New Developments On Mine Planning And Grade Control At Sishen Iron Ore Mine

Steynfaard, D. J.
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 10
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2003
Sishen Iron Ore Mine is situated 280 km north-west of Kimberley in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. The mine produces and sells high quality iron ore of various specifications to various national and international clients. The saleable product is derived from the blending and beneficiation of different types and qualities of hematite iron ore. This paper documents the new developments which were implemented (or are in the process of being implemented) on the mine in the long-term planning, medium-term planning, grade control and material tracking in the beneficiation plant with special attention being paid to the quality of the final, saleable product. The process starts with the long-term planning where the pit shell and pit optimization is determined by Whittle 4X. New developments include the introduction of a linear programming based scheduling system to enhance the long-term schedule generated by Whittle 4X. The LP route was decided on in order to take into account all the constraining factors of the final product that could not be configured in Whittle. To complement this the XPAC Auto Scheduler scheduling package was introduced to do the medium-term mine scheduling. This 18-month rolling plan includes cost parameters to enable the planner to extract a detailed operational budget from the scheduling while ensuring that production standards are maintained and grade constraints are met. The existing grade control system was enhanced with GPS capabilities and a computer system to do material tracking. The high precision GPS system introduced on the shovels allows for the accurate control of the loading procedures at the mining face. Because of the complicated geology and grade composition of blasting blocks it is imperative to accurately differentiate between different materials in the same blasting block and being able to excavate that with the loading equipment. The GPS system on the trucks allows for accurate location monitoring of dumping in order to keep track of specific material types. The state-of-the-art material tracking system developed for Sishen will enable the grade control officer to keep track and record various parameters of the material from its in situ position in the blasting blocks, through the crusher and onto different stockpiles, in various stages of the beneficiation process and onto the blending beds, into the dispatching trains and eventually into the ships for international distribution. These developments elevate the Sishen planning and grade control systems to a new level of service excellence from which management can obtain accurate and timely information on product status. It also enables Sishen to maximize resource utilization while still complying with the tough market constraints.
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