The objective is to elaborate a computerized production management system implemented on a mining site, the St Salvy mine being used as an underground application site and the Almaden mine as an open pit one. The project will use the philosophy and the basic tools developed under the previous European Commission funded project, MA1M-0060-C.
A computerized tool has been developed for short range planning and control in mining. It is case specific, with a planning generating algorithm and a current status database, and dynamic, with a retrieval process. Both an underground and an open pit case study were made.
For the underground case study on the St Salvy zinc mine, the mine can be considered as a set of interdependent stopes, each using proper resources, all sharing a set of common resources. The progress of each stope may be organized according to various strategies. The solving algorithm directly implements this approach. The planning result is generated with a tree search algorithm. Updating the planning is achieved by retrieving the tool from the current situation. The consistency of this method has been checked.
Within the open pit case study for the Almaden mercury mine, a classic approach has been adopted, consisting in generating a geometrical envelope, in order to achieve production targets, which will be sequenced (automatic scheduling and resource allocation) using the exact available equipment. The envelope generation uses classical OR techniques on a set of blocks. The interesting feature of the tool consists in automatic mining block generation. Without major deviations, the update is achieved by retrieving the sequence.
After a set of trials and technical considerations, the final implementation of the prototypes was achieved on a personal computer (PC) platform. The developed prototypes have been tested and validated on an offline basis using compiled historical data. For technical and economical reasons, it was not possible to test the prototypes on the mining sites.
The project will progress through the building of a data acquisition tool, a planification tool and finally a reaction tool. The last one will integrate the previous ones by using a central database and running according to the acquisition rhythm to correct the plan.
The elaboration of each tool is divided into a set of studies and intermediate conceptions, as follows.
Stage 1 is acquisition involving: data flow study and requirements of the different operators; adaptation or building and integration of acquisition tools in the different fields (orebody, survey, plant, engineering); building of the central database; development of a methodology to obtain data on a mine; and data coherence study by use of arbitration rules.
Stage 2 is planification involving: planning elements requirements; study and integration of constraints and criteria to compute monthly production volume; formalization of production rules and resources allocation to build up an operation schedule; study for generalization and refinement of basic methods and tools to similar mines or specific subproblems; and study of a methodology to include new criteria within the existing system.
Stage 3 is reaction involving full scale testing of reaction means by comparing deviations between real data and forecasts, development of planning intervention priority and elaboration of short term interactive reaction tools.
Stage 4 is the conclusion and final report.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts