A Network Flow Model for Operational Planning in an Underground Gold Mine

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  • Faculty of Natural Resources Management, Lake Head University, Thunder Bay, ON P7B 5E1 ,CA
  • Faculty of Natural Resources Management, Lake Head University, Thunder Bay, ON P7B 5E1 ,CA




Gold Mine, Network Flow Model, Operations Research, Underground Mine


In underground mines, the problem of efficiently scheduling and allocating weekly operations has a major impact on the long-term productivity of the mine. The problem of selecting the optimal locations for operations in an underground gold mine is a complex task. It is not solved by simply selecting the levels with the richest grade because the transportation network for ore in an underground mine has a diverse set of capacity constraints that can frustrate immediate mining of all the richest levels. To solve this scheduling difficulty, we formulated a new mixed-integer network flow model of the problem of weekly allocating mining operations in an underground goldmine such that the total gold mined (in ounces) was maximized subject transportation capacity constraints. The model was applied an underground gold mine in Red Lake, Ontario, Canada. The results were compared to those of a two greedy heuristic models that were designed to represent the decision-making heuristics that are currently used at the mine. It was found that the new model yielded solutions that improved upon the two greedy heuristics by 14.7% and 6.0%, respectively. The results of this research illustrate that the development of this optimization model can support decisions to improve a gold mine’s productivity.


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How to Cite

Emdini Gliwan, S., & Crowe, K. (2023). A Network Flow Model for Operational Planning in an Underground Gold Mine. Journal of Mines, Metals and Fuels, 70(8), 420–428. https://doi.org/10.18311/jmmf/2022/30712






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