Review of the applicability of discrete event simulation for process optimization in mining

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Insinööritieteiden korkeakoulu | Master's thesis
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European Mining Course
Degree programme
Master’s Programme in Transportation and Environmental Engineering
62 + 2
Discrete event simulation has become an increasingly popular tool for optimization and decision-making in mining. However, the time consuming modelling work and high programming effort of a simulation study is normally only considered feasible for large-scale operations examined on a project basis. According to the company’s goal to make simulation applicable to a wider range of operations, two case studies have been performed within this thesis, where possible applications of a pre-developed simulation tool for mining were evaluated under the overall goal of transport optimization. Valuable operational goals could be achieved by examining profitability of stockpile use for ore transport, influence of dumper size on ore transport and transport capacity by increasing hauling distance using variable equipment composition. Next to operative results, gained knowledge during the case studies has been transferred to a simulation procedure suited for simulation studies in quarry mining. The simulation procedure highly values the verification and validation of achieved results. Important phases of simulation have been identified as well as strategies for their successful implementation. Consistently, suitable test methods were proposed for each phase result, which include statistical tests for the data collection and data preparation phase as well as tailor-made test methods for implementation and execution of the simulation model. Finally, all results obtained by simulation have been critically reviewed by comparison to solutions obtained by a deterministic spreadsheet approach in order to give a validated answer to best and most effective use of the simulation tool. The comparison of both approaches has revealed that simulation is most beneficial when interactions of equipment are hardly predictable due to their dependence on dynamic processes.
Rinne, Mikael
Thesis advisor
Schäfer, Daniel
discrete event simulation, surface mining, fleet optimization, verification and validation