Open Pit Geometry Modeling and Economic Analysis of Novel At-Face-Slurry Options


The evolution of surface mine layout configuration is a function of the schedules and sequence of material excavation within the optimized layouts. The production schedules and sequence of materials movement from multi-bench and multi-face operations are difficult to plan and execute. However, the ability to maximize the profit or net present value of an orebody is largely dependent on the mining schedule. The mining schedule will determine the life of the mine, the projected cashflows, and the investment requirements over the mine life. The pit geometries, pit expansion rates and the periodic volume of materials from different benches in a multi-bench, multi-face open pit mine determine the equipment requirements. The volume of materials excavated, as well as pit layout changes from circular and elliptical geometries of an oil sands mine were modeled using analytical geometric and parabolic partial differential equations (PDEs) and solved within Matlab. The results show that the geometric values are almost the same as those obtained from PDEs for different pit configurations. The economic analysis shows that both the current mining system (CMS) and the cyclic excavator conveyor belt control system (CycEx CBCS) are viable with high NPV (= $3.20 x 1010), PI (> 19%) and IRR (> 29.02%) with short discounted payback periods (= 3.24 months). The CycEx CBCS option is more economic than the CMS option. Its NPV is 1.27 times that of the CMS option. The PI and IRR for the CycEx CBCS option are respectively 2.24 and 1.13 times that of the CMS option. As well, the CycEx CBCS option has almost half the DPBP of the CMS option. The CMS option has an operating cost of $1.386 per tonne ($2.774/barrel) while that of the CycEx CBCS option is $0.779/tonne ($1.558/barrel). These results show that the CycEx CBCS option is the better option for mining companies working on oil sands deposits to invest in.

Meeting Name

SME Annual Meeting and Exhibit and CMA 113th National Western Mining Conference 2011


Mining Engineering

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


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© 2011 Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration Inc. (SME), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2011

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