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Design and Mine Planning

Principal researchers: Raúl Castro, Javier Vallejos.
Associated researchers: Sindy Lorena Burgos, Alejandro Ehrenfeld, Nelson Espejo, Fabián Manríquez, Gerson Morales, Nelson Morales, Consuelo Moreno, Pierre Nancel-Penard, Andrés Parra, Matías Sepúlveda, Eleonora Widzyk-Capehart.
Postdoctorates: Sergio Palma.
Ph.D students: Rodolfo Cabezas, Rodrigo Estay, Enrique Jélvez, Nicolás Montecino, María Elena Valencia.
M.Sc students: Francisca Arriagada, Marcos Barbosa, Marcos Gaete, Pía Iglesias, Javier Iriarte, Ernesto Labbé, Carlos Lobiano, Walter Loli, Gonzalo Nelis, Diego Olivares, Javier Pérez, Gonzalo Pizarro, Álvaro Riquelme, Badih Rojas, Héctor Toro.


Due to the progressive exhausting of superficial mineral resources, exploitation of deeper ore deposits requires using underground, safe and profitable excavation techniques. Currently, mining companies in Chile, Australia and Canada are developing new projects that will be located at deeper levels than those already in operation. That makes necessary to craft a strategy for knowledge oriented to, on one hand, transform the geologic resource into the best productive offer, tied to the strategic goals outlined by shareholders and business owners. On the other hand, to know the mining processes that form the distinctive feature of massive underground caving methods and the design and extraction technique in selective mining, applied mainly in national medium-sized mining, along with procedures and methodologies that make easy for the mine planner to understand thoroughly the link between the deposits’ geo-metallurgic characterization and the achievement of economic value.


The goal of the Design and Mine Planning group is to create knowledge and transfer it to the industry by developing tools that support mine design and planning. Its knowledge areas and lines of action go from the comprehension of phenomena using modelling, numeric simulation and pilot-trial simulations, trial and validation of those models and developing tools like software and guidelines that support mining decision-making in planning and operation.


  • Setting of guidelines for design and operation in underground mining.
  • Statistical analysis of operational data. Numeric modelling of caving and gravitational flux.
  • Applied geotechniques. Scale modelling of mining processes for design of mining equipment and circulation control.
  • Numeric modelling in rock mechanics.
  • Ventilation.
  • Simulation of discreet elements for mining systems.
  • Optimal sequencing for open pit and underground mining.
  • Modelling and optimization of mining productive processes and of development of computer solutions for testing and setting such processes.
  • Programming of geo-mining-metallurgic production.
  • Valorization of sequencing and production programming under uncertainty.
  • Sensoring.
  • Management and analysis of information systems for mining.

Research lines

  1. Development and integration of information systems and instrumentation for process-modelling and planning of operational agents in mining.
  2. Developing of a mud flow simulator for underground caving mining (MudFlow).
  3. Design of tools for selective underground mining.
  4. Robust, holistic mine planning.


sheet: Mine planning and design

Fact sheet: Laboratory of geomechanics and mine planning