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journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/asoc

Nicholas technique

Amir Azadeh a,*, M. Osanloo b, M. Ataei c

a

Department of Mining Engineering, Engineering Faculty of Azad University, Sciences & Researches Branch, PO Box 14515/775, Tehran, Iran

b

Department of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum Engineering, Amirkabir University of Technology, Hafez Ave., PO Box 15875-4413, Tehran, Iran

c

Department of Mining, Geophysics and Petroleum Engineering, Shahrood University of Technology, 7th tir Sq., PO Box 36155-316, Shahrood, Iran

A R T I C L E I N F O A B S T R A C T

Article history: The main purpose of this paper is to represent a solution to the problem of mining method selection

Received 16 January 2009 (MMS) in mining projects. To this aim, the well-known MMS technique of Nicholas has been modied so

Received in revised form 8 July 2009 that in addition to eliminate its defects, it would be possible for mining engineers to easily assign their

Accepted 5 September 2009

engineering judgments to unsteady and uncertain characteristics of mineral resources. So, in order to

Available online 25 September 2009

resolve the problems of weighting of the Nicholas technique, analytic hierarchy process (AHP) as the

most similar multi-criteria decision making (MCDM) tool to Nicholas technique was applied. Due to

Keywords:

inability of crisp numbers for assigning of decision maker (DM) judgments to ambiguities of mineral

Mining method selection

resources, trapezoidal fuzzy numbers also were used for better modeling of those ambiguities. Moreover,

AHP

Fuzzy sets theory a two-step algorithm containing hierarchical technicaloperational model (HTOM) and also hierarchical

Nicholas technique economical model (HEM), inspired by Nicholas technique, was proposed. These models include some

Optimum prot new criteria which are added to the Nicholas technique. Therefore using fuzzy AHP (FAHP), mining

alternatives are rstly ranked based on HTOM and then, the most protable of those alternatives is

selected by the HEM. As a case study, the north anomaly of Choghart iron mine was used to compare the

proposed approach with the Nicholas technique. The results indicated that the proposed approach

eliminated the problems of Nicholas technique. Proposed approach also introduces a protable mining

alternative to start the mining operations. It should be applied to avoid further feasibility studies in

mining projects.

2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

not possible to change the method and replace it with another one.

Mining methods are those operating methods that are used in Because such a replacement is usually so costly that the whole

order to extract mineral resources from the earth. Considering the project could become uneconomical. MMS is therefore an

complications of the geometrical and geological characteristics of irreversible stage in mine planning. On the other hand, selecting

mineral resources, no single mining method can be used for the a mining method for mineral resources is completely dependent on

extraction of all the mineral resources. So, taking the unique the uncertain geometrical and geological characteristics of the

characteristics of each mineral resource into account it is necessary resource. This uncertainty is such that no certain value could be

to use just the suitable mining method for the extraction of a assigned for none of these characteristics. For example a certain

certain resource, so that the applied method would have the slope or volume may not be assigned to mineral resources using

maximum technicaloperational congruence with the geometrical crisp numbers. The above-mentioned issues indicate the impor-

and geological conditions of the mineral resource. It is also tance and complication of MMS in mining projects. The sensitivity

obligatory for the applied mining method to be protable in of MMS in mining projects has led to different solutions introduced

comparison with the other methods [44]. The process of selecting a by different researchers. Lack of a systematic solution in 70 and 80

mining method for the extraction of mineral resources is called decades caused the introduction of some qualitative solutions

MMS. After MMS process is done for a mineral resource and the introduced by Boshkov et al. [9], Morrison [41], Laubscher [33],

Hamrin [25], Brady and Brown [10], Hartman [26], Adler and

Thompson [1], to nd a solution for MMS problem. In these studies,

MMS procedure has been looked from qualitative viewpoint. This

* Corresponding author at: No. 7, Western 19th Street, Modares Blvd., Taavon,

Semnan City, Semnan, Iran. Tel.: +98 2314441582. means that MMS procedure is done by linguistic and qualitative

E-mail address: amirazadeh@gmail.com (A. Azadeh). denitions. Furthermore, selection criteria which are used in these

1568-4946/$ see front matter 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

doi:10.1016/j.asoc.2009.09.002

A. Azadeh et al. / Applied Soft Computing 10 (2010) 10401061 1041

methodologies can be often applied for specic category of mining

methods only, such as underground mining methods. They had

used some owchart, tabular denitions and graphs as methodol-

ogy to select a mining method or a suitable set of them. Generally,

based on these classier methods, some mining methods can be

participated into selection process. These methodologies were not

adequate to solve the MMS problems.

In 1981, the rst numerical approach to MMS was represented

Fig. 1. Trapezoidal fuzzy number A a=b; g =d [11]. by Nicholas. Using some criteria and some mining methods and

Table 1

Fundamental scales to pair-wise comparison in AHP [4,49].

of importance

2 Equally to moderately Can be used when compromise is needed between 1 and 3

3 Moderately preferred Experience and judgment strongly favor one activity over another

4 Moderately to strongly Can be used when compromise is needed between 3 and 5

5 Strongly preferred Experience and judgment strongly favor one activity over another

6 Strongly to very strongly Can be used when compromise is needed between 5 and 7

7 Very strongly preferred An activity is strongly favored, its dominance demonstrated in practice

8 Very strongly to extremely Can be used when compromise is needed between 7 and 9

9 Extremely preferred The evidence favoring one activity over another is of tile highest

possible order of afrmation

Table 2

Average random consistency (RI) [49].

Size of matrix 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Random consistency 0 0 0.58 0.9 1.12 1.24 1.32 1.41 1.45 1.49

Table 3

Weighting procedure of the Nicholas MMS technique: ore geometry attributes [43,44].

Alternatives Criteria

a a a a a a a a a a

M T/P I N I T VT F I S Ua Ga Ea

Block caving 4 2 0 49 0 2 4 3 2 4 4 2 0

Sublevel stoping 2 2 1 1 2 4 3 2 1 4 3 3 1

Sublevel caving 3 4 1 49 0 4 4 1 1 4 4 2 0

Long wall mining 49 4 49 4 0 49 49 4 0 49 4 2 0

Room and pillar 0 4 2 4 2 49 49 4 1 0 3 3 3

Shrinkage stoping 2 2 1 1 2 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1

Cut and ll 0 4 2 4 4 0 0 0 3 4 3 3 3

Top slicing 3 3 0 49 0 3 4 4 1 2 4 2 0

Stull stoping 0 2 4 4 4 1 1 2 3 3 3 3 3

M: massive; T/P: tabular or platy; I: irregular; N: narrow (<10 m); I: intermediate (<1030 m); T: thick (<30100 m); VT: very thick (<100 m); F: at (<208); I: intermediate

(20558); S: steep (>558); U: uniform; G: gradational; E: erratic.

a

Mining methods.

Fig. 2. Fuzzy numbers based on trapezoidal membership of A a=b; g =d which use in fuzzy hierarchy analysis: (a) triangular, (b) more than a to 1, (c) less than d to 1, (d)

between a/1 and g/1, (e) at least a/1, and (f) at most d/1 [11,12].

1042 A. Azadeh et al. / Applied Soft Computing 10 (2010) 10401061

Table 4

Weighting procedure of the Nicholas MMS technique: Ore zone attributes [43,44].

Alternatives Criteria

Wa Ma Sa VCa Ca Wa VWa Wa Ma Sa

Block caving 4 1 1 4 4 3 0 4 3 0

Sublevel stoping 49 3 4 0 0 1 4 0 2 4

Sublevel caving 0 3 3 0 2 4 4 0 2 2

Long wall mining 4 1 0 4 4 0 0 4 3 0

Room and pillar 0 3 4 0 1 2 4 0 2 4

Shrinkage stoping 1 3 4 0 1 3 4 0 2 4

Cut and ll 3 2 2 3 3 2 2 3 3 2

Top slicing 2 3 3 1 1 2 4 1 2 4

Stull stoping 4 1 1 4 4 2 1 4 3 2

Rock substance strengthfracture strength: W: weak (<8); M: moderate (815); S: strong (>15); fracture spacing: VC: very close (020); C: close (2140); W: wide (4170);

VW: very wide (71100).

a

Mining methods.

Table 5

Weighting procedure of the Nicholas MMS technique: Hanging wall attributes [43,44].

Alternatives Criteria

a a a a a a a

W M S VC C W VW Wa Ma Sa

Block caving 4 2 1 3 4 3 0 4 2 0

Sublevel stoping 49 3 4 49 0 1 4 0 2 4

Sublevel caving 3 2 1 3 4 3 1 4 2 0

Long wall mining 4 2 0 4 4 3 0 4 2 0

Room and pillar 0 3 4 0 1 2 4 0 2 4

Shrinkage stoping 4 2 1 4 4 3 0 4 2 0

Cut and ll 3 2 2 3 3 2 2 4 3 2

Top slicing 4 2 1 3 3 3 0 4 2 0

Stull stoping 3 2 2 3 3 2 2 4 3 2

a

Mining methods.

Table 6

Weighting procedure of the Nicholas MMS technique: Footwall attributes[43,44].

Alternatives Criteria

a a a a a a a

W M S VC C W VW Wa Ma Sa

Block caving 2 3 3 1 3 3 3 1 3 0

Sublevel stoping 0 2 4 0 0 2 4 0 1 4

Sublevel caving 0 2 4 0 1 3 4 0 2 4

Long wall mining 2 3 3 1 2 4 3 1 3 3

Room and pillar 0 2 4 0 1 3 3 0 3 3

Shrinkage stoping 2 3 3 2 3 3 2 2 2 3

Cut and ll 4 2 2 4 4 2 2 4 4 2

Top slicing 2 3 3 1 3 3 3 1 2 3

Stull stoping 4 2 2 4 4 2 2 4 4 2

a

Mining methods.

Weighting procedure of the Nicholas MMS technique: Weighting Factors [44]. prioritizing the different mining methods based on those criteria to

Criteria Weighting factors DM. In spite of having this advantage, in his technique all of the

criteria were of equal importance [43]. He therefore modied his

Group 1 Group 2 Group 3

technique by introducing weighting factor for different criteria in

Ore geometry 1 1 1 1992 [44]. There were yet some defects including wrong

Ore zone ground 1.33 0.75 1

conditions

denition of weights and small scoring domain between the

Hanging wall 1.33 0.6 0.8 maximum and minimum scores [7]. So, Miller et al. decided to

ground conditions modify the Nicholas technique. In 1995 they represented the

Foot wall ground 1.33 0.38 0.5 University of British Columbia (UBC) method for MMS. In UBC

conditions

method, the scoring domain between the maximum and minimum

A. Azadeh et al. / Applied Soft Computing 10 (2010) 10401061 1043

Table 8

HTOM: rst proposed hierarchy model to MMS considering to technical and operational characteristics.

