Operations modeling and analysis of an underground coal mine

Kanna Miwa, Soemon Takakuwa
2011 Proceedings of the 2011 Winter Simulation Conference (WSC)  
In general, it is quite difficult to describe and model operations and conveyance systems precisely in underground coal mines because of geological components, poor visibility, unreliable installed facilities, and difficult work conditions. In this study, a simulation model of an operations and materials handling system for an underground coal mine was built to investigate the relationship between the coal output and materials handling systems, which includes specifications for the facilities
more » ... or the facilities and the buffer space for the storage bin underground. It was found that it is possible to find the bottleneck of a conveyance system to determine more efficient mining and conveyance methods by performing a simulation. INTRODUCTION Underground mining is a dangerous industry because of geological disasters, poor visibility, workplace hazards, and difficult work conditions. The mining industry is aware of the need to improve productivity continually. This improvement can be achieved by introducing improved and more efficient mining methods, optimizing production for a given set of resources, and improving mine design and equipment selection. Site mining engineers face decisions in design, planning, production, development, and operations, and the full implications of each choice are neither clear nor quantified. The benefits to a mine with a formal decision support model are significant (Hoare and Willis 1992). The problems facing the industry are growing in both size and complexity. Production is time dependent, and work practices not only reduce production but also enforce inefficient use of expensive capital equipment. Simulation can be used to aid management in making decisions related to daily production and capital expenditure. Underground mines often face uncertainty in production planning associated with diverse sources such as grade distribution, ground conditions, equipment reliability, infrastructure needs and extraction method performance. Despite their best planning efforts, such operating uncertainty needs to be counter-balanced by integrating a contingency plan to enhance flexibility in mine plants (Kazakidis and Scoble 2003) . The development, demonstration and implementation of a virtual reality simulation have been described for coal mining industries (Stothard, Galvin, and Fowler 2004). From the standpoint of occupational health and safety management, virtual reality simulations were developed to provide more effective education, training and assessment. Virtual reality simulations enable trainees to experience a range of real situations that they may otherwise not encounter prior to a critical event (Zhao, Lucas, and Thabet 2009; Zhou and Guo 2011) . Modeling and simulation of particle size distribution and exploratory tools for real mining equipment operator activities have been studied (Harper and Harper 1998; Larinkari, Kaartinen, and Miettunen 2004) . System dynamics models have been introduced to build a model of underground coal mines (Coyle 1985) . Regarding open pit mining, LP-based disaggregation approaches to solve production scheduling
doi:10.1109/wsc.2011.6147884 dblp:conf/wsc/MiwaT11 fatcat:btxwzxjt7nhgpmpyj7657eebha