The planning and management of an open pit mine is a complex and daunting task in itself, particularly for mines that have extended mine lives. There are certain optimisation techniques that can be implemented to resolve any issue that could arise during the mine planning process. Pit optimisation is of vital importance during the mining process and is often one of the very first steps that are carried out by engineers in an open pit mine design. The economic viability of a mine is highly dependent on the careful planning and management of the mine.
The pit optimisation process
A pit analysis is conducted to determine the most profitable pit design, given a mineral resource and a set of economic and metallurgic parameters. These parameters usually consist of commodity prices, process recoveries and overall operating costs. The first outcome of pit optimisation is to determine the ultimate pit mine that outputs the highest possible undercounted surplus between net revenue and overall operating costs, without considering scheduling constraints or discounting. The applications included in pit optimisation are ore-body modelling, ore-reservation estimation, the design of optimum pits, the determination of optimum blends, the determination of optimal production schedules, optimal operating layouts, the best equipment maintenance and replacement policies as well as a wide range of logistic problems that could occur.
The optimisation software
The mining software plays a critical role in the optimisation process and equips the mining engineers with the tools to design optimal mine plans that ensure the mine will be profitable and ensure longevity of the mine. The tools offered for modelling, estimation, design, optimisation and scheduling provide users with the flexibility to choose the specific functionality when required.
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