Open-pit coal mine production sequencing incorporating grade blending and stockpiling options: An application from an Indian mine

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Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences


Production scheduling is a crucial aspect of the mining industry. An optimal and efficient production schedule can increase the profits manifold and reduce the amount of waste to be handled. Production scheduling for coal mines is necessary to maintain consistency in the quality and quantity parameters of coal supplied to power plants. Irregularity in the quality parameters of the coal can lead to heavy losses in coal-fired power plants. Moreover, the stockpiling of coal poses environmental and fire problems owing to low incubation periods. This article proposes a production scheduling formulation for open-pit coal mines including stockpiling and blending opportunities, which play a major role in maintaining the quality and quantity of supplied coal. The proposed formulation was applied to a large open-pit coal mine in India. This contribution provides an efficient production scheduling formulation for coal mines after utilizing the stockpile coal within the incubation periods with the maximization of discounted cash flows. At the same time, consistency is maintained in the quality and quantity of coal to power plants through blending and stockpiling options to ensure smooth functioning.

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Engineering Optimization