Sie sind auf Seite 1von 4

Technical Report

World of Mining Surface & Underground 57 (2005) No. 3

Production scheduling in coal surface mining

using 3D design tools

Computer aided design tools have become an indispensable

tool in the planning and design of surface mining operations. The
powerful visualization and scenario analysis features facilitate a
greater understanding of the mining operation and help the mining
engineers identify leverage points. 3D production scheduling tools
provide exible evaluation of multiple design and scheduling scenarios, from the purely interactive graphical scheduling of a design,

to spreadsheet-like creation and manipulation. Such tools enable

graphical output that shows where mining takes place for each
scheduling time period, in the form of contours and 3D wireframes
of the design. In addition to period summary reports, more detailed
bench reports can also be produced. Integrated assimilation of
geological modelling, mine design and schedule allows complete
freedom to experiment with various what-if type scenarios.

Produktionsplanung im Kohlentagebau mittels 3D-Gestaltungswerkzeugen

Computergesttzte Designwerkzeuge sind zum unverzichtbaren
Instrument fr die Planung und Gestaltung des Tagebaubetriebs
geworden. Die umfangreichen Mglichkeiten der Visualisierung
und Analyse von Szenarien ermglichen ein besseres Verstndnis
des Tagebaubetriebs und helfen dem Ingenieur, Ansatzpunkte zu
erkennen. 3D-Produktionsplanungswerkzeuge ermglichen die
exible Bewertung vielfltiger Gestaltungs- und Planungsszenarien, von der rein interaktiven graphischen Erstellung einer
Zeichnung bis zu tabellenkalkulatorisch aufgebauten Entwr-

fen und Verfahrensweisen. Mittels dieser Werkzeuge knnen

grasche Darstellungen erzeugt werden, die zeigen, wo in jedem
schematisch festgelegten Zeitraum der Abbau stattnden wird
in Form von Umriss- und 3D-Gitterdiagrammen. Zustzlich
zu periodischen Zwischenberichten knnen auch detailliertere
Leistungsberichte erstellt werden. Mit der Integration von Geomodelling, Tagebaudesign und -plan verfgt man ber unbegrenzte Mglichkeiten, um mit Was wre, wenn-Szenarien zu

the production schedule where the most commonly used target

is to maximize net present value (NPV). Detailed description on
optimisation techniques in production scheduling can be found
in [1, 2, 3, 5, 9, 10, 11].
In the planning and design process, production scheduling is
commonly supported by different types of spreadsheets [7].
However, if there are constraints on the schedule such as those
that can be associated with achieving grade targets, the scheduling process can be laborious and time consuming. Even if there
are no strict grade constraints, it is often next to impossible for a
mining engineer to know if there is signicant room for improving
the value of a given schedule. The complexity of mine production scheduling in practice entails a computer solution to meet
these challenges in a technologically efcient and cost-effective
manner. In todays technology-rich era, a scheduling process can
be produced by computer software that enables the evaluation
of all mining sequences and determines their contribution to the
protability of the surface mine. In particular, the 3D CAD tools
have changed the methodology by which mining engineers plan,
design, and maintain records of mining structures throughout
their life cycle. Mining Engineers benet from this progress, as
parallel advancements in hardware and mining software help
them to visualize the complexity and spatial distribution of data,
allowing them to make engineering changes, and test or compare
different concepts.
In computer design of a production schedule in coal surface mining, a series of events is required to meet the specied blending
or production targets, maximize the equipment usage, minimize
the cost, and maximize the life of the mine. This paper discusses
an approach to surface mine production scheduling that provides
visual interaction, dynamic analysis and feedback between the coal
geological model, surface mine design, and schedule. The authors
have used fully integrated mining software such as Mincoms
MineScape to generate production scheduling [6].


