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An Integrated Optimization Model for Strategic Open-Pit Mine Planning and Tailings Management Open Access


Other title
Waste management
Open-pit mining
Oil sands
Mine planning
Integrated modeling
Operations research
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Badiozamani Tari Nazari, Mohammad Mahdi
Supervisor and department
Dr. Hooman Askari-Nasab (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Alberta)
Examining committee member and department
Dr. Michael Hitch (Mining Engineering, University of British Colombia)
Dr. Hooman Askari-Nasab (Mining Engineering, University of Alberta)
Dr. Yashar Pourrahimian (Mining Engineering, University of Alberta)
Lijun Deng (Mining Engineering, University of Alberta)
Dr. Jeffery Boisvert (Mining Engineering, University of Alberta)
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Mining Engineering
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
A strategic mine planning model determines the best order of extraction and destination of material over the mine-life, in a way that maximizes the net present value of the produced minerals. In case of oil sands open-pit mining, further processing of the extracted oil sands generates massive volumes of slurry containing water, sands, clay and fine material known as tailings. Since the tailings volume significantly influences the mine production and site reclamation, it is reasonable to consider tailings management within the frameworks of long-term mine planning. One of the current practices in Alberta oil sands industry is to process the tailings slurry and make composite tailings (CT), through adding coagulant aids to the mature fine tailings (MFT), to accelerate its dewatering and make it ready for reclamation. To save space and also to avoid higher reclamation costs, the processed tailings is deposited in in-pit tailings containments constructed by internal dykes using mine waste material. In this research, an integrated mine planning framework is proposed, implemented and verified using mixed-integer linear programming technique, to optimize the production schedule with respect to mine waste management in terms of dyke construction and in-pit tailings deposition. A tailings model is developed and integrated to the mine planning model that calculates the volume of tailings slurry and composite tailings based on the processed material. Two small case studies and one large-scale case are carried out to verify the performance of the proposed optimization model. Two variable reduction techniques are implemented to increase the efficiency of the run time. The model solves the large-scale problem to optimality over 30 periods within 0.5 to 1.5 hours of CPU time, depending on the model resolution. In the generated schedule, the produced tailings is being deposited in the excavated mining-pit as the mining operations proceed and the in-pit dykes are constructed using mine waste material.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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