Technically and (B1) Technical (C11) Geometry conditions D1c11 Ore body thickness Intervals of upper and lower face of ore body including layer

operationally most parameters or massive Shape

suitable mining D2c11 Ore body shape General solid shape of ore body

method (A) D3c11 Ore body depth An interval of ground level and upper face of ore body

D4c11 Ore body dip Dip of general shape of ore body

D5c11 Grade distributions Type of minerals distribution in the area. It can be existed in

form of erratic, gradational or uniform.

D6c11 Ore body volume Volume of the overall ore reserve

(C12) Geomechanical D1c12 Ore body RMR Structural and mechanical quality of ore body rock mass

conditions D2c12 Hanging wall RMR Structural and mechanical quality of upper face of ore

bodys rock mass which is surrounded by none

mineralization zone

D3c12 Footwall RMR Structural and mechanical quality of lower face of ore body

rock mass which is surrounded by none mineralization

zone

(C13) Geographical D1c13 Hydrogeology conditions Underground hydrogeology level

conditions D2c13 Climate of area Weather conditions of mine

(B2) Operational (C21) production D1c21 Production rate Rate of ore production per mining sequence

parameters D2c21 Recovery Ability of ore extraction which is remained during mining

operations

D3c21 Development production Production of ore during development works before start of

the project

D4c21 Production per man shift Obtained ore in terms of miner in each work sequence

(C22) Mining operations D1c22 Selective mining Ability of planning several stope in a mine

D2c22 Flexibility Ability of changing a mining method to another similar

methods

D3c22 Dilution Mixture of ore and waste during mining operations

D4c22 Development rate Rate of achieving to ore body since start of the project

D5c22 Mineable reserve Part of overall ore body which can be extracted by method

completely

D6c22 Technology availability Ability of automation and mechanization of method

D7c22 Labor availability Skilled miners and availability of them

(C23) Mining aspects D1c23 Environmental aspects Environmental effects of mining in the area

D2c23 Safety Overall safety aspects of method on miners and spaces

D3c23 Occupational interests Ability of more people in area to be occupied by method

scores was extended [40]. But it did not seem a comprehensive little by little getting near to their purpose which was selecting the

method for all of the mines because it paid an extraordinary optimum mining method, none of them was a suitable and perfect

attention to the stoping methods used in the mines of Canada [7]. solution for selection and representation the optimum mining

In addition, the importances of the criteria were not taken into method. In this way a number of studies were also carried out by

consideration [40]. Although the proposed MMS methods were other researchers emphasizing the underground mining methods

Table 9

HEM: Second proposed hierarchy model with economical criteria to select optimum mining method.

Optimum method (B1) costs (C11) Capital costs Include costs of planned mine development,

selection (A) manufacturers quotations of equipments, quantities and

contractors unit costs for constructions, installations and

other services [45]. Such as land ownership, equipment

purchasing, building communication etc.

(C12) Operating costs Include quantities and unit costs of all components of

supplies and labor [45], such as consumption fuel and

energy, drilling rods, explosive agents, salaries, equipment

requirements and repairs, etc.

(C13) Reclamation/ Include costs of reclamation or rehabilitation of mining area

rehabilitation costs after nishing of the mine life. For example, an open pit

mine cone can be changed into a lake.

(B2) Initial investment It is directly depended on mine development duration.

rate of return Return of initial investment in mining methods which have

shorter development cycle is faster than other methods.

(B3) Income (C14) Income per tone It is different in various mining method due to its variety in

of ore overall mining cost.

(C15) Equipment worth Worth of drilling, loading, transporting and other mining

and its usages equipments and their usability in other mining works.

Usability of underground mining equipments, for example

shearer loaders is in similar condition such as long wall

mining only. Even though an open pit hydraulic excavator

can be employed in other mining or construction works

such as trenching.

1044 A. Azadeh et al. / Applied Soft Computing 10 (2010) 10401061

Fig. 3. 3D view of Western ore body of north anomaly of Choghart iron mine using SURPAC software. Three main mineralization zones, ground level, outcrop of middle ore

body and other visual characteristics are observable [30].

Table 10

Characteristics of western ore body of north anomaly [30].

Thickness 40 m Average value of thickness has been considered. It is various and has a minimum and

maximum value of 10110 m respectively

Depth 0500 m Due to outcrops, upper bound of ore body is begin over ground level (+20)l and is

extended to average 500 m (500) from ground level

Dip 408 An average value of dip is mentioned for overall shape. Ore body 1 has massive general

shape and an approximately dip should be dened for it

Dip direction Az > 3403558 North-Northwest-North Azimuth of general shape of ore body: angle of longest dip line in a inclined layer ore

Ore body RMR 3040% Structural and mechanical quality of ore body rock mass

Walls RMR 3040% Structural and mechanical quality of walls rock mass. In hanging wall layers which are

nearer than ground level, it is close to 30

Shape Massive (more or less) A massive shape is appeared in 3D views of ore body models

Ore grade %26.56gradational It has an erratic position of grade distribution and has been classied in poor grade

category

Ore body volume 40,000,000 m3 It includes three main ore body and other mineralization zones

Table 11

Process of selecting the suitable mining method by the Nicholas technique.

weights

Criteria

General Ore Ore Grade RSS: FSp: FSt.: RSS: FSp: FSt.: RSS: FSp: FSt.:

shape: thickness: plunge distribution: moderate wide moderate moderate wide moderate moderate wide moderate

massive thick intermediate graduate

Block 4 2 2 2 1 3 3 2 3 2 3 3 3 33

caving (BC)

Sublevel 3 4 1 2 3 4 2 2 3 2 2 3 2 33

caving (SLC)

Cut and 0 0 3 3 2 2 3 2 2 3 2 2 4 28

ll (C&F)

Open pit 3 4 3 3 4 4 3 4 4 3 4 4 3 46

mining (OP)

Sublevel 2 4 1 3 3 1 2 3 1 2 2 2 1 27

stoping (SLS)

RSS: rock substance strength; FSp: fracture spacing; FSt: fracture strength.

A. Azadeh et al. / Applied Soft Computing 10 (2010) 10401061 1045

Table 13

Table 12 Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of sub-criteria (1) (i.t.o. B1).

Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of criteria (i.t.o. A).

B1 C11 C12 C13

A B1 B2

C11 (1/1, 1/1) (5/6, 7/8) (7/8, 9/9)

B1 (1/1, 1/1) (5/6, 7/8) C12 (5/6, 7/8)1 (1/1, 1/1) (1/1, 2/3)

B2 (5/6, 7/8)1 (1/1, 1/1) C13 (7/8, 9/9)1 (1/1, 2/3)1 (1/1, 1/1)

1046 A. Azadeh et al. / Applied Soft Computing 10 (2010) 10401061

Table 14

Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of sub-criteria (1) (i.t.o. B2).

C22 (2/3, 4/5)1 (1/1, 1/1) (1/2, 3/4)

C23 (5/6, 7/8)1 (1/2, 3/4)1 (1/1, 1/1)

Table 15

Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of sub-criteria (2) (i.t.o. C13).

1

D1c12 (1/1, 1/1) (2/3, 3/4) (2/2, 2/3)

D2c12 (2/3, 3/4) (1/1, 1/1) (6/6, 7/8)

D3c12 (2/2, 2/3)1 (6/6, 7/8)1 (1/1, 1/1) Fig. 5. Trapezoidal fuzzy number of alternatives nal weights based on technical

and operational considerations.

Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of sub-criteria (2) (i.t.o. C13).

management and dialog subsystem. His methods which was called

C13 D1C 13 D2C 13 DDS, was applicable for resolving the multi-criteria decision

D1C 13 (1/1, 1/1) (3/4, 5/6) making problems of mines, using crisp numbers [3]. But this

D2C 13 (3/4, 5/6)1 (1/1, 1/1) system, like some of the preceding proposed systems, was

applicable for a certain category of mining methods. In other

words, a mining engineer was able to use DDS for selecting just a

Table 17 single underground mining method. Almeida et al. carried out a

Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of sub-criteria (2) (i.t.o. C23).

research leading to representation a solution for MMS problem. In

C23 D1c23 D2c23 D3c23 this study PROMETHEE technique was used in order to selecting a

D1c23 (1/1, 1/1) (1/2, 2/3) (5/6,6/7) mining method for mineral resources [2]. This method, as opposed

D2c23 (1/2, 2/3)1 (1/1, 1/1) (2/3,3/4) to the preceding ones, covered all of the surface and underground

D3c23 (5/6, 6/7)1 (2/3, 3/4)1 (1/1,1/1) mining methods. For the user of such a method, allocation of

engineering judgments was only possible by using crisp numbers.

In 2003, Osanloo et al. used conventional AHP in order to nd out a

[6,47,53]. In 2003, Guaray et al. proposed a compound method suitable mining method in anomaly No. 3 of GOL-E-GOHAR mine in

based on expert systems and knowledge base, which was usable Iran. In this study, two hierarchical models were used including

for underground mining methods [24]. In a similar research, in some of the technical an economical criteria, respectively [46]. This

order to representing a solution for MMS problem, Alpay and method used crisp numbers in order to allocating judgments. In

Table 18

Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of sub-criteria (2) (i.t.o. C11).

1

D1c11 (1/1, 1/1) (2/2, 3/4) (2/2, 3/4) (1/1, 1/2) (3/3, 4/5) (3/3,4/5)

D2c11 (2/2, 3/4)1 (1/1, 1/1) (5/6, 7/7)1 (1/2, 3/3)1 (1/2, 2/3) (1/1, 2/3)

D3c11 (2/2, 3/4) (5/6, 7/7) (1/1, 1/1) (1/2, 2/3) (8/9, 9/9) (6/7, 8/8)

D4c11 (1/1, 1/2)1 (1/2, 3/3) (1/2, 2/3)1 (1/1, 1/1) (2/4, 4/4) (2/3, 4/5)

D5c11 (3/3, 4/5)1 (1/2, 2/3)1 (8/9, 9/9)1 (3/4, 4/4)1 (1/1, 1/1) (1/1, 2/2)1

D2c21 (3/3, 4/5)1 (1/1, 2/3)1 (6/7, 8/8)1 (2/3, 4/5)1 (1/1, 2/2) (1/1, 1/1)

Table 19

Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of sub-criteria (2) (i.t.o. C22).

