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Automation of Mining at Open Pits


Computer Aided Mining Development at Open Pits

Tech Area / Field

  • MAN-COM/CAD and CAM/Manufacturing Technology
  • OBS-NAT/Natural Resources and Earth Sciences/Other Basic Sciences

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Alexandrov K A

Leading Institute
Kyrgyz-Russian Slavonic University, Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek

Supporting institutes

  • MIFI, Russia, Moscow


  • Cordata International Ltd., UK, Road Town\nUnion Espanola de Explosivos S.A., Spain, Madrid\nEcole des Mines de Paris, France, Paris\nSurpac Software International, UK, Leics, Coalville

Project summary

The purpose of the Project is to create and master a flexible industrial system for safe and economically rational modification of main mining operations at open pits according to permanently varying mining-and-geological, climatic and other mining conditions along with fluctuations in internal and global prices for open pit output.

According to data from International Analytic Centre of world problems the population of the Earth will be doubled and reach 12 billions by 2050.

As a decrease of the level and quality of life are not expected, but vice-versa their growths are supposed, it is not difficult to suspect that to this time it will be required to increase reached mining volumes of mineral raw materials up to 2.2 – 2.3 times. The way of extensive development of mines is poor perspective due to excessive extension of operating manufacturers of a mining-and-transport equipment and huge investments on maintaining and development of the reached level and performances of mining.

Thus, there is an objective necessity to achieve the purpose to increase mining rates and volume as well to improve performance and environmental characteristics of mining at a less time consumption, resources and labour cost. Following to tendencies of post-industrial world development, one may state that intensive way of development based on global computerization of main mining operations at open casts is one of the most perspective methods of solution of the problem under consideration. Namely, this way is based on computer-aided controlling of fracturing of rock masses to achieve maximum quality of blasting at the least expenditures and the greatest productivity of loading operations and transportation in working faces.

In reply to practice needs in open hardrock mining, the comprehensive approach is offered to solve the problem of computer-aided preparation of drilling-and-blasting operations (DBO), excavation and conveyance, including an estimate of stability of pit benches and walls in the process of DBO. Such approach to achieve the purpose includes interdependent adaptive control of the above mentioned processes from a single centre.

It is well-known, that existing models of control of rock fracturing by multiple blasting, mining of working faces and delivery of mined rock consider these processes as separate objects of information technologies. Some independence in controlling of processes can lead, for example, to satisfactory rock fracturing by blasting and, at the same time, to an accidental destruction of a part of a pit wall as a result of multiple seismic effects. Therefore, it is necessary to develop the system of modelling of stress-deformed state of rock massifs and continuous monitoring of displacement of benches and mucks along with DBO.

The not less relevant value in practice of open mining is gained also by optimization of sizes of blasted blocks, qualities of rock fracturing and associated with them productivity of excavators and transport. They directly determine labour productivity and mining cost. All this requires new approaches to operative preparation of production, designing and controlling of main technological processes. The only way of significant speed-up of designing of mining operations at open casts and also support of high quality and considerable improvement of performance indices is the automation of production preparation on the basis of global computerization.

To reach a project goals it is necessary to solve following primary tasks:

1. To create the database on rock factor.

2. To create a simulation model of multiple blasting of rocks.

3. To elaborate a mathematical model of an adaptive control system of primary mining operations.

4. To study a massif of blasted rocks.

5. To develop methods of both automated registration and estimations of grain composition and geometry of blasted rock pile on the basis of continuous image processing of working faces.

6. To develop methods and facilities for continuous estimation of Drilling&Blasting Operations (DBO) quality on energy consumption for rock excavation.

7. To elaborate a system of a continuous estimation of pit walls and mucks stability.

8. To work out a technological and economical estimation of computer aided mining development at open pits.

The analysis of tendencies in development of theory and practice of computer-aided preparation of mining at open pits allows to conclude that principal direction in technology improvement and rise of profitability of enterprises is development and mastering of adaptive system controlling principal mining operations.

Unlike flexible industrial systems, for example in engineering industry, an open pit as the object of mining operations represents the dynamic system of working faces and equipment under varying operating conditions. In particular, there are not constant co-ordinates of drill holes, properties of rock massif can significantly vary, climatic conditions in zone of operating have a negative effect. Variation of market opportunities for open pit output has not the less importance too.

Considering such peculiarities of open pit mining the methodical basis for research and development under the Project Proposal should be worked out on the basis of continuous analytical and computer simulating the object and appropriate technological processes on principles of adaptability with testing in real pit mining conditions.

As result of scheduled program implementation it is supposed to get following positive outcomes for enterprises producing mining-and-transport equipment and pits both operating and ones being under construction:

1. To create an adaptive model of DBO quality control.

2. To develop the software package of adaptive control by main technological processes of mining operations.

3. To realise a choice and reconstruction of digital imaging tools and quality control of blasting in the system of adaptive control of mining.

4. To create both ways and resources of registration and mapping of energy consumption for main operations.

5. To decrease the energy consumption of principal operations and reduce operating cost.

6. To diminish negative influence of seismic effect of multiple blasting on stability of open pit workings.

Adaptive models are not used now in practice of technology design at open pits because of lack of both mathematical tool, appropriate software and instrument support. In this relation we consider global computerization of main mining operations including DBO, excavation and transportation and taking into account stability of pit walls as the most important research and practical problem.

Mastering results of investigations proposed in this Project will allows to reduce expenditures of resources and work input by amount of 15–20% at preparation of production at open pits. Therefore, at huge volumes of up-to-date and future mining operations all over the world it is possible to state with some reliance about saving of many billions of US dollars only at the expense of scientifically justified and methodically true expansion of global computer technology into preparation and fulfilment of mining operations at hardrock open pits.


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