Study of truck allocation and truck dispatching problems in open pit mines
In recent years, fierce competition, rising production costs and depressed prices for mineral products, have forced mining companies to find ways to improve efficiency and lower production costs. Given the fact that loading and hauling operations account for up to 60 % of the total costs in surface mining, the optimization and control of these operations can provide substantial reductions in the costs.
Assignment of truck to shovels has been traditionally performed by fixed truck allocation and by truck dispatching. Several operations research and simulation techniques, which can be used to solve problems concerning surface mining operations, are discussed. The types of problems addressed are: how to allocate trucks to loading equipment, how to evaluate the performance of an existing operation, and how to predict the performance of a future system.
For truck allocation, operations research methods such as: dynamic programming, integer programming, and heuristic algorithms are discussed. These methods are used mainly for decision making purposes. Queuing theory techniques, also analyzed, are used mainly for evaluation purposes.