Tag Archives: Maptek

Maptek and Minnovare combine expertise to improve underground mining accuracy

Maptek says it and drill and blast technology provider, Minnovare, are delivering streamlined drill and blast solutions to help underground miners optimise their operations.

A project recently completed for an Australia gold miner is a great example of how collaboration between these technology providers can result in better outcomes for mining companies.

Linking Maptek Vulcan™ design and modelling software with Minnovare’s new Production Optimiser system for underground production drilling has streamlined “the connection between design and as-built for more accurate outcomes”, the two companies said.

Ring design data, including images, can now be exported from Vulcan and easily uploaded directly to Minnovare CORE – the Production Optimiser software interface – through scripting provided by Maptek. The Vulcan−Production Optimiser combination helps ensure that drilling follows design. It also reduces the need for re-work, as feedback on accuracy and compliance is available to both the rig operator and the technical engineering team using Vulcan, according to the companies.

Production Optimiser combines advanced rig alignment hardware with drill data capture software, substantially reducing blasthole deviation and average rig setup times, according to Minnovare. “This leads to optimum charge patterns and blasts, with a host of flow-on productivity benefits for an operation, including improved ore recovery, reduced average dilution and a faster stope cycle time,” the company said.

Maptek says it has 40 years’ experience in developing technology and systems that solve daily challenges for global mining companies. “Investment in people, motivated by excellence, innovation and continual improvement, allows delivery of systems that help integrate and streamline mining processes into a single source of technical data to inform decision making,” Maptek said. This includes the scripting that bridged the gap between Vulcan and Production Optimiser.

Minnovare developed the Production Optimiser, which was released in June 2018, in close collaboration with leading Australian gold miners, Gold Fields and Evolution Mining. Since its release the new technology has been taken up rapidly within industry, with leaders such as Northern Star Resources signing an official Collaboration Agreement with Minnovare in August 2018. This has seen the gold miner use it in both Western Australia and, more recently, in Alaska at its Pogo operation.

Analysis that Minnovare has conducted of in-hole survey data proves that circumstances prior to drilling account for up to 70% of blasthole deviation, the company said. This was contrary to the prevailing industry perception that in-hole deviation was the primary contributor.

Maptek, PETRA Data Science combine mine schedule optimisation and digital twin expertise

In what is claimed to be an industry first, Maptek and PETRA Data Science have established a partnership to enable “seamless value chain optimisation and simulation” from resource models through to metal produced.

This development will allow mining companies, for the first time, to use millions of tonnes of their historical performance and resource metadata for dynamic optimisation, according to the two companies.

PETRA Managing Director, Penny Stewart (pictured, left), said: “I see Maptek as the go-to company for spatial data in mining. Whether you are looking at their 3D virtual environments for geological modelling and mine optimisation, or long-range laser scanners for 3D mapping and monitoring, every aspect is custom built for mining. Any true digital twin in mining needs to consider geology.”

She continued: “Our partnership with Maptek provides PETRA with easy access to upstream geological data for value chain optimisation, and enables Maptek to extend schedule optimisation downstream of the mine. For the first time, miners will be able to play forward the mine schedule into the processing plant.”

Stewart recently visited the Maptek R&D facility in Adelaide, South Australia, where she listened as the Manufacturing Manager explained how in response to customer requests, they have shed 4 kg off the weight of their scanners, she said.

“The custom-built innovations incorporating aerospace technology and military grade specs are really impressive. I mention this example because it illustrates Maptek’s laser focus on their mining customers, and this is strongly aligned with PETRA’s reason for being.”

She concluded: “As a mining engineer, I know that Maptek’s reputation for maintaining substantial investment in software and hardware for spatial data is second to none. I feel honoured that Maptek has chosen to partner with PETRA, and the whole PETRA team is excited by what this partnership will achieve for the mining industry!”

The integrated technology offerings of PETRA and Maptek cover solutions from geological modelling to plant and process optimisation and simulation. The partnership combines deep domain expertise from across the whole value chain and, together, PETRA and Maptek offer the industry a practical alternative to the common practice of siloed optimisation, according to the two companies.

