The use of a geographic information system for open-pit mine development - Technical Note

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 96, No. 1069, 2003

U. Dillon and G. Blackwell

Geographic information systems (GIS) provide an efficient means for the recording, manipulation, revision, display and analysis of spatially referenced data. GIS are widely used at the exploration stage of mine development, and are increasingly used for reclamation planning. The ability of a GIS to perform spatial searches and query spatially referenced data make it a powerful tool for use at all stages of mine development. As the amount of data available for analysis increases, so does the power and flexibility of GIS as a planning tool. Starting from the exploration database, this paper describes how a GIS can be used for the development of mining plans based on topography, geology and mineralization information stored in a relational database. Planning decisions approaching the optimal can then be made for a wide range of parameters, including stockpile and waste dump locations, the location of potentially acid generating and neutralizing material for dump design, profitable and risk-controlled mine extraction sequencing, and haul road locations. This is made possible by the overlay and buffer analysis capabilities of a GIS which are explored and exploited to produce a continuous mine production planning program, as well as site remediation and reclamation using a successful case study.