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