Mine Planning - N G Nair, Manager (Mines) Malanjkhand Copper Project

Mine Planning    Kolar Gold Fields  Information Technology In Mining Industry   Khetri Copper Complex  

Mine planning is as important as we plan our household activities with the resources available to make all ends meet. After an ore deposit of economical value is discovered, it is studied from various perspectives for example, the nature of the ore body, ht occurrence of the ore body, where it is close to the surface or deep below the ground, the width and mineral content in the ore body, its shape and size etc. The size of the deposit determines the production capacity and life of the mine. Mine Plan and Mine Design    Indian Mining Legislation

The location of the deposit plays a vital role even if the deposit is viable. One cannot open a mine in township unless the township is in a safer location. Also if there exists a river or a lake over or close to the deposit, a mine is generally not opened, due to fear of flooding and excess water during mining. All these factors are part of planning work required before deciding to open a mine, Based on the above parameters, it is decided whether to go for an open cast or an underground method.

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Once this is decided, a plan is prepared to open the deposit. In case of underground mining, lot of advantage geological investigation is done to ensure that the main entry to the underground mine is always from the ore body and is free from geological disturbances like faults and dykes etc. as the opening to the underground is a permanent excavation which has to be used throughout the life of the mine. The method of extraction of the ore body depends on various factors like width of the ore body, the inclination of the ore, the length and size of the ore body, the condition and strength of the wall rocks adjacent to the ore body etc.


For underground mining method, a detailed plan is drawn up regarding the method of entry to the ore body, whether to follow the conventional shaft system or the more recent decline system.

Mines Vocational Training Centre (MVTR - 1966) Malanjkhand Copper Project, Hindustan Copper Limited

Nowadays, decline system for underground mining is favoured since the mine can be developed fast and bigger equipments can be used for larger production unlike in shaft system. But this depends on the size of the ore body and production requirement beside other factors.

Depending on the ore body characteristics, method of mining is selected. The production targets are made depending on various factors like value of the mineral, demand for the mineral, the skill of the manpower available to run the operation etc. The production target so set should  economically variable keeping in mind the investments made and the expenditures that would occur to mine the deposit. Based on the production target, the developments needed to sustain he production is worked out.

Generally in a mine, a short-term plan is drawn which allows to plan out what is required in coming years to achieve the target production. A long-term plan is drawn if the mine has the potentials for a longer future. This plan is done on a macro level and decides the future course of action generally for a period beyond 5 years till up to next 20-25 years. In this, it is extremely essential to know the continuity of the ore body, so that investments planned / executed are not wasted. Production, development, infracture, manpower etc, are all planned. Care is taken about the market trend in future for its demand and price of the metal in years to come.

Hence it is important for any company, particularly the ones in the mining industry, to plan meticulously for the present as well as the future. Planning is done at the corporate level where generally the route map of the company is calked out. Production targets are set; machine / equipments needed are also decided upon. At the unit level / mine level, planning is done for production, development and other excavations required, for the current year as well as the coming years, to support and sustain the production activities which includes all other activities. Planning in order to take proper actions for procurement.

Similarly such planning is done in the service departments such as mechnical & electrical to work out, along with the mine planning department, the requirement of machines, spare parts and power and its distribution in areas planned for mining. Thus planning is not just for mining, but it’s an integration of all the services and supporting departments that make the ultimate planning success.

It is thus imperative that the planning team has a clear idea and experience of the job. This being more important in mining as he process of mining is dynamic and is always against nature.

In open cast mining method, before design is made for the pit, to know the geological conditions is important for the stability of the pit slopes.

In open cast, flexibility in production is more since it is not that difficult to use equipment as in underground. Hence higher production can be planned with low cut of value.

The main problem comes from the ecological disturbances where a huge portion of the land is dug up and huge area is needed for disposal of the waste rock / overburden that is generated.

In earlier days, planning work involving drawings and scheduling were done manually, which required lot of manpower with field experience particularly in making the drawings and understanding multidimensional configurations. Production scheduling was laborious and became more so if any change in input information or alternate thinking had to be done. This required a huge manpower in planning department to continuously prepare and update the figures and the drawings.

In modern times, computer applications in mining has come in a big way. Various tailor-made software are now available in the market. This has helped the mine-planning engineers to design the lay out of the mine on the computer, analyzing all the dimensions, thus making the design more realistic. All geological discontinuation like dykes faults can be plotted in the mine model on the computer and this helps in designing a safe mine layout. Changes needed are easily made on the computer and thus mine design has become easy and fast. Software are available to do the financial analysis of the mine with different cut of grades that make it simpler to take long term decisions about operation of the mine.   APPRENTICESHIP TRAINING   Conflict Management  N G Nair, Mining Engineer from Copper Mines in India - Mobile 09425898691