One of the most critical and complicated steps in mine planning is the selection of a suitable layout based on geological, geographical, geotechnical and economical parameters. These parameters influence the choice of different layouts of coal mine workings and normally examined on the basis of experience gained in the coalfields. The wide ranging combinations of geological, geotechnical and mining conditions make the selection of the optimum design and layout for a particular situation a difficult task. Variations in these parameters result in multiple feasible mine layouts; where each layout entails some inherent problems and the optimal layout is the one that offers the lowest problems. These variations in designs result in complex multi-decision situations that cannot be solved by a simple technique. This paper develops a method based on an analytical hierarchy process to select the most viable panel orientation for longwall operation. A back analysis of this technique was conducted at a mine located in central Queensland. The geological and geotechnical aspects of the mine resulted in variations in the recommended panel orientations. Three different mine layouts with variable geological and geotechnical impacts were evaluated and the optimum mine layout was determined. This paper also challenged the viability of the obtained results by performing a consistency check at every critical stage of the project.