A new method to improve operating performance for underground hard rock mining - with new scheduling, controlling and forecasting techniques

Zhen Song

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


    In underground mining, there are missing links among mine planning, mining machines and mineral processing. They have significantly affected the overall performance of the entire mining process. There have been quite few studies aiming to improve the mining process of underground mines. In underground mines, mobile mining equipment is mostly scheduled instinctively, without theoretical support for these decisions. Furthermore, in case of unexpected events, it is hard for miners to rapidly find solutions to reschedule and to adapt the changes. Furthermore, the underground mining process is constrained by the geometry and geology of the mine. The various mining operations are normally performed in series at each working face. The delay of a single operation will delay the starting time for the next process and the completion time of the entire process. Moreover, safety stock of mining production is kept to prevent stock-out, due to the existence of high uncertainty in mining operations and various unforeseen geological conditions. Any shortage of ore supply from its mine would cause the insufficient utilization of the mill and financial loss. Mining production has its own features, which require a tailor-made strategy of safety stock. This dissertation has reviewed a wide range of the optimization techniques used in mine planning and scheduling, as well as analyzed other techniques which are used to solve the problems jointly. A technical package of decision support instrument is proposed and described to address the above issues. The software structure, input/output, and related algorithms of scheduling are presented. It also presents a new approach to the process control for underground mining. Additionally, a real options technique was developed to determine the safety stock of mining production. The proposed methods were tested by using real data of the Kittilä mine located in Finland. The result suggests that the proposed methods can improve the working efficiency and reduce the working time of the underground mining. It shows the critical operations can be detected and the completion time can be estimated more accurately. It also shows that the real options approach can provide miners with a more accurate and reasonable result, and also give a useful indicator for a mine's future production planning.
    Translated title of the contributionUusi menetelmä maanalaisen kaivoksen tuotannon tehostamiseksi
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor's degree
    Awarding Institution
    • Aalto University
    • Rinne, Mikael, Supervising Professor
    Print ISBNs978-952-60-6393-5
    Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-6394-2
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


    • underground mining
    • equipment scheduling
    • production control
    • safety stock


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