Surface mining operations involve complex and multi-faceted

processes that must be planned, designed and evaluated to
provide the exploitation of the ore deposit at a minimum cost
with a view to maximizing prot. Production scheduling in surface
mining is an important facet of the planning and design process. It determines mine life and therefore cash ows including
capital and operational costs, and revenues [4]. Commonly, the
production scheduling involves sequencing of ore deposits to be
mined in each period over the life of the surface mine subject to
precedence and other physical constraints imposed by the mining
system [8]. Many variables must be considered and the efcient
planning and design of ore removal over the life of the mine must
be implemented to achieve predetermined targets with minimum
costs. Mining engineers often seek an optimal solution within
College of Earth and Mineral Sciences,
The Pennsylvania State University, 154 Hosler Building,
University Park, PA 16802-5000, USA
Tel. +1 (0) 814-865-4288, Fax +1 (0) 814-865-3248
Mincom, Inc., 9635 Maroon Circle, Suite 100,
Englewood, CO 80112, USA
Tel. +1 (0) 814-940-8727, Fax +1 (0) 814-940-8726
Mincom, Inc., 9635 Maroon Circle, Suite 100,
Englewood, CO 80112, USA
Tel. +1 (0) 303-446-9000, Fax (303) 446-8664

Technical Report

World of Mining Surface & Underground 57 (2005) No. 3

Scheduling procedure

Generally, there are two principle scheduling modes including

target scheduling (TC) and equipment scheduling (ES). Within the
TC, it is required to nominate production targets for each mining
area, activity or equipment item being scheduled. This is achieved
by assigning a sequence of blocks to each item, and allocating
each block to a time period. ES shares some similarity with target
scheduling, but is more suited to short term planning and budget
applications where greater detail is required. A roster is used to
specify the weekly operating pattern of each scheduled equipment item together with roster exceptions (holidays), availability
and utilization. Each item of equipment can perform one or more
of the modeled activities, which can vary from block to block,
between material types, and period to period.
The entry point for production scheduling is a geological model of
the coal deposit inside the so-called ultimate mine limits. Such a
model contains a number of geometric blocks where appropriate
data values are assigned to each block. These data include block
spatial coordinates, block size, volume, tonnage, heating value,
ash and sulfur content, etc. Such resource data are imported into
a schedule database, which represents the starting point to form
the base framework for schedule denition, accumulation and
appraisal. Figure 1 shows a typical block model, Figure 2 shows
the ultimate mine limits, Figure 3 presents ash content values as-

signed to the block model; while Figure 4 shows all values of the
specic geometric block within the geological model.
After importing a block model, there is a number of constraints
that have to be set including both mining and economic. These
requirements correspond to rules according to how overburden
and coal can be mined, tonnage and volume targets, allowable
quality range, losses, dilution, blending, stripping ratio, cut-off
requirements, etc. Additionally in some situations, it is prudent
to update the blocks database via surveyed face locations rather
than re-reserving (Figure 5). This is particularly true for short term
scheduling when the engineer is under pressure to produce the
schedule for the next week in a short turnaround time. Associated
data for mining equipment include production rates, performance
criteria and cost data. Equipment performance can be a function of
mining conditions, moderated by availability and productivity considerations, or simply read from a table of measured performance.
Cost data contain equipment costs, overburden and coal loading
and haulage costs, stockpile costs and coal processing costs.
An analysis of data within the database is often generated by different types of reports, including numeric tables, spreadsheets,
graphs, and 3D plans. Figure 6 shows an example of using 3D visualization tools to view block model within ultimate mine limits.
The calendar database needs to enable denition of the time periods
including days, weeks, months or years that must be scheduled

Fig. 1:

An example of a cross-section taken through the geologic


Fig. 2:

Ultimate mine limits

Fig. 3:

Ash content values assigned to the block model

Fig. 4:

Values of specic geometric block within the block model

Technical Report

World of Mining Surface & Underground 57 (2005) No. 3

Fig. 5:

An example of blocks data update based upon surveyed

face locations

Fig. 6:

An example of 3D graphics showing block model within

ultimate mine limits

Fig. 7:

An example of calendar database

Fig. 8:

Graphical interpretation of scheduled time sequences

Fig. 9:

Interactive and automated equipment scheduling

Fig. 10:

Equipment schedule represented by time chart

and the targets that must be achieved during each of these periods.
This database may also be dened using detailed shift rosters for
each piece of equipment (including scheduled maintenance, crib
breaks, etc.) for short term planning or by using a user-structured

calendar of equipment availability. Figure 7 shows the example of

data denition within the calendar database; Figure 8 presents
graphical interpretation of scheduled time sequences; while Figures
9 and 10 show the examples of equipment scheduling.

