Nearly every input to a mine plan is based on an estimate. The estimates may be from sample data, historical information, models, or personal opinion, but in all cases, these values are simply expected values (means). In real life, we do not get to iterate the exact conditions at our mining operation many times to ensure that that average value is attained. The expected value also tells us nothing about the spread of values that that input might take on. The result is a significant amount of unquantified uncertainty in our mine plans. Unfortunately, it is often too expensive or time consuming to update planning processes and software. This paper presents a proof of concept spreadsheet scheduling tool that can be utilized to incorporate many geologic realizations (simulated models) into the mine scheduling process. While this POC is not intended to be a detailed model of uncertainty, it is to show that there are stepping stones available for mine planners to begin to embrace uncertainty and produce more achievable plans without requiring a significant change in their planning process.
Roos, C. 2017. Preprint 17-054: Embrace the unknown: Stop saying “it’s too hard” and start embracing uncertainty in your mine plans. Presented at the SME Annual Meeting, Denver, CO, February 19-22.