In this paper, mining dynamics is defined as the relationship between the mining rate and movement of mining operations conducted on the benches of a surface mine. This relationship describes the intensity of the pit development in space, in order to meet ore demand at the mill over time. Meeting the mill ore demand is a key factor in optimizing production scheduling in surface mines. Displacement velocity of mining operations within cutbacks, or independent pit units, is introduced in the context of long-term mine planning. Displacement velocity allows the place and time of transition of the mining operations from one independent pit unit to another to be determined as the condition for meeting the mill ore demand. An application using data from Mt Keith Nickel Operations in Western Australia is used to elaborate on the methods presented.