Stochastic analysis of dig limit optimization using simulated annealing

J.R. van Duijvenbode*, M. Soleymani Shishvan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

14 Downloads (Pure)


The results of dig limit delineation in open pit mining are never truly optimized due to gaps in the underlying data, such as insufficient sampling. Aside from the data uncertainty, there is also an influence on the final dig limit by either humans or by the heuristic character of an optimization method like simulated annealing. Several dig limit optimizers have been published, which can replace the manual dig-limits designing process. However, these dig limit designs are generally not adapted to account for this heuristic character. In this paper we present a stochastic analysis tool that can be used with the results of heuristic dig-limit optimization to increase confidence in the obtained results. First, an enhanced simulated annealing algorithm for dig limit optimization is presented. Then, this algorithm is tested on ten different blasts at the Marigold mine, Nevada, USA, as a case study. Finally, the results are analysed with a destination-based ensemble probability map and an analysis conducted of the final solution data distribution. The generated dig-limit designs of the algorithm include high revenue areas that are excluded in comparable manual designs and show improved objective and revenue values. The analysis tool provides block destination probabilities and box plots with the distribution of opportunity value for the dig limit. Furthermore, with the analysis tool, it is possible to make well-informed design decisions in areas of uncertainty.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)715-724
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • open-pit mining
  • dig-limit optimization
  • simulated annealing
  • grade control

Cite this