Simulation modelling has long been used as a decision support tool in the mining industry. This is typically done to address issues on the strategic time horizon, with a heavy focus on experimentation and sensitivity analysis. These issues include mining equipment selection, pit optimization, design and operation of the mine-plant interface, testing the robustness of a mine plan and blending.
Mining simulators can be used to forecast production in the short term to test the quality of truck dispatch decisions (allocation of trucks to loaders) and evaluate the value of alternate scheduling rules. It can also be used to produce a forecast of the likelihood of achieving a shift target and allow operators to test what-if options to reduce the risk of production loss or reduce costs by putting excess equipment on standby. Being able to make these decisions with confidence helps to drive improvements in operations efficiency.