Kinross Gold has collaborated with acQuire on the development of a new mobile data capture solution for its GIM Suite 4.2 release.
The gold miner was looking for a mobile solution for blasthole sampling it can trust and, as a long-time GIM Suite user, it welcomed the opportunity to work with acQuire on this new development, acQuire said.
“It meant Kinross Gold could provide direct feedback on how the acQuire Arena mobile app was enhanced for blasthole sampling for open-pit grade control,” the company said.
For acQuire, meanwhile, the collaboration resulted in an industry-specific solution geared towards the data challenges experienced in every day mining.
A team from Kinross’ Round Mountain open-pit grade control operations, in Nevada, USA, participated in the project. This team consisted of key stakeholders involved in the site’s data systems. The team not only provided input into requirements but also engaged in the beta testing phase of GIM Suite 4.2 and the Arena mobile app to ensure the solution worked for grade control requirements, acQuire said.
Ian Dickie, Senior Geologist at Kinross Gold, said: “Working with acQuire offered a unique chance to provide feedback directly to acQuire developers regarding the design of this application.
“This created an opportunity for Kinross to provide insight into real-world requirements for both the application design and the user experience.”
Steve Mundell, acQuire’s Director of Product, said having a collaborator like Kinross Gold provided guidance from an industry perspective during the product development phase.
“We took their needs into consideration along with all the other knowledge we have gathered around the problem of sampling open-pit blastholes,” he said. “Having a real-life application of the Arena mobile app as part of our testing showed us firsthand what worked well and where we needed to refine the software.”
Challenge: data capture for open-pit grade control
The Kinross Gold team wanted to move to a better way of working when capturing blasthole samples. It currently logs on paper, a method deemed inefficient and prone to error, acQuire said.
The goal was to find a digital solution to speed up the time it takes data logged in the pit to become available to downstream grade control processes like modelling and ore blocking.
To achieve the broader goal, Kinross was interested in several capabilities:
- Ability to work offline because connectivity in the pit is unreliable;
- Reduction of inadvertent errors caused by transcribing handwritten data logs;
- A way to reduce the lag between users logging data in the pit and capturing the data in GIM Suite; and
- Speedier availability of blasthole sampling data for downstream modelling and decision making.
acQuire said: “acQuire’s GIM Suite 4.2 was designed to create a seamless interface for grade control so pit samplers could work faster and more accurately. The Round Mountain project provided a real-world application for beta testing and helped improve the overall user experience in the updated Arena mobile app.”
The collection of blasthole assay data is imperative for grade control modelling and creating ore cuts, according to Dickie. “It is the crux of ore handling procedures.”
He added: “We cannot always rely on network access in the field, so the online/offline data entry creates a more robust mechanism to collect information, which regularly determines the economic viability of an ore block.”
Solution: extend capability to include blasthole sampling
Enhancements to acQuire’s Arena mobile app were instrumental in creating a seamless digital experience in the GIM Suite 4.2 release, according to acQuire.
The following new and improved capabilities were put through their paces by the Kinross Gold project team to ensure suitability in a production environment:
- Working offline in the pit with seamless synchronisation back to the server once network connectivity is established again. This includes the ability to define which specific pits, benches and blast patterns the pit worker would like to take offline with them;
- A map of the blast pattern within the logging interface so the pit worker can see which holes have been logged and select their next hole to log as they walk along the pattern;
- Responsive layouts to optimise the screen for a range of different device types and orientations. This provided the ability for views like a landscape tablet layout, with the blasthole map always displayed; and
- Built-in barcode scanning for entering sample IDs, using the device’s camera to ensure accuracy and speed during data capture.
Results: user-friendly blasthole sampling in open-pit mining
Reviewing and providing feedback on the new Arena mobile app proved to be incredibly useful to the Kinross Gold team to ensure it is fit for the rigours of open-pit mining, acQuire said.
“The interface design has a very user-friendly functionality which allows users to select blastholes quickly and enter sample data efficiently,” Dickie said.
“This creates a smooth workflow in the field, and a more pleasant experience for users. The ability to take data on/offline is very smooth with this new application, which in my opinion strongly mitigates the risk of data loss as well as saves labour, when compared with previous offline data entry processes.”
Mundell added: “It’s exciting to see our product enhancements come to life in a real-life application. Kinross Gold was excellent to work with and provided a lot of thoughtful feedback that helped improve the user experience.
“We’re looking forward to continuing our collaboration with Kinross Gold in future releases of GIM Suite.”