Focus Group Company is an AnyLogic consultancy team that helps businesses resolve their challenges using simulation. Their portfolio includes projects such as public transport optimization, oil well digital twin creation, and manufacturing scheduling support system development. In this blogpost, they share their mining simulation expertise and real models reflecting typical business cases.
In mining, as in any other capital-intensive business, companies need to compare and optimize manufacturing and business processes all the time. For mining companies, a specific challenge increases costs: complex logistics for both raw material handling and mining procurement. Complex logistics are difficult for traditional optimization tools and they can fail to deliver satisfying results. As a result, companies are turning to new solutions.
One of these solutions is mining operation simulation. With it, you can simulate mining or equipment operations. You can also test limits and process changes without substantial costs. In this post, you will find some of the tasks which you can approach using mining simulation.
Extraction volume planning and mine operations analysis
These were the tasks we worked on for one of the largest steel manufacturers. Have a look at the company’s coal mine model: we developed it using standard AnyLogic tools.
This is a typical underground mining model. In it, borers extract ore, which is then transported along a dynamically changing network of conveyors. To develop such a model, we used information on:
- minefield markings
- local geology and drilling
- equipment quantity and performance
- duration and sequence of operations.
We simulated several mine operation scenarios. For each of them, we then estimated potential extraction volumes and possible types of stope formation. Then we calculated equipment load and additional investments to implement the scenarios.
Route planning and logistics scheduling for operations inside and outside mines
With this simulation model, you can optimize vehicle fleet mix and develop the best mine-to-processing-plant ore transportation plan. In the model, you can also reduce delivery costs and increase transportation reliability by recalculating routes in case of truck breakdowns and track blockages.
The model considers production plans, extracted raw materials, and infrastructure facilities, as well as the parameters of all equipment types. With the model, you can test if logistics structures can accommodate raw materials supply. For each structure you can calculate the flow volumes by logistics legs, as well as infrastructure requirements, and equipment and machinery costs. Based on these parameters, the optimal route is calculated.
These are typical tasks that we often solve for our clients in the mining industry and combine into the scenario analysis group.
The group also includes other tasks such as:
- dynamically forecasting ore extraction volumes and reserves;
- synchronizing operations inside and outside mines;
- calculating equipment utilization levels;
- determining the required number of vehicles and renting or equipment leasing period;
- planning equipment maintenance.
We develop all our models in AnyLogic. Its flexibility, integration of GIS maps, agent-based modeling, and advanced 3D animation make it the leading tool for modeling mining operations. You will find examples of such models on our AnyLogic Cloud profile.
We also recommend looking at the underground mine model (see below), which is among the standard AnyLogic examples that you can find in the software. The model simulates drilling, loading, blasting, ore loading with a dump truck, and ore transportation in the mine. One of the goals of the simulation model is to track equipment load and determine the optimal amount for tunneling operations. Another goal is to clearly show how machinery can cause transport route blockage in a mine. Take a look!
The example model will help you get started with mining operations modeling. The source files are available for download in AnyLogic and in AnyLogic Cloud.