User-friendly, collaboration-enabling, data-devouring modeling tools and functionalities eliminate guesswork and simplify sharing 

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Minesight’s grade control solutions simplify the acquisition of information for cut planning and daily reporting, the company reports. ‘MineSight has comprehensive reserve and modeling utilities that are integrated throughout all of our planning tools,’ Seth Gering, software quality assurance engineer, says. ‘This means that MineSight users can use the same resource estimation methodology and data for all parts of the planning and grade control process without having to manually transfer data between projects.” (Graphic: Hexagon)

In an effort to increase productivity, more miners are turning to orebody modeling software to generate accurate models, maps, plans and forecasts. These systems create 3-D models of orebodies based on drill hole sampling and other data, which can impact every downstream process from planning production to predicting the changes in head grade for the plant.

Many of today’s software and solution offerings provide accurate, dynamic and user-friendly orebody and subsurface mapping. Three of the biggest are discussed below.

Vulcan Integrates and Optimizes

Last April, Maptek released Vulcan Version 10, which featured a number of new tools. Those include the Automated Pit Designer, Data Analyzer, Uniform Conditioning, Maptek Workbench, Interactive Block Planner and Split Pit Solids.

Maptek Vulcan assimilates numerous and vast datasets to create 3-D, animated, custom models, on which virtual operations can be tested. “Data sources include sample data, face mapping, grade models, reserve reports and plans, assay and geological data, drilling (exploration and production), channel and grab samples,” the company reported. “A grade control model is generated in minutes via an automated specification-driven process. The grade control model can be reconciled against the exploration block model to generate accurate tonnage, grade and ounces, accurate reserves reports, profit information.”

Dynamic animations enable simple expression of complex information that can then be conveyed and used across an enterprise, Robert Slade, senior vice president, sales, said. “A picture speaks a thousand words. We can combine all of the relevant data into one 3-D working window … that is not only the data from the drill holes,” he said. It also captures “all of the topography, the current mining faces. You also have enormous amounts of data from other pieces of information: The dump areas, the roads, the accesses. Where was the face on Friday morning? Where is it now?”

Illustrated working reports for use elsewhere in the enterprise can be extracted from the digital mine. Vulcan gives users
“the ability to access the model and hover over any of the drill holes and the data and to visualize and interrogate. The interpretation of the blast is very clear in the colored blocks, which give you the high, low and waste designation,” Slade said. “Using very standard tools, it can give you a reserve report instantly,” which presents the bench polygons “that are sent to the surveyors. The surveyors go out and indicate where those polygons are on the blast. Alternatively, for GPS- and/or Wi-Fi-connected mines, this information can be instantly accessed by equipment operators to guide excavation and material dispatch.”

One of Vulcan’s selling points, Slade said, is the integration of Exploration to Scheduling tools in one user-friendly and powerful interface. “Vulcan’s time-tested and proven exploration database, CAD, triangulation and block modeling toolsets now incorporate productivity and optimization tools like never before. These include the latest implementation of the Stope Optimizer module (Version 3) now incorporating Risk Analysis, plus 6- and 8-point stope shape capability,” he said. “Mine Planning advancements include the latest release of Vulcan’s Gantt Scheduler and Maptek’s Evolution Mine Scheduling suite, incorporating genetic algorithms and distributed cloud processing.” When it comes to the toolset integrated and accessible from the platform, Slade added, “Vulcan has the best in the industry by far.”

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