Rafael Epstein

Optimizing Mine Planning and Operations

I will describe theoretical and applied developments of optimization systems for long-term and short-term mine planning, as well as relevant real-time optimization problems that arise in mine operations. First, I will present a deterministic long-term optimization system that has been used in large and complex real instances by CODELCO for fifteen years with positive results, that combines open-pit with underground mines, and plant processes downstream. Then, we introduced explicitly uncertainty in copper price using price scenarios and the non-anticipativity principle, with promising results in real world applications. In addition, I will show a short-term planning optimization model based on a geo-referenced structure for spatial decisions, with different techniques used to solve this hard-combinatorial model. And finally, I will present relevant problems that appear when a company has an Integrated Operations Centre, which receives all the real-time data produced by the mine and plants for the coordination and optimization of the whole operation. For this, I will show my experience in El Teniente, the world’s largest underground copper mine.

Professor Rafael Epstein

Department of Industrial Engineering, Universidad de Chile

Professor Epstein is an Industrial Engineer from Universidad de Chile, with a PhD in Operations Research awarded by MIT. His work has had an important impact in the improvement of the planning and the operations in the forest and the mining industries, as well as in important public tenders. He has published his work in the best journals in the area as well as in specialized books, for which he has received multiple awards and recognitions, such as the Franz Edelman Prize in 1998 given by the Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences (INFORMS) for his work in the forest industry, the OR for Development Prize in 2002 given by the International Federation of Operation Research Societies (IFORS) for his work in large-sized tender mechanisms, the ENRE Prize for the best natural resources paper in both mining and forestry, the Chilean Innovator of the Year in 2008, and the Best Work in Engineering Prize in 2011 given by the School of Engineering of Chile for his work in logistics optimisation for the shipping industry. In addition, he has taught and formed many academics and professionals in the field of Engineering.