Mine waste management optimisation

Summary of technology

Open pit mining operations generally have a number of locations where waste material is hauled and dumped. Overall, material handling constitutes 50 to 60 per cent of overall operating cost and a large part of this is removal of waste.

The TopDump software package optimises the nature and layout of these waste sites and couples this with a haulage schedule which can maximise utilisation of the available vehicle fleet, minimise total haulage cost, or achieve a balance between these two priorities.

Advantages

TopDump has a number of advantages over existing software:

  • it focuses on the complex management of waste from pit to final waste dump, while existing software products tend to focus on optimising the recovery of ore
  • it considers all relevant factors, including the need to separate marginal ore for potential processing and the need to prevent acid rock drainage to meet environmental regulations
  • the overall result of using true optimisation methods is a saving of up to 20 per cent over
    conventional planning methods.

Researcher

Professor Erkan Topal at Curtin University Western Australian School of Mines is head of this research.

Stage of development

We have developed the software with a basic user interface and tested it against conventional models using data from a large-scale gold mine. It requires further refinement and interface development.

Intellectual property

Intellectual property is owned by Curtin University. The algorithms are a trade secret and there is potential to patent aspects of the methodology.

Opportunity

We are looking for a partner to collaborate on the next stage of development and to further validate the effectiveness of the tool. The partner is likely to be a consultant to the mining industry.

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