Cut-off Grade Optimization for Maximizing the Output Rate

Document Type: Research Paper


School of Mining, College of Engineering, University of Tehran, Iran


In the open-pit mining, one of the first decisions that must be made in production planning stage, after completing the design of final pit limits, is determining of the processing plant cut-off grade. Since this grade has an essential effect on operations, choosing the optimum cut-off grade is of considerable importance. Different goals may be used for determining optimum cut-off grade. One of these goals may be maximizing the output rate (amount of product per year), which is very important, especially from marketing and market share points of view. Objective of this research is determining the optimum cut-off grade of processing plant in order to maximize output rate. For performing this optimization, an Operations Research (OR) model has been developed. The object function of this model is output rate that must be maximized. This model has two operational constraints namely mining and processing restrictions. For solving the model a heuristic method has been developed. Results of research show that the optimum cut-off grade for satisfying pre-stated goal is the balancing grade of mining and processing operations, and maximum production rate is a function of the maximum capacity of processing plant and average grade of ore that according to the above optimum cut-off grade must be sent to the plant.