Short-term scheduling of an open-pit mine with multiple objectives

Michelle Blom, Adrian R. Pearce, Peter J. Stuckey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This article presents a novel algorithm for the generation of multiple short-term production schedules for an open-pit mine, in which several objectives, of varying priority, characterize the quality of each solution. A short-term schedule selects regions of a mine site, known as ‘blocks’, to be extracted in each week of a planning horizon (typically spanning 13 weeks). Existing tools for constructing these schedules use greedy heuristics, with little optimization. To construct a single schedule in which infrastructure is sufficiently utilized, with production grades consistently close to a desired target, a planner must often run these heuristics many times, adjusting parameters after each iteration. A planner's intuition and experience can evaluate the relative quality and mineability of different schedules in a way that is difficult to automate. Of interest to a short-term planner is the generation of multiple schedules, extracting available ore and waste in varying sequences, which can then be manually compared. This article presents a tool in which multiple, diverse, short-term schedules are constructed, meeting a range of common objectives without the need for iterative parameter adjustment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)777-795
Number of pages19
JournalEngineering Optimization
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • decision support
  • mixed-integer programming
  • multi-objective optimization
  • short-term open-pit mine production scheduling

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