Under the partnership, Maptek Evolution mine schedule optimisation will be dynamically linked to PETRA’s latest digital twin performance models including; metal produced, grade, quality, recovery and throughput. “Dynamic mine scheduling is made possible by bringing together Maptek optimisation engines and PETRA’s prediction and simulation algorithms,” they said.

The agreement will see Maptek BlastLogic blast design optimisation also benefit from dynamic links to PETRA digital twin models for loading, crushing and grinding. In addition, PETRA MAXTA digital twin blast design simulation will benefit from connection to BlastLogic historical drill and blast design data.

Stewart will continue to drive the growth and development of PETRA solutions, with Maptek Managing Director, Peter Johnson (pictured, right), appointed to the PETRA Advisory Board. “PETRA will continue to operate a platform-agnostic business model, with investment funds channelled into further development of PETRA’s open format integrations, including APIs and architecture,” the companies said.

Peter Johnson said Maptek’s goal to enable customers to realise greater value from the available mine data requires consideration of a context far beyond the orebody model and mine plan.

“We need to empower our customers to relate the performance and characteristics of processes and equipment far downstream from geology or planning assumptions and understand the relationships better,” he said.

“PETRA has a proven capability to create prediction and optimisation algorithms for miners through the innovative application of their data science expertise and experience in the real world,” he added.

He concluded: “Our investment and ongoing partnership is all about building business improvement into the mining cycle by leveraging the technology of both companies.”

PETRA’s algorithms are deployed by mining companies around the world, while its MAXTA digital twins for value chain optimisation ingest 10s of millions of tonnes of ore data to predict and simulate plant performance using machine learning. The latter have been successfully used for geometallurgical prediction, drill and blast simulation, and process control simulation and optimisation.

The company recently applied its big data and AI capabilities to an iron ore mine in Western Australia, which, according to PETRA Technical Director, Zeljka Pokrajcic, was able to demonstrate the link between the mineral resource and comminution.

APCOM 2019 to showcase mining’s digital transformation developments

The preliminary technical programme for the APCOM 2019 conference in Wroclaw, Poland, (June 4-6) has gone live, showing off some of the highest quality peer-reviewed papers on ‘digital transformation’ in mining, from resource estimation to mine operation and safety.

The conference topics include:

Geostatistics and resource estimation

APCOM said: “An entire three-day conference stream provides more than 20 leading- edge and peer-reviewed papers by world-class practitioners from leading mining companies and by world-leading research institutes.”

Papers on this topic include: Transforming Exploration Data Through Machine Learning from MICROMINE’s Mark Gabbitus, Rock mass characterisation using MWD data and photogrammetry from Luleå University of Technology’s Sohail Manzoor, and Rethinking Fleet & Personnel Management in the era of IoT, Big Data, Gamification, and low-cost Tablet Technology from MST Global’s Sean Dessureault.

Mine planning

There will be about 15 papers on newest IT-supported techniques in mine planning, uncertainty reduction, geomechanics, modelling, simulation and the most recent software technology, according to APCOM.

Papers on this topic include: A procedure to generate optimised ramp designs using mathematical programming from Delphos Mine Planning Lab, AMTC/DIMIN, Universidad de Chile’s Nelson Morales, Incorporation of geological risk into underground mine planning from NEXA Resources’ Rafael Rosado and a presentation from AngloGold Ashanti’s Andrade Barbosa titled, Economic Optimisation of Rib Pillars Placement in Underground Mines.

Scheduling and dispatch

“Around 15 papers address long- and short-term scheduling optimisation, the application of neural networks and genetic algorithms as well as risk mitigation and related software systems. A keynote talk covers the impact of Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data and gamification on fleet scheduling topics,” APCOM said.

The conference has attracted speakers on this subject from Clausthal University of Technology, AngloGold Ashanti, University of Alberta, AusGEMCO Pty Ltd, Newmont Mining Corp, Advanced Mining Technology Center and Maptek.

