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Mine waste management optimisation

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.

Email: ip-comm@curtin.edu.au

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.

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Mine waste management optimisation

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: Minerals, Energy and Chemical Engineering.

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.