D1c22 (1/1, 1/1) (1/2, 2/3) (1/1, 2/2)1 (1/1, 1/2)1 (2/3, 4/5)1 (1/2, 3/4)1 (1/1, 2/3)1

D2c22 (1/2, 2/3)1 (1/1, 1/1) (2/3, 4/4)1 (2/2, 2/3)1 (4/5, 6/7)1 (4/5, 6/7)1 (1/2, 2/3)1

D3c22 (1/1, 2/2) (2/3, 4/4) (1/1, 1/1) (1/1, /2/2) (1/2, 3/4)1 (1/2, 3/3)1 (1/1, 2/3)

D4c22 (1/1, 1/2) (2/2, 2/3) (1/1, /2/2)1 (1/1, 1/1) (3/4, 5/6)1 (2/3, 4/5)1 (1/1, 2/3)1

D5c22 (2/3, 4/5) (4/5, 6/7) (1/2, 3/4) (3/4, 5/6) (1/1, 1/1) (1/1, 2/3) (3/3, 3/4)

D6c22 (1/2, 3/4) (4/5, 6/7) (1/2, 3/3) (2/3, 4/5) (1/1, 2/3)1 (1/1, 1/1) (3/3, 3/4)

D7c22 (1/1, 2/3) (1/2, 2/3) (1/1, 2/3)1 (1/1, 2/3) (3/3, 3/4)1 (3/3, 3/4)1 (1/1, 1/1)

Table 20

Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of sub-criteria (2) (i.t.o. C21).

D5c22 (2/3, 4/5)1 (1/1, 1/1) (1/1, 1/2) (2/3, 4/5)1

D3c21 (3/4, 4/51 (1/1, 1/2)1 (1/1, 1/1) (2/3, 4/5)1

D4c21 (1/1, 1/2)1 (2/3, 4/5) (2/3, 4/5) (1/1, 1/1)

A. Azadeh et al. / Applied Soft Computing 10 (2010) 10401061 1047

addition, as the method was only limited to the aforementioned coal basin [60]. In 2008, Naghadehi et al., using FAHP, represented a

mine, the selected criteria were insufcient. In 2004, Bitarafan and solution for MMS for a Bauxite mine in Iran. They made use of

Ataei, used fuzzy MCDM in order to resolving MMS problem in the thirteen different criteria [42]. Their study was just carried out for

aforementioned mine. Their method was based on Yager method. underground mining method.

They used fteen criteria which were taken into account, In the above-mentioned literature, shortcomings such as

considering ore geometry, rock quality and its strength [7]. In linguistic and unreliable denitions for criteria, structure of

this study, the ultimate prioritizing of the mining methods was weighting system of some of the methods which are based

only based on technicaloperational considerations, without an on weighting, a lack of fuzzy environment, using insufcient

economical viewpoint. In other words the ultimately selected the technicaloperational criteria, and a subjective view toward some

mining method based on their study might be uneconomical. of the represented solutions led to problems such as inability for

Also in 2004, Xinchun et al. resolved MMS problem by using

FAHP and criteria which were taken into account for a certain

Fig. 8. Trapezoidal fuzzy number of three choice of mining in HEM. Fig. 9. Inuence of sub-criteria on each alternative of HEM.

1048 A. Azadeh et al. / Applied Soft Computing 10 (2010) 10401061

selecting a suitable mining method or selecting a mining number and other types of it. A general type trapezoidal fuzzy

method which did not take economical considerations into number is illustrated in Fig. 1.

account. In addition some of these solutions were designed just The function which represents a grade of membership

for selecting an underground mining method. It is worth for numbers is called membership function. A fuzzy number is

mentioning that in the previous studies, there was not the a special kind of fuzzy set where F fx; mx; x 2 Rg; R : 1

possibility of mathematical modeling of the complicated and < x < 1; mx : R0; 1. So, a trapezoidal fuzzy number is denoted

uncertain concept of MMS. It is therefore obvious that MMS as A a=b; g =d which has a value of membership 0 for x a and

concept which includes a purpose, some criteria, sub-criteria x d, (x a)/(b a) for a x b, 1 for b x g and (d x)/

and alternatives, is a decision making problem, one of the best (d g) for g < x d.

possible solutions of which is using decision making tools. In fact Thus considering Fig. 1, membership value of b and c is 1. If

Nicholas resolved the decision making MMS problem by a 2 (0,1], then alpha cut of A, a fuzzy subset of universal set X,

representing a numerical system which was a simple decision written as A[a], is dened to be the crisp set {xjA(x) a}. This set is

making model just for mining. In his model, the surface and the collection of all x in X whose membership value is at least alpha.

underground mining methods were used as alternatives. It is also In this paper, we named a x value of alpha level cut 0.5 by j. So, in a

worth noting that only in his technique the most protable mining trapezoidal fuzzy number, jL is a crisp value of A(x) which is

method is emphasized. So, in this paper by using the idea dened between value of a, b. A value of jR also represents crisp

presented in Nicholas technique, it has been tried to modify it and value of alpha level cut 0.5 between g, d. Now the fuzzy arithmetic

also to represent a new approach to MMS problem in mines so that can be described as follows. If A a1 ; b1 ; g 1 ; d1 > 0 and zero does

its deciencies such as weighting problems would be eliminated. not belong to the support of B a2 ; b2 ; g 2 ; d2 , the main

As a result, considering the structural similarity between Nicholas arithmetic of two fuzzy numbers denes as below [52]:

technique and hierarchical analysis process, AHP has been used as a a

the framework of proposed method for weighting. Considering the A B aa1 b1 ; aa2 b2 (1)

inability of crisp numbers to assign the viewpoint of DM to

a a

uncertainties existing in mines resources, fuzzy sets theory was A B aa1 b1 ; aa2 b2 (2)

used to compensate for this inability. Two hierarchical models of

" #

HTOM and HEM are therefore developed in order for hierarchical 1 1

analysis. These models are based on technicaloperational and A B aa1 ; aa2 a; a (3)

b1 b2

economical criteria respectively. In HTOM, mining alternatives

which are the same as mining methods are prioritized. The most Considering Eqs. (1)(3) fuzzy addition, subtraction, multi-

protable of them is then selected by HEM. plication and division of two above-mentioned trapezoidal fuzzy

In the following, the fuzzy sets theory and its applications in numbers are dened as follows, respectively [52]:

mining sciences are reviewed. Section 3 describes AHP and its

extensions to fuzzy environment. Section 4 reviews the Nicholas A B a1 a2 =b1 b2 ; c1 c2 =d d2 (4)

methodology in order to know the basic framework of proposed

approach. Section 4.2 explains the proposed approach and its AQB a1 a2 =b1 b2 ; c1 c2 =d d2 (5)

elements. As a case study, applying the Nicholas technique and the

proposed approach to a mineral resource is illustrated in Section 5. A

B a1 a2 =b1 b2 ; c1 c2 =d1 d2 Cm (6)

A comparison study between those two MMS methodology is also

represented in Section 5.3. In Section 6, we discuss about results of

a1 b 1 c 1 d1

case study. Finally, section 7 is dedicated to describe the results of AfB = ; = Cd (7)

d2 c2 b2 a2

this study

1

Reciprocal concept of A also is dened as A 1d = g1 ; b1 = a1

2. Fuzzy sets and fuzzy numbers Cr . We presented results of above-mentioned Eqs. in form which

conception of the uncertainty due to imprecision and vagueness

[62]. It provides a strict mathematical framework in which vague

conceptual phenomena can be precisely studied. It can be con-

sidered as a suitable modeling language for vague and imprecision

conceptual relations, criteria and phenomena. Imprecision here is

meant in the sense of vagueness than the lack of knowledge about

the value of a parameter [64]. In fact, it is a natural way to deal with

imprecision problems by denition of class which is representing

continuum grades of membership. Therefore a much wider scope of

applicability in the eld of pattern classication and information

process is accessible by fuzzy sets [62].

A fuzzy set A can be dened as follows: if X is a collection of

objects denoted generically by x, then A is a set of ordered pairs:

A fx; mA xjx 2 Xg. mA x is called the membership function

which is address a degree of compatibility of x in A that maps X to

the membership space M with a range of nite and nonnegative

numbers [62,64]. Fuzzy numbers represent a number of whose

value we are somewhat uncertain. Though they are used for nite

area conventionally, they have special shapes such as triangular

(piecewise linear), s-shape (piecewise quadratic), bell-shaped and Fig. 10. Schematic model of overall progress for selecting a practical and protable

trapezoidal [52]. In this paper, we employed trapezoidal fuzzy mining method in north anomaly of Choghart iron mine.

A. Azadeh et al. / Applied Soft Computing 10 (2010) 10401061 1049

is used by Buckley. We also use symbol to describe conception model is weighted using the comparison matrices. Then, the

of approximately equal to. So, symbol of / is not division weight of each subsection of alternatives level must be multiplied

sign. It is applied to separate value of a, b and g, d in a trapezoidal by the weight of all subsections of the upper level. Multiplication of

fuzzy number [11,12]. It should be noted that Cm , Cd , Cr are not a the weight of the subsections of each level must be carried out

trapezoidal fuzzy number. Results of them are approximately considering the path depicted from each subsection to the other.

equal to their own real values and graph. Using a a 2 [0, 1] level The nal weight of each alternative is obtained from the addition of

cut for example a = 0.5, lead to the graph of Cm , Cd , Cr be closed to the weights of the subsections of each path.

their own real state and difference between these two state is been So, consistency of matrices should be also checked by DM.

often negligible. Consistency index of hierarchy (CI) is obtained by CI = (lmax n)/

n 1, where n is the matrix size, lmax is a principal eigenvalue of

2.1. Fuzzy sets theory in mining sciences: reasons and applications matrix and always lmax n. Furthermore, a ratio of CI has been

dened to check the judgment consistency as the consistency ratio

Most stages of mining operations deal with geo materials (CR) which is shown in Table 2. The CR is acceptable, if it does less

(rock and soil). These materials usually are anisotropic and than 10%. Otherwise, the comparison matrix is inconsistent and

inhomogeneous. It means that geo materials do not have the same DMs have to redo it to improve. So, judgments should be reviewed

properties in different directions and locations. So, their by DM. Based on consistency theorem of AHP, a pair-wise matrix is

behaviors such as deformability modulus, strength, brittleness, consistent if and only if lmax = n. In term of reciprocal values it is

permeability and discontinuity frequency cannot be realized important to note that if priority of i respect to j be a 2 [1,9], then

precisely [27]. In mine resources, these geo materials (including priority of j respect to i is shown as a1 = 1/a [4,49,50].

ore and waste) also do not have a certain state in their geometric,

geological and mechanical characteristics. Assigning the crisp 3.2. Using AHP in fuzzy environment

numbers to these characteristics will therefore be complicated

and imprecise. In order to model the uncertainty and imprecision As discussed in the previous section, in conventional AHP, DM

in geo materials, it is therefore appropriate to use the fuzzy judgments are carried out using just crisp numbers. Even though

numbers. Although the computing process will be rather huge, the purpose of AHP is to capture the experts knowledge, the

using fuzzy numbers instead of crisp numbers, the uncertain state conventional AHP cannot reect the human thinking style [54]. In

of geo materials will be modeled better. Fuzzy sets theory has a practice, DM encounters much ambiguities and uncertainties in

wide range of application in many parts of mining sciences (see decision making problems. Due to inability of crisp numbers to

[36,22]), such as decision making in mining projects (except in the assign the thinking style and judgment of human being to these

case of applications of fuzzy MCDM tools in MMS problems ambiguities and uncertainties, DM, while using conventional AHP

mentioned in previous section, see also [31]), mineral processing, for assigning their judgments, encounter difculty. In other words,

blasting, rock mechanics, underground mining, tunneling and it is usually the case that DM, by using crisp numbers, cannot

underground spaces studies, mineralogy, reserve evaluating, assign his judgments as accurately as using fuzzy numbers. Using

rock slope stability, acid mine drainage, engineering geology, AHP in fuzzy environment is therefore a suitable solution for the

subsidence in underground mines, etc. [36]. complicated problems of decision making which include ambi-

guity and uncertainty [21,38].