Mine operation in digital transformation

There are more than 20 papers in this stream covering mining equipment related topics in the area of LHD transport, drilling and longwall operation, as well as underground communications and new digital technologies in mine safety, as well as product quality optimisation.

Speakers from the Kola Science Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Breakline and breakdown surfaces modelling in the design of large-scale blasts), Komatsu Mining (The Digital Mine eco-system), Tunnel Radio (Hybrid 5G Fibre Optic/Leaky Feeder Communication System) and Epiroc (Monitoring of a stoping operation, digital transformation in practice) are set to present papers

Emerging technologies and robotics in mining

Under this topic, there are a number of sessions with almost 10 papers covering the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in mining, the benefits of upcoming technology in robotics, mechatronics and communications, as well as the changes in machine design through digital transformation, APCOM said. Also a completely new transport system is presented in this stream.

Papers in this stream include: More Safety in Underground Mining with IoT and Autonomous Robots (TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Institute of Mining and Special Civil Engineering), Application of UAV imaging and photogrammetry for high-resolution modelling of open pit geometry and slope stability monitoring (Department of Mining and Metallurgical Engineering, University of Nevada, Reno) and The concept of walking robot for mining industry (Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Wroclaw University of Science and Technology).

Synergies from other industries

A plenary speech from an active airline captain will lead this session, talking about the impact of human-machine interfaces on decision-making of automated equipment and in control centres, APCOM said. Other papers will be on the transferability of building information modelling from commercial construction to mining.

A paper from MT-Silesia Sp zoo called: From machine construction to mechatronic system design: Digital Transformation is changing the way of thinking! is included. There are also talks from MobileTronics GmbH’s George Biro on, Rethinking mining transport: Trackless trains for mass transport in mining and KGHM Polska Miedeź’s Mariusz Sangórski presenting, Energy Management System Maturity Model – Systematic Approach to Gain Knowledge about Organization’s Real Engagement in Energy Efficiency Area.

The conference takes place at the convention centre of the Wroclaw University of Technology and is accompanied by an exhibition, APCOM said. A social programme, conference dinner with entertainment and partner activities are available as well as field trips on June 7.

“A post-conference hike in the Karkonosze Mountains is offered from June 8-10, with overnight stays in two microbreweries on the ridge, is a relaxing finish to the technical discussions of the week,” APCOM said.

All presentations are to be held in English. Simultaneous translation to Polish is provided if requested by a sufficient number of participants.

International Mining is a media partner for APCOM 2019.

Maptek equips Sentry stability monitoring system for the cold

Software, hardware and services provider, Maptek, has released a cold climate model of its award-winning mobile Sentry system for stability monitoring, as it looks to expand its market reach even further.

Sentry is a mobile remote monitoring system that uses laser scanning to continuously measure ground movement with extremely fine spatial resolution and accuracy, according to Maptek. Housed in a self-contained unit with autonomous power and communications capabilities, Sentry relies on software to monitor, analyse and report in real-time.

The newcomer to the Maptek technology portfolio answers the imperative for continuous, reliable measurements of ground movement no matter the environment, Maptek said.

Maptek Product Manager, James Howarth, said: “Risk management remains a priority. If anything, the reliable operation of technical equipment is even more critical in extreme conditions.

“Climate factors play an important role in the execution of any mining project. Extremely low temperature conditions require considerable planning and logistics, especially from an operator safety perspective.”

The Sentry system can operate continuously from -20°C to +50°C, with operation for a limited time in temperatures below -20°C. It requires an XR3 cold climate laser scanner, which has been redesigned and tested to operate at these low temperatures, Maptek said. A removable neoprene jacket for the scanner provides extra protection against wind chill.

Maptek redesigned all the major components in the standard temperature Sentry mobile system, with significant changes to achieve the required cold climate specifications, it said.

The company said: “In deep cold weather, the charge acceptance of batteries is very low. Keeping batteries warm maximises power output and ability to accept a charge. The battery pack and housing in the Sentry system has been redesigned and insulated to keep the unit at a stable operating temperature. Other built-ins such as generator, hydraulics and electrical systems were adapted to maintain energy efficient, cost-effective operation.”

