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18TH ANNUAL ARENA STUDENT SIMULATION COMPETITION

GENERAL BACKGROUND

This problem highlights the challenges of modeling material handling operations, common in mining and
construction operations. These operations are characterized by cyclical processes with highly variable
activity times resulting in uncertainty in estimates. Discrete event simulation, when used properly, can
be a powerful tool to analyze such systems.
This problem is based on real data from an operating gold mine, which has been modified for the
purposes of this competition. The modifications are to protect the mine owner and to ensure the scope
of the problem is appropriate for this competition.

1.1 Problem Statement


The Spotted Dog Mine is an open pit gold mine located in the western United States. The mine produces
gold from processing ore mined using a truck-shovel system. The mining process involves drilling and
blasting to fragment difficult to dig rock; excavating and loading using large mining excavators (shovels);
and hauling the material to predetermined destinations using dump trucks. The material destinations
are determined based on the estimated gold concentrations in the mined rock. If gold can be recovered
from the rock economically (i.e. at a profit) then the rock is classified as ore and is hauled to the leach
dump or crusher. If gold cannot be recovered economically from the rock then it is classified as waste
and hauled to the waste dump. The drilling, blasting, loading and hauling operations at the Spotted Dog
Mine are contracted out to American Mining Services, Inc (AMS).
In a truck-shovel operation, trucks arrive at a shovel to be loaded and wait for their turn to be loaded
(Fig. 1). Once a truck is loaded by a shovel, it hauls the load to the predetermined destination (crusher,
leach dump or waste dump) and dumps the material. Sometimes, trucks need to wait their turn to dump
into a crusher since only limited number of trucks can dump into the crusher, simultaneously. The trucks
then return to a shovel for the cycle to repeat.
AMS is paid monthly by the schedule in Table 1, adjusted by the pay factor (PF), which is calculated
monthly using Equation (1). p75, p100, and p130 are the ratio of production days in the month where
production was <75%, between 75 and 100%, and between 100 and 130% of production targets,
respectively. Spotted Dog Mine is designed to handle 75,000 t/day of ore and 150,000 t/day of waste.
The mine works 30 days in a month.

PF= 0.8 p75 + p100 + 1.2 p130


where p75 + p100 + p130 =
1
Table 1 Payment schedule

Material type
Ore
Waste

Rate
($/tonne/km)
0.90
0.65
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(1)

Fig. 1 Typical shovel loading a truck at an open pit mine (Courtesy: http://www.geomineinfo.com/mining_photos.htm)

Your team has been contracted by AMS to evaluate their existing production plan and determine:
i.

What is the optimal number of trucks for the fleet for Phase 1 (i.e. is 30 trucks optimal)?

ii.

As haul/travel distance increases with depth as mining progresses, what is the optimal
number of trucks for the next three phases (Phases 2-4) of mining?

1.2 Project Requirements


Your team should specifically address the following:

i.

Performance criteria and how they will be evaluated

ii.

Arena model of AMS truck-shovel mining system to evaluate performance

iii.

Experimental design to accomplish the task

iv.

Justification for recommended actions

TRUCK-SHOVEL SYSTEM AT SPOTTED DOG MINE

AMS truck-shovel system at Spotted Dog Mine is made up of three P&H 2800XPC shovels and 30
Caterpillar793F trucks (see attachments for specifications). Spotted Dog Mine runs two 10-hour shifts,
with 9 hours of effective operations, every day. Data is provided in the attached files on activity times
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and travel speeds for trucks and shovels. The crusher can allow only two trucks to dump simultaneously
(Fig. 2).

Fig. 2 Trucks dumping at a gyratory crusher (Courtesy: http://www.geomineinfo.com/mining_photos.htm)

Shovel breakdowns cause significant production variability since each shovel constitutes a third of
production capacity. At the beginning of a shift, the each shovel is assigned to mine ore or waste during
that shift. The assignment is made such that the production goals are met for that day. The probability
of a load from an ore shovel being leach material is 60%. All waste material goes to the waste dump. The
current (Phase 1) and future average haul profiles are given in Table 2. The general layout of the
operation is illustrated by Fig. 3.
Table 2 Haul road profiles

Haul Profile

Phase 1
Distance
(m)

Phase 2
Distance
(m)

Phase 3
Distance
(m)

Phase 4
Distance
(m)

327
1,565
1,292
1,026

327
1,715
1,292
1,026

327
1,865
1,292
1,026

327
2,015
1,292
1,026

327

327

327

Gradient

Ore
Shovel to pit ramp
Ramp entrance to pit exit
Pit exit to crusher
Pit exit to leach dump
Waste
Shovel to pit ramp

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Flat
1:10
Flat
Flat

327 Flat

Ramp entrance to pit exit


Pit exit to waste dump base
Waste dump base to top
Waste dump ramp exit to dump site

1,565
646
806
410

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1,715
646
906
410

1,865
646
1,006
410

2,015
646
1,106
410

1:10
Flat
1:10
Flat

Ramps

Leach
dump
Ramp entrance
Shovel
location

Ramp exit

Fig. 3 Layout of open pit mine (Courtesy: http://www.geomineinfo.com/mining_photos.htm)

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TERMINOLOGY

Term
Ore

Definition
A rock from which a metal(s) or mineral(s) can be economically extracted.

Waste

Overlying rock or barren host rock. Also those parts of the ore deposit that are below
the economic cut-off concentration.

Leaching

An extraction method involving the slow passage of a solvent (including water, acids or
chemicals such as cyanides or chlorides) through a layer of crushed or porous material
to extract the valuable components into a solution. The metal is then recovered from
the solution by further processing (electrowinning).

Leach dump

A leach dump is a stockpile of rock built for the purposes of leaching the rock.

Waste dump

Refers to waste material that has been moved by a truck and is formed into large,
terraced dumps/stockpiles.

Crusher

A machine for reducing the size of rock.

Ramp

The name for a type of haul road found in surface mines that provides access from
natural surface level, down into the pit.

Open pit

Open pit mine. Meaning a surface mine, and generally used to describe metalliferous
mines. Open pit mines, in contrast to open cast/strip mines, expand both laterally and
in depth.

Truck

Dump truck used to haul ore and waste from the shovel to the crusher, leach dump or
waste dump. A loaded truck is full of waste or ore.

Shovel

Excavator for extracting material from the ground and loading it into trucks.

ATTACHMENTS

1.
2.
3.
4.

P&H 2800XPC specifications


CAT 793F specifications
CSV files of activity times and truck speeds
Text files of shovel time between failures and time to repair

Data
Empty truck speeds
Loaded truck speeds
Shovel loading times
Truck dumping times
Time to repair
Time between failures

Units
m/min
m/min
min
min
hours
hours

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