Evaluating the efficiency of the Genetic algorithm in designing the ultimate pit limit of open-pit mines

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Faculty of Mining Engineering, Sahand University of Technology, Tabriz, Iran

2 Faculty of Mining Engineering, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran


The large-scale open-pit mine production planning problem is an NP-hard issue. That is, it cannot be solved in a reasonable computational time. To solve this problem, various methods, including metaheuristic methods, have been proposed to reduce the computation time. One of these methods is the genetic algorithm (GA) which can provide near-optimal solutions to the problem in a shorter time. This paper aims to evaluate the efficiency of the GA technique based on the pit values and computational times compared with other methods of designing the ultimate pit limit (UPL). In other words, in addition to GA evaluation in UPL design, other proposed methods for UPL design are also compared. Determining the UPL of an open-pit mine is the first step in production planning. UPL solver selects blocks whose total economic value is maximum while meeting the slope constraints. In this regard, various methods have been proposed, which can be classified into three general categories: Operational Research (OR), heuristic, and metaheuristic. The GA, categorized as a metaheuristic method, Linear Programming (LP) model as an OR method, and Floating Cone (FC) algorithm as a heuristic method, have been employed to determine the UPL of open-pit mines. Since the LP method provides the exact answer, consider the basics. Then the results of GA were validated based on the results of LP and compared with the results of FC. This paper used the Marvin mine block model with characteristics of 53271 blocks and eight levels as a case study. Comparing the UPL value's three ways revealed that the LP model received the highest value by comparing the value obtained from GA and the FC algorithm's lowest value. However, the GA provided the results in a shorter time than LP, which is more critical in large-scale production planning problems. By performing the sensitivity analysis in the GA on the two parameters, crossover and mutation probability, the GA's UPL value was modified to 20940. Its UPL value is only 8% less than LP's UPL value.


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