Authors: Nezhadshahmohammad, F; Khodayari, F; Pourrahimian, Y |

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Among the underground mining methods available, caving methods are favoured because of their low cost and high production rates. Block caving operations offer a much smaller environmental footprint compared to equivalent open pit operations due to the much smaller volume of waste to be moved and handled. In general, draw control is fundamental to success or failure of any block cave operation. Establishing relationships among draw columns to consider depletion rates of other draw columns is complex but essential to provide a reasonable solution for real block caving mines. This paper presents a mixed-integer linear programming (MILP) model to optimise the extraction sequence of drawpoints over multiple time horizons of block cave mines with respect to draw control systems. A mathematical draw rate strategy is formulated in this paper to guarantee exact solutions. Draw control management provides optimal operating strategies while meeting practical, technical and environmental constraints. Furthermore, dilution and caving are improved indirectly, because the method considers the draw rate strategy according to geotechnical properties of the rock mass. Surface displacements are controlled by using the draw rate in all drawpoints during the life of the mine. Application and verification of the presented model for production scheduling based on the draw control system are presented using a case study.

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