What is it about?

Long term planning in underground mines is a complex task that usually takes a lot of time. This issue is due to the number of elements present in the whole operation, several different sites to explore, machines, crews, and so on. This problem is an extension of the Project Scheduling Problem that appears in several other project planning context. With the support of mathematical optimization models and algorithms, this work develops computational tools to help planners perform faster and more accurate planning, allowing them to analyze the impact of different choice of scenarios.

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Why is it important?

The importance is twofold. First, the planning improvement on very long-term plannings (in some cases a few decades) for an expensive operation as underground mining. Second, the proposal of hybrid computational approaches, including mixed-integer formulations that are usually used as exam approached and a heuristic approach based on neighborhoods devised based on the formulation's integer variables. The work also presents an extensive computational analysis, supporting the quality of solutions found.


I hope the approaches presented in this paper can help the planners in the complex task of decision-making for project scheduling problems in general. Also, to inspire future works on the subjects, not only for long-term planning and project scheduling but as well for hybrid mathematical programming approaches.

Dr. Rafael Martinelli
Pontificia Universidade Catolica do Rio de Janeiro

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Strategic planning of an underground mine with variable cut-off grades, Optimization and Engineering, December 2019, Springer Science + Business Media, DOI: 10.1007/s11081-019-09479-6.
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