J2. OR in mining/natural resources

The resources sector presents enormous opportunities for the application of optimisation technology, particularly with the increasing need for sustainable economic development and sound environmental management. The challenges that arise are difficult and lead to large scale complex optimisation models that require innovative computational strategies for their resolution. This session invites the participation of authors working on the methods, the models and the applications of Operations Research in Natural Resources, particularly in the mining, agricultural and environmental areas. Contributions dealing with risk and data analytics are encouraged.

In mining, Australia has world class deposits of most major mineral commodities and is a major world producer of coal and many metals. Australia also has significant reserves and production of oil and gas products. The economic viability of the mining and petroleum industries is highly dependent on efficient practices. Accurate mathematical modelling along with effective optimisation tools provides the opportunity to achieve productivity gains. The broad research categories include: ore blending; mine planning; mine scheduling; materials handling; equipment reliability, maintenance and critical spare parts management; resource/asset management; mine site rehabilitation; production; and a range mine design and logistics problems.

Modelling and optimisation also play a key role in making the agricultural sector sustainable in the long term through: increasing output levels in the most cost-effective way; optimising along the supply-chains; establishment of cost-effective land rehabilitation strategies at farms and catchment levels; the development of decision support tools to assist the farming community to optimise its income by selecting risk reducing strategies. Research in this domain covers the diverse areas of natural and human resource management, environmental monitoring, transport and handling of agricultural products, crop and livestock selection, optimal product quality in sea and air freight delivery, animal production, and location of processing facilities, risk analysis and decision making.