Truck-haulage economics of mining open pits by high bench

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 88, No. 993, 1995

Zhongxue Li, Mining Research Institute, Beijing University of Science and Technology, Beijing, China,

This paper reviews an analytical model that defines the relationship of weight-weighted or volume-weighted average haulage distance with bench height and other related parameters, presents the optimum bench heights under various conditions in terms of minimizing the weighted average haulage distance of ore/waste during the full lifetime of an open pit mine, and discusses the truck-haulage economics of mining open pits by high bench, specifically by 15 m, 18 m and 20 m benches through marginal analyses. The observations from these analyses disapprove the previous conflicting assertions that the over-all weighted average haulage distance either increases or decreases directly with bench height. It is concluded that: (1) an increase of bench height to 15 m from 12 m is likely to be viable under the general conditions of large-scale deep open pit mines; (2) the reduction of haulage cost is much limited with the case of increasing bench height to 18 m from 15 m; and (3) the feasibility of mining open pits by 20 m benches is generally questionable. These conclusions may serve as a useful guide for those who advocate open pit mining by high bench.
Mots Clés: Open pit mining, Haulage, Modelling, Bench height, High bench.