Mine planning today
Effective planning of mining operations is a critical factor that determines the successful operations of any underground mine. Setting the right sequence of mining development, ore extraction, and ground handling operations, optimal resource allocation, and risk management, are all an integral part of the planning process.
At any modern mine, the automation of mine planning is an essential component of information management in mine development. Today, there are over a dozen various software mining packages used across the mining industry. All of them include variations of underground mining planning modules as part of a general Mining Information Support System (MISS).
Integration of planning methods into the corporate MISS is a sound approach since the effective optimization of mine planning is possible only inside a unified informational space. The latter includes regularly refined geological model, mine survey information, the configuration and the status of mining fleet and transportation equipment, economic indicators, etc.
However, despite general understanding of mine planning and scheduling challenges, in practice planning automation is facing serious difficulties. These difficulties are primarily caused by the attempts to use for planning “universal” software products that cannot be naturally adapted to the tasks introduced into the particular mine workflows. They may also often fail to follow the corporate standards and safety regulations or effectively support some of other special nuances of a mine project.
Mine planning technology in Mine Advisor
Mine planning and scheduling technology offered by SightPower is flexible and easy to adapt. It allows to quickly and seamlessly customize the planning process for each mining company or project.
Convenient intuitive graphical interface allows users to quickly visualize an ore extraction sequence, enables them to create alternative options for mining development plans, or helps them to simply modify or amend the plan. While creating a scenario, users are able to operate with the terminology and naming they’re used to in standard Gantt charts, and simply export the developed plans into MS Project.
Traditionally, mine planning is divided into long-term, medium-term and short-term plans. The following brief descriptions of planning logic can be effectively tailored to specific customer requests.
- Planning is based on the mine partition model which introduces the division into structural mining units (as panels, blocks, ore extraction areas or development sections)
- The overall scope of work is determined according to the agreed annual mine production target for each structural mining unit. The scope of work to be fulfilled can be either entrusted to an expert or mining engineer, or automatically predetermined by automatic methods
- All mining units are arranged into a tree-like “mining sequence” with simple to configure dependencies and predecessors. Ensuring checks and balances are in place to avoid moving forward with a mining phase before the previous phase of the project is complete
- A mining engineer can control the mining start date for any structural unit, the allocation of mining fleet equipment to certain mining area or mine level, as well as the exact position and performance of each machine reflected across the planning system, shifting out the timing of all future phases which are dependent on the flected across the planning system, shifting out the timing of all future phases which are dependent on the completion of this structural unit, whether by logical sequence, or availability of resources
- The system dynamically compiles charts for total ore production during a certain period, and plots the effective utilization of mining equipment. Thus, when one changes the parameters of any mining operation, or shifts the date of commencement of mining for any structural unit, an operator immediately foresees how this change may impact on the whole plan
Medium-term and short-term planning
- Planning is based on the topological model of the mine, and it takes into account the detailed models of mine workings, indicating the route for each continuous miner
- A mining engineer interactively moves continuous miner along mine workings, setting the beginning and the end of each task for particular machine
- There is an option to set up various modes of operations for continuous miner and maintenance crew for each mine working
- There is an option to introduce maintenance schedule for mining machines and for ground handling network, and hence to assess the downtime for mining and transport equipment
- The duration of the tasks is automatically recalculated taking into account downtime and various mine development scenarios
- The systems controls the capacity of the ground handling network and helps identify any bottlenecks
- The system always refers to the actual, regularly updated geological model for ore volume forecasts and for calculation of ore grade mined during each shift