Stochastic Non-Linear Optimization of Equipment Productivity in Multi-Seam Formations


The deployment of large mining equipment has resulted in low-cost, high efficiency and bulk production operations in surface mines. In strip coal mining operations, these economies of scale favor increasingly the use of draglines, shovels, dozers and other support equipment for overburden and coal extraction. However, the selection of particular equipment units, with fixed design geometry, might be economically inefficient in varying geological and operating domains. This study formulates stochastic-optimization (SOP) models of the dynamics of resource allocation in multi-seam deposits. The SOP model maximizes the productivities of draglines as well as other ancillary excavation operations, and determines optimal blends of coal products. Future uncertainties are also characterized for a comprehensive risk modeling and analysis. Application of the SOP model is presented with a bituminous coal mining case. The results show a 3.51% improvement in mining cost and 0.19% increment in net present value. This approach optimizes equipment scheduling in strip mines and ensures high economic efficiencies.


Mining Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Strip Mining Operations; Multi-Seam Coal Mining; Dragline Productivity; Non-Linear Programming; Stochastic Processes; Waste Excavation Planning; Coal Seam Extraction

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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© 2013 OMICS Publishing Group, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2013