impact on the planned production and finally on the project value. This paper addresses the long-term planning of an open-pit mine considering (i) the incorporation of geometallurgical models given by equiprobable scenarios that allow for the assessing of the spatial variability and the uncertainty of the mineral deposit, and (ii) the use of stochastic integer programming model for risk analysis in direct block scheduling, considering the scenarios simultaneously. The methodology comprises two stages: pit optimization to generate initial ultimate pit limit per scenario and then to define a single ultimate pit based on reliability, and stochastic life-of-mine production scheduling to define block extraction sequences within the reliability ultimate pit to maximize the expected discounted value and minimize the total cost of production objective deviations. To evaluate the effect of the geometallurgical information, both stages consider different optimization strategies that depend on the economic model to be used and the type of processing constraints established in the scheduling. The results show that geometallurgical data with their associated uncertainties can change the decisions regarding pit limits and production schedule and, consequently, to impact the financial outcomes. View Full-Text
Keywords: geometallurgy; geological uncertainty; mine planning; risk management geometallurgy; geological uncertainty; mine planning; risk management
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Morales, N.; Seguel, S.; Cáceres, A.; Jélvez, E.; Alarcón, M. Incorporation of Geometallurgical Attributes and Geological Uncertainty into Long-Term Open-Pit Mine Planning. Minerals 2019, 9, 108.

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