Mining Economics and Technology

  • Mining Economics and Technology

    Mining Economics and Technology

    Excerpt from a presentation to the International Mining Congress and Exhibition of Turkey,  April 2017

    Technology allows things to be done that were previously not possible to do.  For example: the analysis of the complex interaction between multiple trucks and loaders is something that is now routine, but not possible before the development of computer tools.  A mine plan that previously took weeks of tedious hard work to schedule just once can now be scheduled in less than an hour.

    But have there been significant economic gains?

    • The analytical aspects of mine planning have certainly improved.
    • There has been a saving in planning personnel
    • Complex mines have been commissioned where previously the complexity would have been a barrier to start-up

    The greatest economic gains come from better decisions, and judging by decision-making in the industry today it is hard to conclude that better decisions are now being made than in previous eras.

    The problems stem from:

    • lesser involvement of experienced personnel with the introduction of technology;
    • planning personnel distracted by the technology to the detriment of mine economics;
    • and from technology that automates a planning process that is itself flawed or inappropriate to the application.

    This is the key conclusion of this paper:  that the advances in computer applications for the analytical aspects of mine planning have not been matched by advancements in the understanding of the process of mine planning, with some of the biggest potential economic benefits not being realized.

    Download the full paper: Runge: Mining Economics and Technology Paper

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