Howarth added: “What hasn’t changed is the proven capability to monitor multiple areas. Customers enthuse on how easy Sentry is to set up and use. Data is displayed intuitively, ready for immediate application in risk management programs.”

The 3D point cloud data that has been collected while monitoring can be used for geotechnical analysis and other applications. The Maptek laser scanner can also be redeployed from the monitoring for routine survey tasks.

Paradigm Shifters qualify for round two of Canada’s Crush It! Challenge

A group of companies called ‘The Paradigm Shifters’ has made it to the next round of a challenge aimed at reducing the amount of energy that crushers and grinders use in the mining process.

The Crush It! Challenge is spearheaded by the federal government (Impact Canada), in cooperation with Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI), and Goldcorp.

Crushing and grinding account for upwards of 50% of mine site energy consumption and up to 3% of all the electric power generated in the world.

iRing Inc is the lead partner within The Paradigm Shifters and has coordinated the effort with proposal partners to respond to the challenge, it said.

The company explained: “Essentially the team proposes to bring together the processes and technology that could reduce or even eliminate the need for expensive primary crushers, and reduce the energy required by secondary crushing (potentially eliminating it as well) and grinders in both mines and quarries globally.”

The Crush It! Challenge has several qualifying rounds and, if successful in getting to Round 3, then the team will be eligible to receive C$800,000 ($605,397) in seed funding to further prove the concept over a one-and-a-half-year period. At the end of that period, if the team wins the chance to move forward, the project would be eligible to receive an additional C$5 million in funding to commercialise the products and concepts.

The Paradigm Shifters team consists of:

  • iRing Inc (North Bay) Challenge Project Lead – Drill and blasting software;
  • Nexco Inc (North Bay) – Producer of the energy-variable explosive product;
  • Boart Longyear (North Bay and global) – Global supplier of market leading drilling products and services;
  • Paige Engineering Ltd (PEL) (North Bay) – Design and fabrication of explosive manufacturing and loading equipment;
  • Seneca (Montreal) – Explosive plant engineering, design and build;
  • Maptek (Denver and Global) – 3D laser scanner/fragmentation measurement capabilities, and;
  • Bomon Capital (Toronto) – Long term financing should the team succeed.

The savings that could accrue to mines and quarries annually is C$12.8 billion (25% reduction) to C$25.6 billion (50% reduction), according to iRing.

“If all mines in the world adopted this solution, it would represent a reduction equivalent to 7-13% of all the carbon released in Canada, and 20-41% of Canada’s contribution to meeting the Paris Accord agreement.”

iRing will use its software, Aegis, to design the blasting patterns based on the fragmentation requirements. Boart Longyear will deploy recently developed high speed diamond drilling technologies and instrumentation solutions to quickly and accurately drill and validate high-quality blast holes, while using significantly less energy. iRing said: “Boart Longyear’s drills utilise drilling data logging to interpret rock density and strength etc, while drilling.”

The company continued: “With Seneca’s help, Nexco will build a demonstration plant that will produce an energy-variable explosive mixture that can be fuelled while being loaded into the blastholes, and the blast energy would be based on the ore strength information provided by Boart Longyear’s drills and iRing’s software.”

Troy Williams, Vice President of Development of iRing, said: “The challenge will provide a once-in-a-life-time opportunity to reach the mining industry and demonstrate that it is possible to produce consistent results from the blasting operations.”

PEL will design and fabricate the explosive manufacturing and loading equipment required to change the explosive’s energy during loading, according to iRing. Energy reduction is done by adding additional water content into the explosive formulation during loading. Maptek’s laser scanner, meanwhile, will be used to verify fragmentation results by scanning the muck pile and producing a 3D point cloud which can be analysed for a measured fragmentation distribution. Those results will be used by Aegis to further calibrate the fragmentation models.

Mark Sherry, President of iRing, said: “We are really excited by this opportunity as it is directly in iRing’s wheelhouse. The Paradigm Shifters bring together the best in the industry when it comes to drilling and blasting. By working together, we will create a paradigm that is more efficient, effective, cleaner, and safer”.