3. Multi-criteria decision making (MCDM) During the rst years of 1980s, the rst methods of FAHP were

represented [56], while conventional AHP and the rst numerical

Although MCDM tools are applied for resolving a wide range of technique for MMS had been introduced simultaneously [43,50].

engineering problems such as planning, evolution, forecasting, etc., Representation of the different methods of FAHP has been

it is commonly used as a solution for decision making problems continued up to now. The characteristics of these methods are

[23,48]. In other words, in order to nd out the most suitable briey described in Table 58 in Appendix A. Some of the recent

alternative from among a number of possible ones, MCDM studies have revealed the applications of FAHP [18,29,32,34,51,55].

is applied based on a number of criteria. This selecting process Moreover, several researchers have also been discussed about the

is carried out in different forms such as outranking, prioritizing fundamental concepts of FAHP [20,35,57,58,63].

and distance from ideal solution [23].

3.3. Buckleys FAHP method

3.1. Decision making using AHP

In case of weighting process, we describe the geometric mean

In 1998, Saaty introduced AHP as one of the MCDM tools. Using method of conventional AHP to develop it into fuzzy environment.

AHP, DM is able to prioritize and select an alternative among a Suppose a comparison matrix with crisp elements [A] as below

number of possible ones based on his experience and knowledge [50]:

[50]. For this purpose, in order to construct a hierarchical model 2 3

which includes three main levels of target, criteria and alternatives, a1;1 a1;2 a1;m

6 a2;1 a2;2 a2;m 7

DM can compare the subsections of each level to those of the upper 6 7

A6 . .. .. .. 7 (8)

level. In case of existing a sub-criteria level in the hierarchical 4 .. . . . 5

model, each one of those sub-criteria will be compared to each am;1 am;2 am;m

other, based on that criterion from which the sub-criteria are

Geometric mean of each row calculates by Zi where:

derived. In such a case, the alternatives are compared to each other

based on each subsection of the sub-criteria level located on the 0 11=m

upper level. The process of comparison is based on construction a Y

m

ri @ ai j A (9)

comparison pair-wise matrix (n n) for each level, n being the j1

number of subsections. Crisp numbers represented in Table 1 must

be used to allocate the amount of importance of each subsection of Now crisp weight of element i is obtained by (10):

a hierarchical level to the other subsections of the same level. After

weighting process, the subsection of each level of the hierarchical wi r i r 1 r 2 r m 1 (10)

1050 A. Azadeh et al. / Applied Soft Computing 10 (2010) 10401061

Table 21

Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of alternatives (i.t.o. D1c11 ).

1

BC (1/1, 1/1) (3/3, 4/6) (5/6, 7/8) (1/1, 2/3) (5/6, 6/7)

SLC (3/3, 4/6)1 (1/1, 1/1) (1/1, 2/3) (4/5, 6/6)1 (1/1, 2/3)

C&F (5/6, 7/8)1 (1/2, 2/3)1 (1/1, 1/1) (6/6, 7/8)1 (1/1, 2/3)1

OP (1/1, 2/3) (4/5, 5/6) (7/8, 8/9) (1/1, 1/1) (7/8, 8/9)

SLS (3/4, 5/6)1 (1/2, 2/3)1 (2/3, 3/4) (4/5, 5/6)1 (1/1, 1/1)

Table 22

Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of alternatives (i.t.o. D2c11 ).

BC (1/1, 1/1) (1/2, 3/3)1 (2/3, 3/4)1 (3/3, 4/5)1 (1/1, 2/3)1

SLC (1/2, 3/3) (1/1, 1/1) (1/1, 2/3)1 (2/2, 2/3)1 (1/1, 2/3)

C&F (2/3, 3/4) (1/1, 2/3) (1/1, 1/1) (1/1, 2/3)1 (1/1, 2/3)

OP (3/3, 4/5) (2/2, 2/3) (1/1, 2/3) (1/1, 1/1) (3/3, 4/5)

SLS (1/1, 2/3) (1/1, 2/3)1 (1/1, 2/3)1 (3/3, 4/5)1 (1/1, 1/1)

Table 23

Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of alternatives (i.t.o. D4c11 ).

BC (1/1, 1/1) (1/1, 1/2)1 (1/2, 2/3)1 (3/3, 4/5)1 (2/2, 3/4)

SLC (1/1, 1/2) (1/1, 1/1) (1/2, 2/3)1 (3/4, 5/6)1 (1/1, 2/3)

C&F (1/2, 2/3) (1/2, 2/3) (1/1, 1/1) (1/1, 2/3)1 (4/4, 5/6)

OP (3/3, 4/5) (3/4, 5/6) (1/1, 2/3) (1/1, 1/1) (5/6, 7/7)

SLS (2/2, 3/4)1 (1/1, 2/3)1 (4/4, 5/6)1 (5/6, 7/7)1 (1/1, 1/1)

Table 24

Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of alternatives (i.t.o. D3c11 ).

BC (1/1, 1/1) (2/3, 3/4) (3/3, 4/5) (1/2, 3/4)1 (3/4, 4/5)

SLC (2/3, 3/4)1 (1/1, 1/1) (1/1, 2/3) (5/6, 7/7)1 (1/1, 2/3)

C&F (3/3, 4/5)1 (1/1, 2/3)1 (1/1, 1/1) (7/8, 8/9)1 (1/1, 2/2)

OP (1/2, 3/4) (5/6, 7/7) (7/8, 8/9) (1/1, 1/1) (7/8, 9/9)

SLS (3/4, 4/5)1 (1/1, 2/3)1 (1/1, 2/2)1 (7/8, 9/9)1 (1/1, 1/1)

Table 25

Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of alternatives (i.t.o. D5c11 ).

BC (1/1, 1/1) (1/3, 3/3) (3/4, 4/5) (1/1, 2/3)1 (3/4, 4/4)

SLC (1/3, 3/3)1 (1/1, 1/1) (1/1, 2/2) (5/6, 6/7)1 (1/1, 1/2)

C&F (3/4, 4/5)1 (1/1, 2/2)1 (1/1, 1/1) (5/6, 7/8)1 (1/1, 2/3)

OP (1/1, 2/3) (5/6, 6/7) (5/6, 7/8) (1/1, 1/1) (5/6, 7/7)

SLS (3/4, 4/4)1 (1/1, 1/2)1 (1/1, 2/3)1 (5/6, 7/7)1 (1/1, 1/1)

Table 26

Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of alternatives (i.t.o. D6c11 ).

BC (1/1, 1/1) (3/4, 5/6) (5/6, 6/6) (1/2, 2/3)1 (3/4, 5/6)

SLC (3/4, 5/6)1 (1/1, 1/1) (1/1, 2/3) (4/5, 6/6)1 (1/1, 1/2)1

C&F (5/6, 6/6)1 (1/1, 2/3)1 (1/1, 1/1) (6/7, 7/8)1 (1/1, 2/3)1

OP (1/2, 2/3) (5/6, 6/6) (6/7, 7/8) (1/1, 1/1) (5/6, 6/6)

SLS (3/4, 5/6)1 (1/1, 1/2) (1/1, 2/3) (7/7, 8/8)1 (1/1, 1/1)

If A is consistent then geometric mean method always produces fuzzy trapezoidal number in the gure of (a/b, g/d) where

equal weights as Saatys lmax method and so, if m = 3 then both 0 a b g d 2 S. Because of their easiness intuition and

methods compute equal weights. For m > 3 results of these two various interpretations in practice, it is easy to construct a fuzzy

methods are close to each other [12]. comparison matrix by fuzzy numbers. But priorities of DM should

Now, we describe how to develop aforementioned method into be represented as a positive reciprocal matrix. A matrix (m m)

fuzzy environment by Buckleys method. Buckley represented a whose entries are ratios a ji a1

i j is called positive reciprocal

A. Azadeh et al. / Applied Soft Computing 10 (2010) 10401061 1051

Table 27

Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of alternatives (i.t.o. D1c12 ).

1

BC (1/1, 1/1) (2/2, 3/4) (3/4, 4/5) (1/2, 2/3) (2/3, 4/4)

SLC (2/2, 3/4)1 (1/1, 1/1) (1/2, 2/3) (4/5, 6/7)1 (1/1, 1/2)

C&F (3/4, 4/5)1 (1/2, 2/3)1 (1/1, 1/1) (5/6, 6/7)1 (1/1, 2/2)1

OP (1/2, 2/3) (4/5, 6/7) (5/6, 6/7) (1/1, 1/1) (4/5, 6/7)

SLS (2/3, 4/4)1 (1/1, 1/2)1 (1/1, 2/2) (4/5, 6/7)1 (1/1, 1/1)

Table 28

Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of alternatives (i.t.o. D2c12 ).

BC (1/1, 1/1) (1/1, 1/2)1 (2/2, 2/3)1 (3/4, 4/5)1 (2/3, 3/4)1

SLC (1/1, 1/2) (1/1, 1/1) (2/2, 2/3)1 (3/4, 4/5)1 (1/2, 3/4)1

C&F (2/2, 2/3) (2/2, 2/3) (1/1, 1/1) (2/2, 3/4)1 (1/1, 1/2)

OP (3/4, 4/5) (3/4, 4/5) (2/2, 3/4) (1/1, 1/1) (2/2, 3/3)

SLS (2/3, 3/4) (1/2, 3/4) (1/1, 1/2)1 (2/2, 3/3)1 (1/1, 1/1)

Table 29

Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of alternatives (i.t.o. D3c12 ).

