Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration

Pages: 4

Publication Date:
Jan 1, 1987

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Abstract

Although the first published optimum pit limit design algorithm by Lerchs-Grossmann dates back to 1965, the majority of the open-pit mines in the US has not as yet adopted such a rigorous optimization algorithm. Instead, the floating cone approach initially developed by Kennecott Copper in 1961 is still used today for various reasons. However, shortcomings with the floating cone algorithm, particularly for precious metal deposits with erratic mineral distributions, have provided a renewed interest in optimizing algorithms. This paper compares the performance of the floating cone algorithm with the rigorous optimization algorithm of the Lerchs-Grossman's graph theory and the newly developed maximum network flow algorithm by Hanson (1986). The maximum flow algorithm is a modified version of the logic as initially advocated by Johnson in 1968. Comparisons are made for three different deposits in terms of the total profits generated and the computation times involved. The results of the comparison show that both algorithms produced higher total profitability pits than the floating cone in all three deposits, although the increase in profits never exceeded 1 % of the base design obtained using the floating cone. Between the graph theory and maximum flow, graph theory produced consistently higher profits. The current version of maximum flow, however, cannot be modified to produce the optimum pit. Nevertheless, the authors prefer the maximum flow over the graph theory, simply because it is easy to program as well as to explain. |

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