Maptek to acquire 100% of Minlog to permanently bridge mine planning/production gap

Mine planning software specialist Maptek has agreed to step up its investment in Minlog and its Production Management Information Systems technology, with the aim of acquiring 100% of the company over the next 18 months.

Maptek said the deal builds on a longstanding partnership between the two companies to bridge the gap between mine planning and mine production.

Maptek has been involved in a partnership with MinLog and its production management and management information systems technology since 2008. When the tie-up was announced in November of that year, Maptek said it “will provide a greater global marketing, delivery and support capability as well as deliver enhanced product functionality to global customers in the short and long term”.

Prior to this, the two companies already had a relationship whereby MinLog acted as distributor of Maptek’s MineSuite product in Africa.

Minlog says it develops, deploys and supports mining processes with intuitive, meaningful information that helps operations manage product flow and performance. It does this through production management solutions, including fleet management and management information systems.

Maptek said: “This latest investment will see Maptek increase its ownership of the business and the products to 100% over the next 18 months. Production Management data is considered a key component in delivering on Maptek’s commitment to add significant value to the data available to mining companies.”

Commenting on the investment, Maptek MD Peter Johnson said: “There is a huge gain in performance and efficiency to be had by combining the data models used in Mine Planning with the systems and processes applied in Mine Operations.

“The orebody knowledge and characteristics have an impact on mine performance well after the planning stages are complete, but there has been little ability to refer to and make decisions with the benefit of that orebody knowledge in a tactical, operational decision support capacity in a mine production environment.”

Under the new arrangement, MinLog will continue to operate, with current management and staff “remaining committed to delivering the world’s best Production Management systems”, Maptek said.

MinLog MD Karel Gilliland said: “MinLog leverages flexible service bus integration and a cloud- or server-hosted data lake containing a validated and contextualised digital record of all equipment and mining fleet being tracked. This enables us to deliver a powerful range of production management functionality across the whole supply chain in a mine.”

He added: “In addition, MinLog develops advanced DSF technology, allowing near real-time data acquisition from fixed and mobile equipment underground for reliable, cost effective and flexible deployment.”

Maptek to boost operational productivity and efficiency with Vulcan 11

Maptek is going after productivity and efficiency gains with the latest version of its Vulcan 3D geological modelling, mine design and production planning solution.

Among the new functions in Vulcan 11 is improved flexibility in ramp design when creating highwall templates, enhancements to Open Pit Solids and Mining Block Generation, an automated panel caving design process for creating 3D CAD level production and sink level mining designs, and a smoother Workflow Editor in the Maptek Workbench.

Announcing the Vulcan 11 global release today, Maptek Managing Director Peter Johnson said the company had made its mark with practical, intuitive solutions around aspects of technology important to mining stakeholders.

“We’ve racked up 37 years of feature-packed Vulcan releases and we’re not stopping anytime soon,” he said.

“Alongside new functionality, we have built exceptional visualisation tools to help users analyse their data. The insights gained translate into better business decisions,” he added.

Enhancements delivered in Vulcan 11 add to an existing suite of design and modelling tools.

“Take geostatistics as a good example of a specialist application where Maptek leads the field. A comprehensive range of statistical approaches helps streamline comparison of multiple scenarios. Impressive data visualisation enhances understanding of the data and refines interpretations,” Maptek said.

New functionality in Vulcan Data Analyser and the introduction of Kriging Neighbourhood Analysis (KNA) in the grade estimation workflow is what customers want in a dedicated geostatistics application, according to Maptek. KNA is fast and intuitive to set up and run, and the optimised KNA settings can be fed directly into a grade estimation run.

Mine planning updates in Vulcan 11 focus heavily on greater efficiency in reserving and preparing data for scheduling. Engineers can take advantage of improved flexibility in ramp design when creating highwall templates, including the ability to incorporate multiple ramps.

Open Pit Solids and Mining Block Generation enhancements tighten the connectivity between mine planning and scheduling. The workflow-based approach for strip mines ensures “reliable output applicable to all Maptek mine planning and scheduling solutions”, the company said.