BC (1/1, 1/1) (1/1, 1/2)1 (1/1, 2/3) (6/7, 8/9)1 (2/2, 2/3)1

SLC (1/1, 1/2) (1/1, 1/1) (2/2, 2/3) (6/7, 7/8)1 (1/2, 3/4)1

C&F (1/1, 2/3)1 (2/2, 2/3)1 (1/1, 1/1) (7/7, 8/9)1 (1/2, 2/3)1

OP (6/7, 8/9) (6/7, 8/9) (7/7, 8/9) (1/1, 1/1) (2/3, 4/5)

SLS (2/2, 2/3) (1/2, 3/4) (1/2, 2/3) (2/3, 4/5)1 (1/1, 1/1)

Table 30

Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of alternatives (i.t.o. D2c13 ).

BC (1/1, 1/1) (1/1, 2/2) (1/2, 2/3) (1/1, 1/2) (1/1, 1/2)

SLC (1/1, 2/2)1 (1/1, 1/1) (1/1, 2/2) (1/1, 2/2) (1/1, 2/2)

C&F (1/2, 2/3)1 (1/1, 2/2)1 (1/1, 1/1) (1/2, 2/3) (1/1, 1/2)1

OP (1/1, 1/2)1 (1/1, 2/2)1 (1/2, 2/3)1 (1/1, 1/1) (1/1, 2/3)1

SLS (1/1, 1/2)1 (1/1, 2/2)1 (1/1, 1/2) (1/1, 2/3) (1/1, 1/1)

Table 31

Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of alternatives (i.t.o. D1c13 ).

BC (1/1, 1/1) (1/2, 2/3) (3/4, 4/5) (1/2, 3/4)1 (2/3, 4/5)

SLC (1/2, 2/3)1 (1/1, 1/1) (1/2, 2/3) (4/4, 5/6)1 (1/2, 3/4)

C&F (3/4, 4/5)1 (1/2, 2/3)1 (1/1, 1/1) (7/8, 8/8)1 (1/1, 1/2)1

OP (1/2, 3/4) (4/4, 5/6) (7/8, 8/8) (1/1, 1/1) (7/8, 8/9)

SLS (2/3, 4/5)1 (1/2, 3/4)1 (1/1, 1/2) (7/8, 8/9)1 (1/1, 1/1)

Table 32

Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of alternatives (i.t.o. D1c21 ).

BC (1/1, 1/1) (1/2, 2/3) (4/5, 5/5) (1/1, 2/3)1 (1/2, 2/3)

SLC (1/2, 2/3)1 (1/1, 1/1) (2/2, 3/4) (2/3, 4/5)1 (1/1, 1/2)

C&F (4/5, 5/5)1 (2/2, 3/4)1 (1/1, 1/1) (4/5, 6/7)1 (2/2, 3/4)1

OP (1/1, 2/3) (2/3, 4/5) (4/5, 6/7) (1/1, 1/1) (2/3, 4/5)

SLS (1/2, 2/3)1 (1/1, 1/2)1 (2/2, 3/4) (2/3, 4/5)1 (1/1, 1/1)

matrix [11]. Therefore DMs can employ all eight types of them priority of element ith to jth is approximately for b = g equal to 1.

to express their judgments easily. Except for real number So, a = b and g = d explain importance between a = b to 1 and g = d

a = b = g = d, and also for a normal shape of trapezoidal number to 1. Importance least a to 1 is explaining a priority number

which has been shown in Fig. 1, other six types of fuzzy hierarchy which is a = b = g. Otherwise a normal form of trapezoidal fuzzy

numbers is shown in Fig. 2. In fuzzy hierarchy analysis, when b = g, number is present as (a/b, g/d) which is explaining importance of b

a triangular shape of fuzzy numbers is formed. It means that to 1 and g to 1.

1052 A. Azadeh et al. / Applied Soft Computing 10 (2010) 10401061

Denition. Let A ai j is a fuzzy positive reciprocal matrix. Now A each row of A ai j , then it is dened as below:

is consistent if and only if aik

ak j
ai j [12]. ri ai;1

ai;2

ai;m 1=m (12)

It means that product of multiplication of aik and ak j is

approximately equal to ai j . If A is not consistent, then fuzzy Also, considering (10), fuzzy weight wi is:

judgments should be reviewed and improved by DM. It should be wi ri

r1 r2 rm 1 (13)

noted that improving the consistency means that ratio estimates in

matrix are closer to being logically related than to being randomly For 0 y 1, fi(y) and gi(y) are dened as left and right sides of

chosen. ai j to determine the membership function of wi where:

2 31/m

Theorem 1. Let A ai j where ai j ai j =bi j ; g i j =di j and let bi j Y

m

j1

2 31/m

In the other words, we can say if bi j ; g i j bik ; g ik bk j ; g k j for Ym

all i,j and k, then A ai j is perfectly consistent. Moreover, g i y 4 g i j di j y di j 5 (15)

if consistency of A be reasonable, its consistency is also acceptable. j1

2 31/m

It means that if product of bik ; g ik :bk j ; g k j also be reasonably Y m

closed to bi j ; g i j , then it is consistent. For example 1=2 2 = 3=5; 1, ai is dened as ai 4 ai j 5 so, a will be obtained by combination

of all ai as below: j1

but since 1/2 is reasonably closed to 3/5, we can conclude that

aik ak j is reasonably close to ai j . Thus A is reasonably consistent X

m

[11]. In the following, Buckleys method has been described as a a ai (16)

i1

FAHP prescription in three steps.

In similar way, bi and b, gi and g, di and d will be dened. Finally,

Step 1: After constructing a hierarchy model of problem, in this X

m X

m

situation, fuzzy comparison matrix should be represented by let f y f i y, gy g i y. So, wi will be obtained as

DM via trapezoidal fuzzy numbers as elements of fuzzy positive i1 i1

priority of element ith to jth, is ai j ai j =bi j ; g i j =di j , then 1 1

wi ai d =bi g 1 ; g i b =di a1 (17)

priority of jth to ith be dened as (11):

1 1

a ji di j =g 1 1

i j ; bi j =ai j (11) And its membership function mwi is:

8 1

>

> 0 if x ai d or x di a1

Whenever elements i and j have equally importance, then >

< 1 1

1 if bi g x g i b

ai j a ji 1; 1; 1; 1. mwi 1 (18)

> 1

ai d x bi g

Step 2: Now, fuzzy weights of comparison matrices should be > y 2 0; 1 if

>

: 1

computed by geometric mean method. If ri is geometric mean of y 2 0; 1 if g i b x di a1

Table 33

Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of alternatives (i.t.o. D2c21 ).

BC (1/1, 1/1) (1/1, 1/2) (1/2, 2/3)1 (1/2, 2/3)1 (1/2, 2/3)

SLC (1/1, 1/2)1 (1/1, 1/1) (1/2, 3/4)1 (2/2, 3/4)1 (1/2, 2/3)

C&F (1/2, 2/3) (1/2, 3/4) (1/1, 1/1) (1/1, 2/3)1 (2/3, 4/4)

OP (1/2, 2/3) (2/2, 3/4) (1/1, 2/3) (1/1, 1/1) (3/4, 4/4)

SLS (1/2, 2/3)1 (1/2, 2/3)1 (2/3, 4/4)1 (3/4, 4/4)1 (1/1, 1/1)

Table 34

Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of alternatives(i.t.o. D3c21 ).

BC (1/1, 1/1) (1/2, 2/3)1 (1/2, 2/3) (4/4, 5/6)1 (3/4, 4/4)1

SLC (1/2, 2/3) (1/1, 1/1) (3/3, 4/4) (2/2, 3/4)1 (1/2, 2/3)1

C&F (1/2, 2/3)1 (3/4, 4/4)1 (1/1, 1/1) (6/7, 8/9)1 (6/6, 7/7)1

OP (4/4, 5/6) (2/2, 3/4) (6/7, 8/9) (1/1, 1/1) (1/1, 2/3)

SLS (3/4, 4/4) (1/2, 2/3) (6/6, 7/7) (1/1, 2/3)1 (1/1, 1/1)

Table 35

Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of alternatives (i.t.o. D4c21 ).

1

BC (1/1, 1/1) (1/2, 3/3) (3/3, 4/5) (2/3, 3/3) (1/2, 3/4)

SLC (1/2, 2/3)1 (1/1, 1/1) (1/1, 2/3) (5/6, 7/7)1 (1/1, 2/3)

C&F (3/4, 4/5)1 (1/1, 2/3)1 (1/1, 1/1) (6/7, 8/8)1 (1/1, 2/2)1

OP (2/2, 3/3) (5/6, 7/7) (6/7, 8/8) (1/1, 1/1) (5/6, 6/7)

SLS (1/2, 3/4)1 (1/1, 2/3)1 (1/1, 2/2) (5/6, 6/7)1 (1/1, 1/1)

A. Azadeh et al. / Applied Soft Computing 10 (2010) 10401061 1053

Considering (18), graph mwi can be drawn from zero to the left 4.2. Proposed approach

1 f i y 1 1

of aid ,x g i y on the interval ai d ; bi g with a horizontal line

The shortcomings of Nicholas technique are due mainly to the

1 1 g i y 1

from bi g ; 1 to g i b ; 1, x f i y

on the interval g i b ; di a1 , lack of a perfect methodology for weighting. In other words his

and zero to the right of di a1 [12]. We strongly remind that / technique is not able to obtain the weight of each mining method

symbol is not division sign. based on inconsistency ratio of assigned scores. So in proposed

Step 3: As before, using combination of obtained weights approach, by replacing Buckleys FAHP with the simple weighting

corresponding to their own path in hierarchy model, a fuzzy system of Nicholas, the mentioned shortcoming has been

nal weight Wi should be calculated considering to (19): eliminated.

Another defect of his technique is a lack of inuential and

X

m

Wi w j ri j (19) important criteria in MMS process. It has been tried to modify and

j1 complete the criteria used in Nicholas technique so that the mining

alternatives be prioritized based on important technicalopera-

w j , ri j is weight of each alternatives and attributes respectively. tional criteria. For this aim the hierarchical model of HTOM has

So, centroid defuzzication method is preferred to represent the been devised. This model is represented in Table 8. HTOM is a

obtained nal fuzzy weights in form of the crisp numbers by completed version of Tables 36 related to Nicholas technique.

