Document Type : Original Research Paper


1 Department of Mining Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Urmia University, Urmia, Iran

2 Department of Mining and Metallurgical Engineering, Yazd University, Yazd, Iran

3 Faculty of Industrial Engineering, Urmia University of Technology, Urmia, Iran


The computer-based 3D modeling of ore bodies is one of the most important steps in the resource estimation, grade determination, and production scheduling of open-pit mines. In the modeling phase, the volume of the orebody model is required to be filled by the blocks and sub-blocks. The determination of Block Size (BS) is important due to the dependence of the geostatistical issues and calculations related to mining capabilities on it. There are some factors effective in the determination of an optimal BS including the metal content, estimation error, recovery percentage, mining ability, safety, and dilution. In this work, an optimal BS is determined using a two-stage approach. In the proposed approach, the Fuzzy Delphi Analytic Hierarchy Process (FDAHP) and Fuzzy Multi-Objective Optimization by Ratio Analysis (FMOORA) methods are used. In the first phase, the weight of each criterion is calculated based on the opinions of the experts using the FDAHP method. In the second phase, the FMOORA method is applied in order to determine a suitable BS for the design and operation of mining considering the extracted weights in the previous phase. The block model of the Sungun copper mine is studied as a case study to evaluate the capability of the proposed approach. The results of implementation of this approach are desirable because of converting the opinions of the experts to fuzzy values, weighing the experts according to the experience and technical knowledge, weighting the criteria by FDAHP, and choosing the optimal option with FMOORA. Furthermore, the 12.5×12.5×12.5 m3 block (A5) is chosen as an appropriate BS, which is compatible with the real conditions of the studied mine.


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