Truck-haulage economics of mining open pits by high bench
This paper reviews an analytical model that defines the relationship of weight-weighted or volume-weighted average haulage distance with bench height and other related parameters, presents the optimum bench heights under various conditions in terms of minimizing the weighted average haulage distance of ore/waste during the full lifetime of an open pit mine, and discusses the truck-haulage economics of mining open pits by high bench, specifically by 15 m, 18 m and 20 m benches through marginal analyses. The observations from these analyses disapprove the previous conflicting assertions that the over-all weighted average haulage distance either increases or decreases directly with bench height. It is concluded that: (1) an increase of bench height to 15 m from 12 m is likely to be viable under the general conditions of large-scale deep open pit mines; (2) the reduction of haulage cost is much limited with the case of increasing bench height to 18 m from 15 m; and (3) the feasibility of mining open pits by 20 m benches is generally questionable. These conclusions may serve as a useful guide for those who advocate open pit mining by high bench.
Open pit mining, Haulage, Modelling, Bench height, High bench.