Eqs. (20) [52]. HTOM has two main technical and operational criteria. Each one of

R

xmAi xdx these criteria includes three sub-criteria, each of which is

X R (20) subdivided to smaller elements. By using HTOM, DM is able to

mAi xdx

consider the mining methods as hierarchical analysis alternatives

and to compare them with each other in order to prioritize and

4. MMS procedure select the top three alternatives.

After prioritizing the mentioned alternatives, three mining

4.1. A review of MMS technique of Nicholas alternatives which have the most technicaloperational weight

must be considered as the alternatives of the second hierarchical

Nicholas technique is a simple decision making tool which is model of HEM which is constructed based on economical criteria.

only used in order to select the mining method. This technique In HEM, these three mining alternatives are compared to each

enjoys a simple weighting system, so the way of its application is other again and the most protable of them is nally selected as

not complicated. In addition, in order to assign the scores to mining the suitable method from both technicaloperational and eco-

alternatives, it uses a small range of crisp numbers. In this nomical points of view. HEM is divided into three criteria: costs,

technique thirteen mining parameters are taken into account as initial investment rate of return, and incomes. These criteria,

criteria. Each mining method is weighted based on these criteria except for the second one, include sub-criteria. HEM is shown in

each of which having some sub-criteria, so that based on each sub Table 9. Criteria and sub-criteria related to HTOM and HEM are

criterion, scoring is assigned for each mining method. The ultimate considered based on engineering experiences and feasibility

weight of each mining method is obtained by adding those scores. studies carried out for different mining methods in different

In this way, all of the mining methods are prioritized .in this mines. It must be noted that in compensatory MCDM methods

technique the numbers of 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 49 are used in order to such as AHP [37] poor score of a number of criteria can be

weight. Thus the importance of a mining method for a certain compensated by high score in the other criteria. It may be

criterion is indicated by numbers 3 and/or 4. The numbers of 1 and mitigated the effect of poor criteria in total weight of an alternative

2 indicate that the related mining method is probably suitable [28]. So, two separate hierarchical models of HTOM and HEM have

based on related criteria. In the case of number 0, a mining method been constructed. In other words, the two models are considered

is not rejected but it means that the related method is not separately in order to prevent the poor weights of some of the

applicable for that certain criterion. The most weight which may be alternatives in HEM from being compensated by strong weights of

obtained by a mining method is +48. The score of 49 is therefore the same alternatives in HTOM. In this way, after being veried

used in order to reject a mining method which cannot be used for a both technicaloperationally and economically, the optimum

specic condition of resource so that, the method would not have alternative can be ultimately selected.

any chance for being selected [43]. It should be noted that by combining the two models, a trade off

The equality of importance for criteria led to representation of may be occurred between economical and technicaloperational

the modied version of Nicholas technique by him. In his modied criteria.

technique, three groups of weighting factors are used for ore The mining method which is not suitable from a technical

geometry, ore zone, hanging wall and foot wall. There were yet operational viewpoint denitely will not be protable. In other

essential problems with Nicholas technique [44]. These problems words, a mining engineer will not investigate a mining method

will be cleared in Section 5 by resolving a numerical problem. from an economical viewpoint unless he has found it suitable from

In Nicholas technique, mining methods are prioritized. The rst a technicaloperational point of view. For this reason, inspired by

three of them are considered suitable from a technicaloperational Nicholas technique, HEM is considered separately.

viewpoint. Since the applied criteria in Nicholas technique are of

technical type, the outcome of his technique will be mining methods 5. Case study: Western ore body of North anomaly of

which are prioritized based on technical criteria. But it is worth Choghart iron mine

noting that the costs of these methods are different from each other

in practice. After prioritizing, the rst three mining methods must In order to compare the results of the proposed approach with

also be investigated from an economical viewpoint. Finally, the most those of Nicholas technique, and investigate them, Western ore

economical mining method is selected as the most applicable and body of North anomaly of Choghart iron mine for which no mining

protable [44]. As a result unlike the previously introduced method has already been selected, is considered as a case study.

approaches, Nicholas technique is able to introduce just a unique This resource is located in 10 km at North West of Choghart mine in

mining method as the most practical and economical. A summary of central province of Yazd, Iran [30]. The model of this mineral

MMS process using Nicholas technique is represented in Tables 37. resource and its situation related to ground level is shown in Fig. 3.

1054 A. Azadeh et al. / Applied Soft Computing 10 (2010) 10401061

Table 36

Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of alternatives (i.t.o. D1c22 ).

1 1 1

BC (1/1, 1/1) (1/1, 2/3) (5/6, 6/7) (5/6, 6/7) (1/1, 2/3)1

SLC (1/1, 2/3) (1/1, 1/1) (2/3, 4/5)1 (3/4, 5/6)1 (1/1, 2/3)

C&F (5/6, 6/7) (2/3, 4/5) (1/1, 1/1) (1/1, 2/2)1 (2/3, 4/5)

OP (5/6, 6/7) (3/4, 5/6) (1/1, 2/2) (1/1, 1/1) (3/4, 5/6)

SLS (1/1, 2/3) (1/1, 2/3)1 (2/3, 4/5)1 (3/4, 5/6)1 (1/1, 1/1)

Table 37

Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of alternatives (i.t.o. D2c22 ).

BC (1/1, 1/1) (2/3, 3/4)1 (5/6, 6/6)1 (5/6, 6/7)1 (1/1, 2/2)1

SLC (2/3, 3/4) (1/1, 1/1) (1/2, 2/3)1 (2/2, 3/4)1 (1/2, 3/3)

C&F (5/6, 6/6) (1/2, 2/3) (1/1, 1/1) (1/2, 3/3)1 (6/6, 6/7)

OP (5/6, 6/7) (2/2, 3/4) (1/1, 2/3) (1/1, 1/1) (6/6, 7/7)

SLS (1/1, 2/2) (1/2, 3/3)1 (6/6, 6/7)1 (6/6, 7/7)1 (1/1, 1/1)

Table 38

Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of alternatives (i.t.o. D3c22 ).

BC (1/1, 1/1) (1/2, 2/3)1 (5/6, 6//7)1 (3/4, 5/6)1 (2/2, 3/4)1

SLC (1/2, 2/3) (1/1, 1/1) (2/2, 3/4)1 (1/2, 2/2)1 (1/1, 2/2)1

C&F (5/6, 6//7) (2/3, 4/4) (1/1, 1/1) (1/2, 2/3) (2/2, 2/3)

OP (3/4, 5/6) (1/2, 2/2) (1/2, 2/3)1 (1/1, 1/1) (1/1, 2/3)

SLS (2/2, 3/4) (1/1, 2/2) (2/2, 2/3)1 (1/1, 2/3)1 (1/1, 1/1)

Table 39

Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of alternatives (i.t.o. D4c22 ).

BC (1/1, 1/1) (2/2, 3/4)1 (5/6, 6/7)1 (6/6, 6/7)1 (2/3, 4/5)1

SLC (2/2, 3/4) (1/1, 1/1) (1/2, 2/3)1 (2/3, 4/5)1 (1/1, 2/2)

C&F (5/6, 6/7) (1/2, 3/4) (1/1, 1/1) (1/1, 2/3)1 (1/2, 3/3)

OP (6/6, 6/7) (2/3, 4/5) (1/1, 2/3) (1/1, 1/1) (2/3, 4/5)

SLS (1/1, 2/3) (1/1, 2/2)1 (1/2, 3/3)1 (2/3, 4/5)1 (1/1, 1/1)

Table 40

Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of alternatives (i.t.o. D5c22 ).

BC (1/1, 1/1) (1/2, 2/3)1 (3/4, 4/4)1 (5/6, 6/7)1 (1/1, 2/3)1

SLC (1/2, 2/3) (1/1, 1/1) (2/2, 2/3)1 (2/3, 4/5)1 (1/2, 2/3)

C&F (3/4, 4/4) (2/2, 2/3) (1/1, 1/1) (1/1, 2/3)1 (3/4, 4/5)

OP (5/6, 6/7) (2/3, 4/5) (1/1, 2/3) (1/1, 1/1) (3/4, 5/5)

SLS (2/3, 3/4) (1/2, 2/3)1 (3/4, 4/5)1 (3/4, 4/5)1 (1/1, 1/1)

Table 41

Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of alternatives (i.t.o. D6c22 ).

BC (1/1, 1/1) (1/2, 2/3)1 (3/4, 4/4)1 (5/6, 6/7)1 (1/1, 2/3)1

SLC (1/2, 2/3) (1/1, 1/1) (2/2, 2/3)-1 (2/3, 4/5)1 (1/2, 2/3)

C&F (3/4, 4/4) (2/2, 2/3) (1/1, 1/1) (1/1, 2/3)1 (3/4, 4/5)

OP (5/6, 6/7) (2/3, 4/5) (1/1, 2/3) (1/1, 1/1) (3/4, 5/5)

SLS (2/3, 3/4) (1/2, 2/3)1 (3/4, 4/5)1 (3/4, 4/5)1 (1/1, 1/1)

Its other features are represented in Table 10. As shown in Fig. 3, thickness is steady. Its slope varies from 458 to 808. Its thickness also

the resource has three mineralized zones which are nominated by varies from 20 m to 60 m. In this regard, geometrical and also

ore bodies 1, 2 and 3. Many problems resulted from uncertainty and geological characteristics of all mineral resources around the world

ambiguity in geometrical characteristics of all three ore bodies can are nearly similar to each other. Assigning a certain crisp number to

be observed. For example, as shown in Table 10 and Fig. 3, for ore slope, thickness, etc. of a mineral resource is therefore a futile task.

body No. 1, no steady slope can be observed. Neither its slope nor its This indicates the ambiguous and unsteady nature of mineral

A. Azadeh et al. / Applied Soft Computing 10 (2010) 10401061 1055

Table 42

Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of alternatives (i.t.o. D7c22 ).

1 1

BC (1/1, 1/1) (1/1, 2/2) (3/3, 4/5) (1/1, 2/3) (1/1, 2/2)1

SLC (1/1, 2/2) (1/1, 1/1) (3/3, 4/5) (1/1, 2/2)1 (1/1, 1/2)1

C&F (3/3, 4/5)1 (3/3, 4/5)1 (1/1, 1/1) (3/4, 4/5)1 (3/4, 4/4)1

OP (1/1, 2/3) (1/1, 2/2) (3/4, 4/5) (1/1, 1/1) (1/1, 2/2)

SLS (1/1, 2/2) (1/1, 1/2) (3/4, 4/4) (1/1, 2/2)1 (1/1, 1/1)

Table 43

Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of alternatives (i.t.o. D1c23 ).

