This article presents the use of a multi-criterion Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) method to assess geological and mining condition nuisance in longwall mining operations in selected coal mines in Poland. For this purpose, a methodology has been developed which was used to calculate the operational nuisance indicator (WUe) in relation to the cost of mining coal in individual longwalls. Components of the aggregate operational nuisance indicator include four sub-indicators: the natural hazards indicator (UZN), an indicator describing the seam parameters (UPZ), an indicator describing the technical parameters (UT) and an environmental impact indicator (UŚ). In total, the impact of 28 different criteria, which formed particular components of the nuisance indicators were analysed. In total 471 longwalls in 11 coal mines were analysed, including 277 longwalls that were mined in the period of 2011 to 2016 and 194 longwalls scheduled for exploitation in the years 2017 to 2021. Correlation analysis was used to evaluate the relationships between nuisance and the operating costs of longwalls. The analysis revealed a strong correlation between the level of nuisance and the operating costs of the longwalls under study. The design of the longwall schedule should therefore also take into account the nuisance arising from the geological and mining conditions of the operations. Selective operations management allows for the optimization of costs for mining in underground mines using the longwall system. This knowledge can also be used to reduce the total operating costs of mines as a result of abandoning the mining operations in entire longwalls or portions of longwalls that may be permanently unprofitable. Currently, underground mines do not employ this optimization method, which even more emphasizes the need for popularizing this approach.
Mining ventilation should ensure in the excavations required amount of air on the basis of determined regulations and to mitigate various hazards. These excavations are mainly: longwalls, function chambers and headings. Considering the financial aspect, the costs of air distribution should be as low as possible and due to mentioned above issues the optimal air distribution should be taken into account including the workers safety and minimization of the total output power of main ventilation fans. The optimal air distribution is when the airflow rate in the mining areas and functional chambers are suitable to the existing hazards, and the total output power of the main fans is at a minimal but sufficient rate. Restructuring of mining sector in Poland is usually connected with the connection of different mines. Hence, dependent air streams (dependent air stream flows through a branch which links two intake air streams or two return air streams) exist in ventilation networks of connected mines. The zones of intake air and return air include these air streams. There are also particular air streams in the networks which connect subnetworks of main ventilation fans. They enable to direct return air to specified fans and to obtain different airflows in return zone. The new method of decreasing the costs of ventilation is presented in the article. The method allows to determine the optimal parameters of main ventilation fans (fan pressure and air quantity) and optimal air distribution can be achieved as a result. Then the total output power of the fans is the lowest which makes the reduction of costs of mine ventilation. The new method was applied for selected ventilation network. For positive regulation (by means of the stoppings) the optimal air distribution was achieved when the total output power of the fans was 253.311 kW and for most energy-intensive air distribution it was 409.893 kW. The difference between these cases showed the difference in annual energy consumption which was 1 714 MWh what was related to annual costs of fan work equaled 245 102 Euro. Similar values for negative regulation (by means of auxiliary fans) were: the total output power of the fans 203.359 kW (optimal condition) and 362.405 kW (most energy-intensive condition). The difference of annual energy consumption was 1 742 MWh and annual difference of costs was 249 106 Euro. The differences between optimal airflows considering positive and negative regulations were: the total output power of fans 49.952 kW, annual energy consumption 547 MWh, annual costs 78 217 Euro.
Because of the value of time, investors are interested in obtaining economic benefits rather early and at a highest return. But some investing opportunities, e.g. mineral projects, require from an investor to freeze their capital for several years. In exchange for this, they expect adequate remuneration for waiting, uncertainty and possible opportunities lost. This compensation is reflected in the level of interest rate they demand. Commonly used approach of project evaluation – the discounted cash flow analysis – uses this interest rate to determine present value of future cash flows. Mining investors should worry about project’s cash flows with greater assiduousness – especially about those arising in first years of the project lifetime. Having regard to the mining industry, this technique views a mineral deposit as complete production project where the base sources of uncertainty are future levels of economic-financial and technical parameters. Some of them are more risky than others – this paper tries to split apart and weigh their importance by the example of Polish hard coal projects at the feasibility study. The work has been performed with the sensitivity analysis of the internal rate of return. Calculations were made using the ‘bare bones’ assumption (on all the equity basis, constant money, after tax, flat price and constant operating costs), which creates a good reference and starting point for comparing other investment alternatives and for future investigations. The first part introduces with the discounting issue; in the following sections the paper presents data and methods used for spinning off risk components from the feasibility-stage discount rate and, in the end, some recommendations are presented.