Mining block generation employs a simple, repeatable process, while maintaining flexibility for easy updating when running calculations. Users can select any accumulation variable, such as in situ metals or volume, to apply as a target. Dynamic adjustment of blocks allows solid and attribute modification on the go.

“Smarter tools that perform faster are the most effective way to increase efficiency. Customers are experiencing dramatic improvements in outcomes due to increased speed for resolving samples in grade control and the ability to use Perl and Python scripts in grade estimation,” Maptek said.

Grade Control Optimiser, released in 2017, is helping operations to realise the true value of their deposits, according to Maptek. The latest update includes improvements to the core optimisation engine, which guarantees locally optimal results.

Vulcan 11 introduces an automated panel caving design process for creating 3D CAD level production and sink level mining designs. The option takes into account geometric, technical and operational parameters.

Speed of design and generation of alternative scenarios for evaluation are features of the new tool that also feeds into the strategic Maptek Cavelogic application.

Maptek said: “Vulcan users (all 19,000), who have had access to the Maptek Workbench for more than 12 months, will experience a smoother Workflow Editor. Improvements include linking Vulcan and Workbench menus with explorer data to easily run automations in context, drag-and-drop nodes representing each component, and the ability to save customised components to build new workflows. A new search option helps find all menu options relating to a specific term.”

Johnson said: “We see Maptek Workbench enhancing the user experience. The idea of running the latest versions of multiple Maptek applications in a coordinated manner is very attractive to customers. It supports their need to unify software platforms for managing technical data.

“Maptek already provides mining specific software; what we’re doing now will allow our customers to join different Maptek applications into powerful solutions that improve their business overall. This ranges from sharing data and dynamic viewing through to workflows across applications.”

Vulcan 11 and the Maptek Workbench will be rolled out to global customers this week.

Maptek’s Eureka 5 and Workbench get an upgrade

Mining software, hardware and services provider Maptek says updates to its Eureka 5 and Workbench platforms will deliver enhanced modelling, correlation and mapping tools for users.

Maptek Vulcan and Eureka users have been operating on the Maptek Workbench for just over a year.

This has seen tool bars, menus, command lists and shortcut keys created to suit work patterns, while providing universal access to text and spreadsheet editors. The database and scripting tools make working with exploration and project data a “better overall software experience”, according to the company.

Maptek said sharing the Workbench environment with Vulcan, and other applications coming in 2018-19, opens up integrated drill hole modelling and visualisation, tied and tiled views and cross-product workflows.

This sees drill hole data changed in one application shared and reflected in other applications.

The function-based approach to implicit modelling Maptek has taken means Eureka allows a wide range of input data types including triangulations, attributed points, direct drill hole intercepts and line-based ribbons.

“Multiple orientation ellipses can be used simultaneously to control models in structurally complex situations for enhanced orebody interpretation. This is ideal for elongate and variably sampled modelling, as well as modelling veins as hanging walls and footwalls,” Maptek said.

A different methodology is tailored to modelling thin, steeply dipping vein-type deposits, whereby the hanging and footwall models are created as “Radial Basis” function surfaces rather than solids.

With Eureka 5, users can create implicit surfaces from categorical attributes on point data, for example, modelling rock codes. Multiple rock code attributes can then be modelled as a single surface.

“Selecting values to model string attributes on drill holes or attributed points is simply done via displayed attribute legends. Colouring is automatically carried across to matching surfaces,” Maptek said. A multi-threading option further improves performance.

Meanwhile, a single streamlined option allows users to create dynamic global or local maps using the Mapbox service, including automatic selection of appropriate coordinate systems and zooming in on selected objects.

Automatic seam labelling from downhole data makes it easier to assign seam names to coal units, while a slider bar controls the number of seams generated. The tool now works on selected edges of the drill hole to allow label refinement.

“Eureka allows spatially located data to be put into context to better understand the inter-connecting relationships between disparate information. The latest tools enhance viewing and correlation of the data as well as in-depth analysis of areas of interest,” Maptek said.