BC (1/1, 1/1) (1/2, 2/3)1 (5/5, 6/6)1 (1/1, 2/2) (1/2, 2/2)1

SLC (1/2, 2/3) (1/1, 1/1) (3/3, 4/5)1 (1/2, 3/4) (1/1, 1/2)1

C&F (5/5, 6/6) (3/3, 4/5) (1/1, 1/1) (5/6, 6/7) (2/2, 3/4)

OP (1/1, 2/2)1 (1/2, 3/4)1 (5/6, 6/7)1 (1/1, 1/1) (1/2, 3/3)1

SLS (1/2, 2/2) (1/1, 1/2) (2/2, 3/4)1 (1/2, 3/3) (1/1, 1/1)

Table 44

Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of alternatives (i.t.o. D2c23 ).

BC (1/1, 1/1) (1/2, 3/3)1 (4/5, 6/7)1 (5/6, 6/6)1 (1/2, 3/4)1

SLC (1/2, 3/3) (1/1, 1/1) (2/2, 3/4)1 (2/3, 3/4)1 (1/1, 1/2)

C&F (4/5, 6/7) (2/2, 3/4) (1/1, 1/1) (1/1, 2/3)1 (1/2, 2/3)

OP (5/6, 6/6) (2/3, 3/4) (1/1, 2/3) (1/1, 1/1) (2/3, 3/4)

SLS (1/2, 3/4) (1/1, 1/2)1 (1/2, 2/3)1 (2/3, 3/4)1 (1/1, 1/1)

Table 45

Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of alternatives (i.t.o. D3c23 ).

BC (1/1, 1/1) (1/2, 2/2)1 (3/4, 4/5)1 (7/8, 8/8)1 (1/2, 2/2)1

SLC (1/2, 2/2) (1/1, 1/1) (1/2, 2/3)1 (3/4, 4/5)1 (1/1, 1/2)

C&F (3/4, 4/5) (1/2, 2/3) (1/1, 1/1) (1/2, 2/3)1 (1/2, 2/3)

OP (7/8, 8/8) (3/4, 4/5) (1/2, 2/3) (1/1, 1/1) (3/4, 4/5)

SLS (1/2, 2/2) (1/1, 1/2)1 (1/2, 2/3)1 (3/4, 4/5)1 (1/1, 1/1)

Table 46

Final weights of HTOM alternatives in form of fuzzy and crisp values. Three more suitable methods which are attained more weight has been considered for HEM.

Alternatives Final fuzzy weights based a level cut0.5 Crisp results (X*)

on technical and operational

conditions w a < jL < b g < jR < d

BC H (0.04/0.12, 0.37/1.08) 0.08 0.66 0.44

SLC (0.02/0.06, 0.19/0.61) 0.04 0.36 0.24

C&F H (0.02/0.06, 0.22/0.66) 0.04 0.39 0.26

OP H (0.09/0.26, 0.79/2.14) 0.16 1.35 0.88

SLS (0.01/0.05, 0.16/0.48) 0.03 0.29 0.19

Table 47 Table 48

Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of criteria (i.t.o. A). Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of sub-criteria (i.t.o. B1).

B1 (1/1, 1/1) (2/3, 4/5) (1/1, 2/3) C11 (1/1, 1/1) (1/1, 2/3)1 (5/6, 7/8)

B2 (2/3, 4/5)1 (1/1, 1/1) (1/2, 3/4)1 C12 (1/1, 2/3) (1/1, 1/1) (7/8, 9/9)

B3 (1/1, 2/3)1 (1/2, 3/4) (1/1, 1/1) C13 (5/6, 7/8)1 (7/8, 9/9)1 (1/1, 1/1)

resources. It is obvious that it is much more accurate to specify these Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization

characteristics by fuzzy numbers than by crisp numbers. (IMIDRO) which all iron mines in Iran are supported by it. This

Mining companies know the importance of MMS problem to paper also has been carried out by support of IMIDRO Co. to nd

start up the mining operations. They use the approaches which are out a solution to start the mining operations in North anomaly of

introduced to modify the MMS problem, because it would be so Choghart iron mine in Iran. No mining method is applied for this

protable for a mining company if its mining projects be started by anomaly yet, and result of proposed approach in this study is

a perfect MMS procedure. One of them is the Iranian Mines and applicable for IMIDRO Co.

1056 A. Azadeh et al. / Applied Soft Computing 10 (2010) 10401061

Table 49 Table 51

Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of alternatives (i.t.o. B2). Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of alternatives (i.t.o. C12).

1 1

BC (1/1, 1/1) (2/2, 3/4) (7/7, 8/9) BC (1/1, 1/1) (1/2, 2/3) (1/1, 2/2)1

SLC (2/2, 3/4) (1/1, 1/1) (3/3, 4/5)1 C&F (1/2, 2/3)1 (1/1, 1/1) (2/3, 3/4)1

OP (7/7, 8/9) (3/3, 4/5) (1/1, 1/1) OP (1/1, 2/2) (2/3, 3/4) (1/1, 1/1)

Table 50 Table 52

Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of alternatives (i.t.o. C11). Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of alternatives (i.t.o. C13).

1 1

BC (1/1, 1/1) (1/2, 2/3) (1/2, 2/3) BC (1/1, 1/1) (3/4, 4/5) (1/1, 2/2)1

C&F (1/2, 2/3) (1/1, 1/1) (3/4, 4/5) C&F (3/4, 4/5) (1/1, 1/1) (1/2, 2/3)

OP (1/2, 2/3)1 (3/4, 4/5)1 (1/1, 1/1) OP (1/1, 2/2) (1/2, 2/3)1 (1/1, 1/1)

5.1. Resolving the problem by Nicholas technique deffuzication of nal fuzzy weight for BC mining alternative

based on Eq. (20). The nal crisp weights of other mining

As mentioned earlier, in Nicholas technique, a weight is alternatives have been calculated similarly.

assigned to each mining method considering the scores used for R 0:12 x0:04 R 0:37 R 1:08 1:08x

0:04 0:08 xdx 0:12 1xdx 0:37 0:71 xdx

different condition of mineral resources, and by adding up these XTOHM BC

R 0:12 x0:04 R 0:37 R 1:08 1:08x

weights, the ultimate weight of that mining method is obtained. 0:04 0:08 dx 0:32 1dx 0:37 0:71 dx

These scores are shown in Tables 46. For example, the average 0:44

thickness of north anomaly, as shown in Table 10, is 40 m. So, as

shown in Table 4, the score of 2 is allocated to block caving (BC) Graph of nal fuzzy weight for mining alternatives and the bar

mining method. Because the thickness of 40 m is located between graph indicating the amount of inuence of each of the sub-criteria

30 m to 100 m in Table 4 of Nicholas. With this explanation, other on the nal weight of each mining method are shown in Figs. 5 and

mining methods are similarly weighted. The obtained weights are 6 respectively.

summarized in Table 11 for ve different mining methods. Considering Table 46, from a technicaloperational view point,

By adding up the related scores, the ultimate weights of 33, 33, mining alternatives of OP, BC and C&F has obtained the three most

28, 46 and 27 are obtained for mining methods of block caving (BC), weights respectively. Using HEM, these three alternatives must

sub-level caving (SLC), cut and ll (C&F), open pit (OP) and sub- also be compared to each other from an economical view point.

level stoping (SLS), respectively. The results of Nicholas technique For this purpose, as the second hierarchical model, HEM and

indicate that OP is the most suitable mining method for three mentioned mining alternatives are shown in Fig. 7.

exploitation of North anomaly of Choghart mine. Like HTOM, fuzzy comparison matrices of HEM are represented

in Tables 4755.

5.2. Resolving the problem using the proposed approach

5.2.2. Results of HEM

As shown in Figs. 4 and 7, based on the concept of hierarchical Local fuzzy and crisp weights of criteria and mining alternatives

analysis shown in Tables 8 and 9, the hierarchical models of HEM have been calculated like HTOM. The nal fuzzy and crisp weights

and HTOM are constructed for resolving MMS problem in North of mining alternatives are also represented in Table 56. As shown in

anomaly of Choghart. Like Nicholas technique, here ve mining Table 56, OP is found as the most protable mining alternative

methods including BC, SLC, C&F, OP and SLS are considered as which is the most suitable alternative for mining of north anomaly

alternatives of HTOM model, so that three mining methods with of Choghart mine.

the most weight, as the alternatives of HEM model, are further Graph of nal fuzzy weight for mining alternatives and the

investigated economically. inuence of each sub-criteria of HEM on the nal weight of mining

Now, considering HTOM model, the fuzzy comparison matrices alternatives are also shown in Figs. 8 and 9.

must be constructed based on the engineering judgments of DM The process of selecting the most suitable mining method using

and according to Bukleys FAHP method. These judgments are proposed approach is summarized in Fig. 10 schematically. This

represented in the form of fuzzy comparison matrices in Tables gure indicates the introduction of OP for starting mining of North

1245. anomaly of Choghart mine. It is the most suitable mining method,

Using a computer program, the local fuzzy weights of each technicaloperationally as well as economically.

criterion, sub-criterion and mining alternative of HTOM model is

obtained. Their local crisp weights are also obtained using Eq. (20). 5.2.3. Calculation of the inconsistency ratio of fuzzy comparison

matrices

5.2.1. Results of HTOM Consistency ratio of comparison matrices has been checked by

Up to now, the ve mentioned mining methods are prioritized conception of Theorem 1. According to Theorem 1 we know

using HTOM. As the multiplication of trapezoidal fuzzy numbers by bi j ; g i j bik ; g ik :bk j ; g k j .

each other will not equal a trapezoidal fuzzy number, a level-cut of For example, considering Table 14 we have b13 ; g 13

0.5 is used in order to depict the fuzzy nal weight graph. Value b12 ; g 12 b23 ; g 23 ) 6; 7 3; 4 2; 3 ) 6; 7 6; 12 for

corresponding to membership function of 0.5 on the right side and i; j; k 1; 3; 2 respectively. Then, it is perfectly consistent. Another

left side of each trapezoidal graph is shown by jL, jR respectively. example is about Table 49 of HEM where we have

The results of nal fuzzy and crisp weights and also the value of b32 ; g 32 b31 ; g 31 b12 ; g 12 ) 3; 4 7; 8 13;

1

jL, jR for each mining alternatives is represented in Table 46. 2 ) 3; 4 2:33; 4. It is also perfectly consistent for i; j; k 3; 2; 1.

As an example, the way of calculation of nal crisp weight for BC In Table 36, for i; j; k 1; 5; 4, we have 12; 1 4; 5 16; 16 )

mining alternative is as follows. This crisp weight is obtained from 0:5; 1 6 0:66; 0:83 which is not consistent perfectly but it

A. Azadeh et al. / Applied Soft Computing 10 (2010) 10401061 1057

Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of alternatives (i.t.o. C14).

by state M and another part by state T/P. Therefore, DM would

C14 BC C&F OP encounter the dilemma in using one of 2 or 3 values for OP method.

