Determination of practical bench height is an important subject in open pit mining. This subject has always been an issue with different and sometimes conflicting criteria that have to be precisely considered during the mine design process. In this study a multi-expert multi-criteria decision making approach is used to resolve these complexities. In the proposed approach, different bench heights are firstly analyzed considering the variety of criteria such as production scheduling, dilution, costs, practicability, safety, and equipment availability. The practicability analysis is consisted of a primary sequencing method developed to compare total time needed for all bench height alternatives to reach the constant annual production. Once the criteria are weighted according to judgments by expert team, the obtained performance scores are passed to a multi-criteria model called VIKOR (multi-criteria optimization and compromise solution) to introduce the optimum alternative. This approach was utilized for a simple example with two alternatives, where the obtained results confirmed its efficiency.
Key words: Open pit mining, bench height, multi-criteria decision making.
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