Optimal open pit planning and design

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This work does not presume to unearth and solve a new problem. It is a critical evaluation of a genuine normal mining problem: it takes a look at a mineral reserve that has sound prospects for good economic returns but is beset by serious geological and technological hindrances. In solving these problems, this work seeks to map out in salient fashion the steps that must be taken to accomplish the shareholder’s objective in the development of a practical mining design. In this project, Surpac Mining Software is used to erect a geologic (block) model of a small part of the Pepe Hill deposit on the concession of Gold Fields Ghana Limited in Tarkwa. That part of the deposit is then optimised for open pit mining, using Whittle Four-D Optimiser. Analysis of the Whittle optimisation is done, and an optimal pit is selected on the basis of maximum economic returns, using the Net Present Value as a criterion. An attempt is also made to incorporate in the choice the stability (relative insensitivity) of the optimal pit to nose-diving gold prices. The product of the Whittle optimisation and analysis is used as shells around which a detailed pit design is done.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of Master of Science in Mining Engineering, 2000