BC (1/1, 1/1) (2/3, 3/4) (1/2, 2/3)1 Another reason indicating the inability of Nicholas technique in

C&F (2/3, 3/4)1 (1/1, 1/1) (5/6, 6/6)1 selecting the suitable mining alternative is that a change in the

OP (1/2, 2/3) (5/6, 6/6) (1/1, 1/1) state of criteria accounts for a huge difference between their

scores. As an example, as shown in Table 3, for C&F mining method,

two values of 4 and 0 are considered as scores assigned to sub-

Table 54 criteria of Intermediate and Thick as parts of thickness

Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of alternatives (i.t.o. C15).

criterion respectively. Considering the footnote of Table 3, if the

C15 BC C&F OP thickness of resource changes from 30 m to 31 m, its score will

BC (1/1, 1/1) (1/2, 2/3) (7/8, 8/8)1 change from the best state of +4 to the worst state of 0. That is, a

C&F (1/2, 2/3)1 (1/1, 1/1) (4/4, 4/5)1 1 m change in thickness, accounts for a big change in score. As a

OP (7/8, 8/8) (4/4, 4/5) (1/1, 1/1) result, not only the problem of putting a border between two sub-

criteria of thick and intermediate exist, but also the assign-

ment of scores to these categories has been carried out incorrectly.

Table 55 In addition, the two sub-criteria of thick and intermediate,

Fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrix of sub-criteria (i.t.o. B3).

share the value of 30. In other words, either scores of 0 or 4 may be

B3 C14 C15 allocated to a resource with a thickness of 30 m. Another point

C14 (1/1, 1/1) (7/8, 9/9) worth mentioning is that in Nicholas technique allocation of

C15 (7/8, 9/9)1 (1/1, 1/1) judgments has been carried out using crisp numbers. These

numbers are not able to indicate the complicated and important

conditions of mineral resources properly. Another important point

is consistent reasonably. More descriptions are available in is that for DM, allocation of his own judgments is not optional.

[11,12,19]. Because in Nicholas technique, these scores are predened and DM

is just able to adapt the scores of the tables of Nicholas to the

5.3. Comparison of the results of Nicholas technique and conditions of the supposed mineral resource. On the other hand,

proposed approach the range of those scores is small and limited. It means that the

difference between favorable and unfavorable scores is little.

Resolving MMS problem by the use of both Nicholas technique Because the scores of 0, 4 are assigned to a resource in the worst

and proposed approach for the same mineral resource makes the and best state respectively. The lack of some of the important and

comparison of these two methods simpler. Although both methods inuential criteria in Nicholas technique would be another reason.

introduce OP as the most suitable alternative, there are many Table 57 indicates the results of resolving MMS problem in North

reasons indicating that Nicholas technique is not able to select the anomaly of Choghart mine by using both of the mentioned method.

most suitable alternative correctly. One of these reasons is the way Since all of the criteria of Nicholas technique are technical

of dening criteria and sub-criteria in Nicholas technique. operational, its results must be compared to those of HTOM. As

Generally, considering the uncertainties of mineral resources shown in Table 57, in Nicholas technique, two alternatives of BC

mentioned before, classication of criteria into two or three and SLC have obtained the same weight of 33. It means that

categories would not be correct. Because geometrical and Nicholas technique cannot prioritize mining alternatives properly.

geological condition of mineral resources is such ambiguous that In addition to aforementioned reasons, the most important reason

it is impossible to categorize them. For example, in Table 3, three of this deciency would be the use of an improper weighting

sub-criteria of M, T/P and I are taken for general shape criterion of system and the lack of determination of a weight for each criterion.

a mineral resource. As described earlier, a mineral resource has Even in the modied version of Nicholas, in spite of using

Table 56

Final fuzzy and crisp weights of three suitable mining method using HEM to select the optimum MMS. OP mining method is introduced as optimum mining method for

western part of north anomaly of Choghart iron mine.

Alternatives Final fuzzy weights based a level cut Crisp results (X*)

on economical conditions w

a < jL < b g < jR < d

BC (0.05/0.15, 0.49/1.36) 0.09 0.86 0.55

C&F (0.05/0.13, 0.43/1.23) 0.08 0.76 0.50

OP H (0.12/0.28, 0.84/1.99) 0.19 1.35 0.85

Table 57

Results Nicholas technique and proposed approach.

Mining methods Final weight Ranking results Mining Final weight Ranking results

methods

TOHM EHM TOHM EHM Total

OP 46 1 OP 0.88 0.85 1 1 1

BC 33 2 BC 0.44 0.55 2 2 2

SLC 33 2 C&F 0.26 0.50 3 3 3

C&F 28 3 SLC 0.24 4

SLS 27 4 SLS 0.19 5

1058 A. Azadeh et al. / Applied Soft Computing 10 (2010) 10401061

It is capable to apply triangular fuzzy

The method is dened for triangular

Its computational procedure is huge

Its computational procedure is high

eliminated. Because all of the criteria assume constant weights

It was not a solution to the linear

while the importance of mining alternatives are different for

various resources. This problem may be investigated another way.

In 1980s, when Nicholas introduced his technique, some of the

mining methods like SLC were not as much prevalent as today.

Therefore the way of scoring in these mining methods in Nicholas

numbers merely

numbers merely

technique were based on the amount of their importance and

fuzzy number

applicability, regarding the conditions of that time. But scoring

Deciencies

should not be dependent on time. It must be usable by DM at any

time. All of these reasons indicate that DM cannot rely on the

results obtained from Nicholas technique. In the proposed

approach, by using FAHP, all of the mentioned problems have

been nearly eliminated, so that it is possible for DM to allocate his

judgments to a mineral resource, considering the conditions of the

time, such as the amount of applicability of mining methods, the

price of mineral materials, etc.

Ease of its extension in fuzzy

6. Discussion

number 9 accurately

All of the resources having an outcrop, or having a negligible

relatively low

amount of overburden, the weight of sub-criteria of depth for some

environment

Advantages

operations

of the mining alternatives increase greatly. OP is one of these

alternatives. The existence of the outcrop on the ground level

suggests a depth of zero for the resources. The importance of this

matter for OP method is that the depth of zero causes a great

decrease in the stripping ratio. As a result, the cost of stripping and

development of the mine for OP alternative will be much less, in

Representation the weight vectors with

the cases of missing data and multiple

Presentation of a method to produce a

unique fuzzy weight and applicable to

comparison to other mining alternatives. This decrease of cost has

a direct inuence on criterion B2 in Table 9. So, the return of initial

signicant factors via pair-wise

It was developed to weight the

Determination of nal score of

alternatives by an appropriate

investment will be much quicker. Without stripping costs, a short

time after its start up, the mine will reach to production and

income. This would have also an inuence on some of the sub-

criteria represented in Table 8. In other words, the depth of zero

attributes weights

leads to an increase of the weight of sub-criteria of D4c22 , D3c21 and

D1c21 . Because of the exceptional conditions posed by the existence

comparison

estimates

criterion

alternative in most criteria and sub-criteria will obtain a greater

Issue

great difference between OP and other mining methods, both

proposed approach and Nicholas technique have introduced OP as

It was a fuzzy version of saatys method

extended by De Gran and Lootsma as

It was proposed based on geometric

using minimization of logarithmic

It was a modifying version of Van

But the shortcoming of Nicholas technique in selecting the most

Use of trapezoidal fuzzy numbers

A brief history of proposed approaches on the FAHP and its principle problems.

Use of triangular fuzzy numbers

suitable alternative will be obvious when the conditions of

mean method of Saatys AHP

mining alternatives. In such a case, the weights of mining

eigenvector of matrices

regression function

rst FAHP method

fuzzy numbers

Characteristics

as discussed in previous chapter, problems such as obtaining equal

weights for two mining alternatives will occur.

7. Conclusions

1983

1985

1989

1994

1996

Year

approach, by the use of AHP and the control of inconsistency ratio

of judgments, weighting process has been modied in comparison

to Nicholas technique and problem such as obtaining equal nal

weights for each alternative has therefore been eliminated. For

Van Laarhoven and

Pedrycz [56]

Buckley [12]

Cheng [16]

Chang [15]

Author(s)

Table 58

not such reliable for the DM. We urge strongly that, due to

Table 58 (Continued )

Cheng [17] 1996 It was proposed based on the grade Representation of new algorithm which It was presented to improve AHP and to Entropy is used when probability

value of membership function using is used the experience of expert to smooth evaluation process distribution is known [13]

triangular fuzzy numbers represent judgmental object.

Aggregate weights is calculated by It is exible, thoughtfulness and The method is based on both

entropy concepts efciency for DMs probability and possibility measures

[13]

It was introduced fuzzy standard which The computational requirement is not

is membership function of judgment tremendous

criteria for all sub items

Xu [61] 2000 It was applied last square priority It was proposed to Estimate the weights The numerical difculties can be It may not be to give vague judgments

method in fuzzy environment of factors from fuzzy judgment avoided in fuzzy matrices because it when comparing the relative

matrices correspond to the classical yields an analytic expression for the signicance of two factors

Last square priority method fuzzy weights

Csutora and Buckley [19] 2001 It was the fuzzication version of Less fuzziness of nal fuzzy weights is It is easy to use computationally Less fuzziness issue is not always

Saatys lmax method the methods issue applicable for all fuzzy weights

Can be handle for any type of fuzzy

numbers

Mikhailov [39] 2003 Fuzzy preference programming Deriving optimum crisp priorities from It does not need to construct reciprocal The mathematical complexity involved

method was developed by proposed fuzzy pair-wise comparison matrices may restrict its practicability [38]

approach

It can be applied for group decision Priorities can be derived from an It automatically guarantees the

making incomplete set of fuzzy judgments satisfaction of fuzzy condition of order

using a-cuts preferences at each level, if the interval

judgments with regards to each a-cut

level are consistent [5,14]

It can employ specic forms of fuzzy

sets and does not require a nal ranking

procedure to compare the fuzzy scores

Wang et al. [59]. 2006 It was modied fuzzy LLSM wich was Elimination drawbacks of conventional It can derive normalized triangular It is proposed to use by triangular fuzzy

proposed by Van Laarhoven and LLSM method of Van Laarhoven and fuzzy weights from complete or numbers

Pedrycz Pedrycz and Boender et al. incomplete comparison matrices.

LLSM was formulated as a constrained It is able to solve the complex MCDM

nonlinear optimization model in their problems

method

1059

1060 A. Azadeh et al. / Applied Soft Computing 10 (2010) 10401061

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