Multi-stage dumping sequence - a feasible waste management alternative for open pit mining


REM, Int. Eng. J.




Abstract Waste management and environmental aspects are progressively gathering attention in the mining industry. Mine planners must deal with increasingly complex tasks to balance between ore block schedules, waste disposal, operational cost and environmental reclamation. The mine incomes are generally related to mining and processing of the ore, thus most optimization researches regarding strategic mining usually focus mainly on ore extraction. Nevertheless, waste sequencing and disposal play an important role given that, in several situations in open pit mining, waste volumes are generally larger than ore volumes and must be moved to reach the buried and deeper ore bodies. In some cases, a significant percentage of operational costs is represented by waste haulage and disposal. Thus a careful planning strategy must be considered to minimize unnecessary expenses. Selecting locations for waste dumps is also a challenge. Many operational and technical aspects must be considered, not to mention the increasingly limiting environmental constraints. This definition can be very time consuming, and if it is not properly studied, may negatively impact the mine operation during its lifetime. This article investigates a new approach for mine waste management called the multi-stage dumping sequence (MSDS), suggesting the use of temporary waste dumps along the way to the final dump destination. Although this method requires material re-handling, which is considered a paradigm in mine industry, it certainly provides additional time to design and permit the final waste dump site and, if well planned, might even result in profit increases by reducing haulage distances in the first years of operation.

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