Document Type: Original Research Paper


1 Department of Mining and Metallurgical Engineering, Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran

2 Amirkabir University of Technology

3 School of Mining, College of Engineering, University of Tehran



Production scheduling in underground mines is still a manual process and achieving the truly optimal result through manual scheduling is impossible due to the complexity of the scheduling problems. Among underground mining methods, sublevel caving is a common mining method for hard rock mining with a high production rate. There are limited studies about long-term production scheduling in the sublevel caving method. In this paper, for sublevel caving production scheduling optimization, a new mathematical model with the objective of net present value (NPV) maximization is developed. General technical and operational constraints of sublevel caving method such as opening and developments, production capacity, sublevel mining geometry, and ore access are considered in this model. Prior to applying the scheduling model, the block model is processed to remove the unnecessary blocks. For this purpose, the floating stope algorithm is applied to determine the ultimate mine boundary and reduce the number of blocks that consequently reduces the running time of the model. The model was applied on a bauxite mine block model and the maximum NPV is determined, then the mine development network is designed based on the optimal schedule.