A decomposition-based heuristic for collaborative scheduling in a network of open-pit mines

Michelle L. Blom, Christina N. Burt, Adrian R. Pearce, Peter J. Stuckey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


We consider the short-term production scheduling problem for a network of multiple open-pit mines and ports. Ore produced at each mine is transported by rail to a set of ports and blended into signature products for shipping. Consistency in the grade and quality of production over time is critical for customer satisfaction, whereas the maximal production of blended products is required to maximise profit. In practice, short-term schedules are formed independently at each mine, tasked with achieving the grade and quality targets outlined in a medium-term plan. However, because of uncertainty in the data available to a medium-term planner and the dynamics of the mining environment, such targets may not be feasible in the short term. We present a decomposition-based heuristic for this short-term scheduling problem in which the grade and quality goals assigned to each mine are collaboratively adapted-ensuring the satisfaction of blending constraints at each port and exploiting opportunities to maximise production in the network that would otherwise be missed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)658-676
Number of pages19
JournalINFORMS Journal on Computing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Hybrid optimisation
  • Nonlinear programming
  • Short-term open-pit mine production scheduling

Cite this