Authors: Ugarte, E; Pourrahimian, Y; Boisvert, JB


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Ugarte, E, Pourrahimian, Y & Boisvert, JB 2017, 'Determination of optimum drawpoint layout in block caving using sequential Gaussian simulation', in M Hudyma & Y Potvin (eds), UMT 2017: Proceedings of the First International Conference on Underground Mining Technology, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 339-349,

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The economics of today’s mining industry are such that the major mining companies are increasing the use of massive mining methods. Caving methods have become the underground bulk mining method of choice and are expected to continue as such in the foreseeable future. Caving methods are favoured because of their low cost and high production rates. They 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. Drawpoint spacing is an essential part of the block cave layout design which must be investigated carefully at the start of the project. In this paper, an overall methodology based on sequential Gaussian simulation (SGS) to obtain the drawpoint spacing is suggested. The optimised drawpoint spacing is used to maximise the profit since the extraction layout is highly essential for the economics of block caving. This study is opening a new horizon for using ‘all realisations all the time’ as a new approach to solve one of the trickiest elements of blocks caving.

Keywords: block caving, drawpoint spacing, layout optimisation, uncertainty

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