Simulation Analysis of Mining Models

R.S. Suglo, J. Szymanski, D. Booth, and S. Frimpong (Canada)


Simulation, mining models, system drivers


In this paper, three mining operations are modeled using Visual SLAM with AweSim software. These operations involve a continuous surface miner-truck mining system in a strip coal mine, a continuous miner-shuttle car system and hoist scheduling system both in an underground coal mine. The ever-increasing cost of labor, energy and equipment together with low prices of most minerals on the market threaten the profitability of most mines. It is necessary to closely monitor the performance of the system drivers in mining operations to ensure maximum system efficiency. This paper investigates the performance of three mining models to determine the best equipment combinations and schedules that will enable the mines meet their production targets. The results show that in the CSM-truck model, the optimum fleet size is five 90-tonne trucks which produces 847,080 tonnes with 99.2% utilization of the CSM. When the number of parallel servers at the FB location is increased from one to two in the CM-shuttle car model, the production increases by 73% with shorter queue lengths, reduced number of balked units and an improvement in server utilization in all combinations. In the single hoist scheduling model, the number of loads moved through the system increased by 9% from 1617 to 1764 with scheduling, and the average time in the system fell from 725.844 min. to 104.922 min. The results also show that computer simulation is an excellent tool for evaluating mining models and for gaining a greater understanding of mining systems. 2. Continuous Surface Miner Truck Mining System 2.1 Problem Formulation In this scenario, it is desired to develop a Visual SLAM model to simulate the operation of a continuous surface miner (CSM) truck system that is employed to mine a thick coal seam in a strip mine. Extraction of the ore at the face is done by advancing the CSM which has a rotating cutter head which undercuts the layers of coal. The material cut by the CSM is loaded into 90-tonne capacity trucks by means of a pivot-mounted belt conveyor. After loading three trucks, the CSM must turn around to begin the next cutting strip of coal. The loaded trucks haul the material to a central stockpile location. The empty trucks then return to the CSM for loading. The model is designed such that the loaded trucks can dump their materials at multiple open dumping bays at the central stockpile (i.e. there is no spotting time at the central stockpile location). Initially, three 90-tonne rear dump trucks are allocated to the CSM. Fig. 1 a section of a strip mine with the blocks of coal exposed and numbered in layers. Each labeled block of coal is equivalent to three 90-tonne truckloads.

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