Structured Analysis – An important tool for understanding and describing complex mining systems

CIM Vancouver 2002
Abstract Mine design, planning and scheduling is a very complex, iterative process comprising several interrelated and interdependent activities. Several mining variations are feasible for every orebody, and uncertainties in metal prices, mineral recovery, and advancements in technological innovations all complicate the determination of the optimum design. Many mining companies mitigate these risks through a “lowest possible mining cost” strategy in the hope that higher-cost producers will be forces out of the market before they will. Thus, this production strategy encourages business process improvements (BPI) and business process reengineering (BPR) activities. Fundamental to most BPI and BPR work is some form of systems analysis. It is through a detailed understanding of the processes involved that improvements can be made. Structured analysis is a powerful systems analysis technique that is well suited for modeling and analyzing complex process activities. Through a series of diagrams, this paper presents a vertical slice through the analysis work performed for formally describing the underground hardrock mine design and planning process. These diagrams illustrate how simple graphic constructs can be used to decompose the most complex situations into easily understandable diagrams to facilitate understanding, communication, improvement and reengineering
Keywords: process improvement, systems analysis, reengineering, mine design and planning, structured analysis
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