Accounting for geological uncertainty in a complex mining optimization model


Published: 12Aug2020

Invention 2020-028

A computational model of the entire mineral value chain with applications in preventing raw material stockpiling and meeting production goals.


Market Need

The primary objective of a mining complex is to maximize the net value of the raw materials when the products are delivered, ensure technical constraints are followed, and meet production targets. To accomplish this, optimization models must take into account the uncertainty of geological extraction, stockpiling constraints, and transportation to customers. While supply chains for mining operations become more global, many optimization models over-simplify by focusing on components individually. Because these separate and linear steps do not consider problems with stockpiling and an inability to quantify the uncertainty of mineral extraction, production schedules are less likely to be met.


Technology Summary

Based on recent developments in optimization approaches for mineral and energy resource production, this modeling technology integrates several aspects of mining operations into a single model. The use of a single model is important because a mine’s production schedule is based on extraction of the raw materials, quantity and transportation restrictions for the prevention of stockpiling, and the processing steps before delivery to customers. By taking all of these variables into account, this model generates strategies that reduce the risk of not meeting production targets. Unlike conventional approaches, this optimization model also accounts for uncertainty by quantifying geostatistically simulated scenarios of mineral extraction. More importantly, this model has been experimentally tested on a copper-gold mining complex and is capable of generating a 22.6% higher net value than an existing industry-standard mine planning software.



  • Generates a production schedule for multiple mines and processing variables to maximize the economic value of the enterprise as a whole
  • Based on recent developments in optimization approaches, this is a new simultaneous stochastic optimization model for mining complexes
  • Unlike other models, accounts for geological uncertainty in the raw materials extracted from the mines
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