Application of Operations Management in Coal Mines - a Literature Survey

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LITERATURE SURVEY WITH REFERENCE TO APPLICATION OF OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT IN MINING: The effectiveness of Operations Research methods as an industrial tool for decision analysis has been documented by Gaither (1959) and Douglas (1981). They have indicated that the coal industries all over the world have been slow, until recently, in accepting Operations computer application in comparison relatively new and infant to other research techniques and operating and processing countries use of Deptt. of

industries. Operations Research techniques in Indian coal mining industries are in nature. Even in advanced computers and operations research methods was slow in the beginning. In

United States, a survey conducted by Grayson et al (1989) in the

Mining Engineering, West Virginia University, has revealed that only 63.5% of respondents (13.7% response rate) use computers for Mining applications. It has also shown that a large no. of mines are fully computerised applications have not yet been appreciably done. In the present day circumstances, Operations Research techniques have greater role to play because of competitive coal market demands, a low operating cost, a high productivity performance and multicriteria decision making with conflicting objectives. Numerous unseen variables are being observed during mining activities in both Underground and Opencast methods. Some times it becomes cumbersome and irritating to find which goal has to be given priority in our mining management and thus it calls for application of various optimization techniques and computers. These problems have slowly attracted the attentions of many academicians and practitioners in India too. Over the years a few publications on optimization techniques and computers use in the coal mining, particularly in the context of Indian environment, have came out for the use of operations research practitioners. Many theoreticians and practitioners of mining industries have tried from time to time to show the application of these techniques in various fields like production management, whereas small mines have only 44% computerisation. However, sophisticated engineering

inventory management, scheduling, other decision support systems.

transportation, queing, simulation and

Sinha and Sharma (1976) have emphasised the need of total system planning for exploitation of coal in India. They have developed mathematical models for various managerial levels of operations. Jawed et al (1985, 1986, 1987, 1989a, 1989b, 1989c, 1990) have indicated the scope of application of optimization techniques in various areas of coal mining operations. They have emphasised the fact that optimization of sub-system operations will yield a larger benefit under the situation where initial optimal planning of coal mines have been over-looked. Sinha and Sharma (1976), Dhar and Sharma (1978), Murthy (1989) have shown the possible application of Optimization techniques of specific natures of Mine Systems or Sub-systems planning. Sinha & Mukherjee (1983) have used LP to develope a long-term plan and have claimed it's successful application in an Indian Opencast Project. Bordia and Sinha (1978), Sinha (1978), Ray and Mazumdar (1980) and Ray (1984, 1989, 1994) have independently highlighted the application of Mining Investment Appraisal techniques and Principle of Mine Systems Design for a techno-economic feasible planning of coal mines in their comprehensive survey of optimization techniques and computer softwares under current use in Indian establishments. Use of Optimal Planning Process for the exploitation of mineral resources under several constraints has been discussed by Sinha (1984). Ray and Mazumdar (1980) have applied Optimization techniques for obtaining optimal geometry for a retreat Longwall face in order to minimize the cost. Kulkarni & Ashedkar (1982) have utilised a LP model for coal movement from collieries to thermal power plants. Shrivastav (1984) has done a time-cost...
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