Technical Report

World of Mining Surface & Underground 57 (2005) No. 3

Fig. 12:
Fig. 11:

Production data represented as a numerical report in Excel


Schedules may be presented in a variety of forms, including bar

and Gantt charts, reports of any prescribed content and format
and plan, or 3D plots shaded by time. Exporting the data to Excel is most often used for numeric reporting. Graphical output is
normally progress plans, a shading plan by period for a bench or
machine, but may also include Gantt and time charts. Figure 11
shows scheduled production data represented as a numerical
report in an Excel spreadsheet.
Schedule design may be aided by visual cues such as shadings by
grade/quality ratio, current face positions highlighted within the 3D
surveyed mine image and any other output such as contours and
3D wireframes of the design. Alternatively, scheduling and targeting
using predened sequences of mining may be used for quickly
ranking a choice of mining scenarios. The mining sequence can
also be shown animated on-screen, and each frame automatically
saved at a user-dened resolution for export to other multimedia
presentation software.
Detailed mining operations may be simulated using a technique
that advances all active operations and activities concurrently,
through a user-specied time slice, for example, one shift. The
feasibility of a mining plan considering inter-equipment dependencies and possible contention may be fully evaluated. Material
ow may be modelled by assigning destinations to each unit of
material being mined. Stockpiles may be managed, blending
alternatives studied and dumping plans (including pit backlling)
generated. Backtracking and undoing provides complete freedom
to experiment with various what-if type scenarios. Figure 12 shows
an example of incorporating 3D visualization with mine production
scheduling and projected mine topography data.


CHANDA, E. & DAGDELEN, K. (1995): Optimal Blending of

Mine Production Using Goal Programming and Interactive Graphics Systems. International Journal of Surface
Mining, Reclamation and Environment, 9: 203-208.


FRIMPONG, S., ASA, E. & SUGLO, R. (2001): Numerical Simulation of Surface Mine Production System Using Pit Shell
Simulator. Journal of Mineral Resources Engineering, 10,
2: 185-203.


FOURIE, G. & DOHM, G. (1992): Open Pit Planning and Design. In: HARTMAN H. (Ed.): SME Engineering Handbook,
2nd edition, Vol. 2:1274-1297; (SME).


FYTAS, K, PELLEY, C., CALDER, P. (1987): Optimization of Open

Pit Short- and Long-Range Production Scheduling CIM
Bulletin: 55-61.


Mincom: MineScape Schedule, http://www.mincom.

com/products/minescape, 2003.


MineMax: Mine Schedule Optimization, White paper,

Bentley: pp. 1-12, 1998-2000.


RICCIARDONE, J. & CHANDA, E. (2001): Optimising Life of

Mine Production Schedules in Multiple Open Pit Mining
Operations: a Study of Effects of Production Constraints
on NPV. Mineral Resources Engineering, 10: 301-314.


THOMAS, G. (1996): Optimisation of Mine Production Scheduling. IIR Dollar Driven Mine Planning Conference: p. 12.


WANG, D. (1996): Long Term Open Pit Production Scheduling Through Dynamic Phase Bench Sequencing.
Transactions of the Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: pp.


WESTCOTT, P. (1991): Mine Scheduling and Optimisation.

Mining Industry Optimisation Conference, Australasian
Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: pp. 55-58.


CACCETTA, L., KELSY, P. & GIANINI, L. (1998): Open Pit Mine

Production Scheduling. Proceedings of the Third Regional
APCOM Symposium, Australasian Institute of Mining and
Metallurgy: pp. 65-72.

Mining schedule progression showing anticipated mine

topography surface, dates of completion and equipment