Development of an Underground Haulage System Evaluation Tool for Feasibility Studies


The mining industry faces many difficult challenges, for example, lower ore grades, smaller and deeper deposits, and longer transportation distances. In the past, there have been remarkable innovations in both equipment and the types of mining methods for which it is used, which have resulted in economies of scale. This has led to an increased use of bulk mining methods, like sublevel and block caving, which has increased productivity and reduced costs. Haulage alone plays a major role. Current haulage techniques are a significant cost driver, which account for between 15 and 30% of the overall capital investment (capex) in a mine and are an increasingly part of the operating costs (opex). The paper introduces a simulation tool of main haulage system in underground mining. Therefore, performances and the costs of the three most common underground main haulage systems, rail, truck, and conveyor, are calculated using a developed modeling tool. The tool was applied and validated in a case study carried out with the LKAB Kiruna Mine in northern Sweden.

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The study was completed by the Institute of Mineral Resources Engineering (MRE) of RWTH Aachen University in cooperation with Schalker Eisenhütte GmbH and LKAB. Their approval to publish this work is gratefully acknowledged.

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Correspondence to M. Dammers.

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Dammers, M., Barnewold, L., Merchiers, A. et al. Development of an Underground Haulage System Evaluation Tool for Feasibility Studies. Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration 36, 487–494 (2019).

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  • Project evaluation
  • Underground rail haulage systems
  • Deterministic simulation