Masters Theses

Keywords and Phrases

Binary-integer linear programming; dig limits; mine planning; open pit mines; operations research methods; optimization


"Dig limits optimization is the process for classifying different materials (e.g., ore, stockpile material, and waste) into appropriately sized contiguous zones for open pit mining. The efficient determination of dig-limits is crucial for profitable and sustainable resource extraction in mining. Previous research has focused on defining dig-limits manually or using optimization approaches, but these methods are limited to only handling two material destinations (ore and waste). Thus, there is a need for operations research methods that consider the selectivity of mining equipment and can optimize dig-limits for metal mining operations with more than two material destinations. Consequently, the objective of this thesis was to find the optimal block boundaries that allow for multiple material categories and their designated destinations while maximizing the profit of a bench section. The problem is modeled using a binary-integer linear programming (BILP) formulation that accounts for the equipment size. The study evaluated the performance of the proposed BILP dig-limits optimization method and obtained an optimal solution for a 20×20 bench section with a 3×3 dig limit size, achieving an objective function value of $332,000 and a gap tolerance of 0.0% within approximately 64.02 seconds. Findings indicated that larger problem sizes led to longer solution times due to increased constraints and decision variables, while higher minimum mining dimensions decreased objective function values. Incorporating rectangular minimum mining width dimensions in the model provided flexibility and control. The analysis emphasized the substantial impact of mining width variations on profitability and efficiency"-- Abstract, p. iii


Awuah-Offei, Kwame, 1975-

Committee Member(s)

Sherizadeh, Taghi
Anani, Angelina


Mining Engineering

Degree Name

M.S. in Mining Engineering


Missouri University of Science and Technology

Publication Date

Spring 2024


xi, 79 pages

Note about bibliography

Includes_bibliographical_references_(pages 71-78)


© 2023 Hussam Naif Altalhi, All rights reserved

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

File Type




Thesis Number

T 12327

Electronic OCLC #