Geostatistical Modeling of Overburden Lithofacies to Optimize Continuous Mining in the Ptolemais Lignite Mines, Greece
Abstract: Lignite production in Greece is implemented mainly by the Public Power Corporation (PPC), with the higher production being in the Lignite Center of Western Macedonia. A continuous surface mining method is used in order to satisfy the high production needs combined with the necessity for selective mining; however, the occasional appearance of hard rock formations in the South Field mine overburdens was critical for the adoption of a discontinuous auxiliary method of rock mass removal, at these places, by explosives and large shovels. Furthermore, to minimize the delay of changing the machinery arrangements when a hard rock formation is met, an a prior knowledge of the spatial distribution of these rock masses would be catalytic. In this work, a plurigaussian simulation model of the overburden geological formations is developed in the South Field mine. This model could be used as a guide to schedule and optimize the overburden removal process. Validation of the model was affected in two ways: by direct comparing estimated to real cross-sections as observed on mine slopes or by correlating PPC’s recorded volumetric results to the average simulated hard rock percentages.
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