CIM MineSpace 2001
Abstract Over the years we have heard from several authors about the need to better integrate the underground mine design and planning processes. The belief is that with better integration, better designs and plans will come out - designs that are “optimized”. Some researchers have focused their efforts on data integration, others have looked at closing the loop between production control & monitoring with mine planning & scheduling. In spite of all this work, fully integrated applications combining geological modeling, stope design and geomechanics, mine planning and scheduling, rock extraction and material handling system design, mine support systems, economic analysis as well as production control do not yet exist for the underground hard rock mining industry.

There are several likely explanations. Underground orebodies can be quite varied and thus require different extraction schemes. The design and planning processes are interrelated and interdependent and thus are extremely complex. There is also the time dimension and the value of money. The mining engineer has an appreciation of the complexities involved but how does one convey this information to a programming team responsible for developing an integrated computerized design & planning system.

This paper will focus on systems engineering methods as well as other possible approaches to describe the components, the critical factors and the complexities inherent in the underground mine design and planning process.
Keywords: Systems engineering, Underground Computer Applications, Mining Complexities, System integration, Mine Design & Planning, Software Engineering
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