Long range mine planning involves developing a mining sequence that schedules the extraction of the ore and waste materials within a final pit limit. The objective is to define a sequence that best meets the defined strategic objectives. The main steps in the creation of an open pit mine plan are the final pit limit design, the design and sequencing of the mining phases, equipment selection and operating cost estimation.
Flexibility is the key strategic element in developing a mine plan. Planning the extraction sequences and rates for the various mining areas is a challenging and demanding activity. It is often necessary to consider numerous alternative strategies and what if scenarios. The number of alternatives that can be studied with limited manpower and time resources is restricted. In order to investigate strategic aspects of mine planning, a system to generate workable mine plans rapidly is required.
The concept of Visual Mine Planning is that the engineer can visualize the current plan, change a component of the plan, such as the annual cut-off grade schedule or the production rate within a particular Phase, and immediately see the effect on the mineralogical and cash flows. If the desired result is not achieved, a change is made and the effect is again immediately seen.
This paper presents results of research in this area conducted at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. The work includes the examination of cut-off grade strategy, sequencing, blending, stockpiling and shovel-truck fleet requirements using simulation.