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Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Mining Engineering (PhD)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences

Advisor 1

Snehamoy Chatterjee

Committee Member 1

Thomas Oommen

Committee Member 2

Nathan Manser

Committee Member 3

Ryan Goodfellow


The mining complex refers to an integrated problem where the material is extracted from the mines; the extracted material is passed through a series of processing facilities connected with various material handling methods to generate a set of finished products, which can be sold to the customers. The optimization of the mining complex refers to the simultaneous optimization of the multiple mine production schedules, the destination of the materials, and the method of processing throughout the life of the project. The purpose of optimizing the mining complex is to deal with the effective management of resources and maximize cash flows to generate higher profits over the life of the project. The goal of this dissertation is to develop a global optimization methodology that integrates geological (supply) uncertainty and can manage the risk in the design, mining complex operations, and maximize the cash flows.

In this study, a new production schedule approach is presented that integrates geological uncertainty and generate the extraction sequence for the mining complex problem. The extraction sequence is developed to maximize the net present value and provide a consistent quantity of the material to different destinations. To optimize the quantity of materials sent to different destinations, the destination policies are defined based on the cut-off grade optimization and block economic values. This allows to form the destination policies for the mined material into various processing streams and maximize the value of the operation. The production schedule and the destination policies are optimized within a unified solution approach for the mining complex problem.

The work presented advances the field through the development of the new model that uses the combination of maximum flow, genetic algorithm, and Lane’s method for the global optimization of the mining complex. The method simultaneously optimizes the production schedule and the cut-off grade while considering uncertainty. The performance advantages and limitations are analyzed and tested on real-world examples. The results show that the models reduce the production risks and increase the net present value of the mining operation.