Computer aided analysis and design of mine transportation systems
Haulage Costs account for a considerable portion of a surface mine's operational budget. It is therefore vital that, for a particular pit configuration, the optimum utilisation of the available truck fleet is adopted during the mine's life. Also, if the optimisation methods are established beforehand, it is possible to determine exactly how many trucks will be required. Both decisions can be made at the planning stage by the application of linear programming and discrete simulation to computer models of the haulage network. The project presented herein investigates the practicality of developing a general-purpose mine transportation selection and scheduling system within the context of a Computer Aided Design (CAD) environment. Compatibility with a purpose-built, interactive graphics package is shown to enable rapid, semiautomatic generation of model networks and the planning engineer is assisted further by the robust and friendly user-interface which has also been developed. Unlike a number of existing packages, which either make use of commercially available software on a stand-alone basis or were specifically designed for the analysis of a particular operation, this system is completely integrated with a central database which makes it applicable to any mine. The enhanced ability to produce valid mathematical solutions and their associated network models using the above systems, allows a large number of configurations and dispatching policies to be compared in a relatively short space of time. However, attention is also paid to the degree of correspondence with what can be achieved in reality since this will also effect the selection decision. All the modules mentioned form part of a much larger planning system currently being developed at The University of Nottingham, Department of Mining Engineering, known as NUmine.