Document Type : Original Research Paper


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

2 School of Mining, College of Engineering, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran



The uncertainty-based mine evaluation and optimization have been regarded as a critical issue. However, it has received less attention in the underground mines than in the open-pit mines due to the diversity of the underground mining methods, and the underground mining parameters' complexity. The grade and commodity price uncertainties play essential roles in mining projects. Mine planning by not incorporating these uncertainties is accompanied by risks. The evaluation and risk assessment of the mine plans is possible through evaluating the mineable reserve in the presence of such uncertainties. In the present work, we evaluate the effects of grade and commodity price uncertainties on the underground mining stope optimization and the resultant mineable reserve. In this regard, the stope boundary is studied both deterministically and stochastically in the presence of the grade and price uncertainties. For this purpose, in this work, we implement the conditional simulation in order to generate equally probable ore reserve models. Furthermore, we optimize the stope boundary using the floating-stope algorithm in each realization. Several decision support criteria including the 'mineable reserve,' 'metal-content,' 'profit,' and 'value-at-risk' are defined to assist the decision-maker in uncertain conditions. Finally, a procedure is defined in order to consider two types of uncertainty sources simultaneously in underground mining. It will guide the decision-maker toward the most appropriate stope boundary that best fits the mining company's requirements. The procedure is implemented in a bauxite mine, and the optimal stope boundary is determined concerning the different criteria.