Tag Archives: Micromine

MICROMINE deepens mine scheduling expertise with Precision Mining addition

MICROMINE says it has taken its first step on the acquisition trail, signing a deal to purchase Queensland, Australia-based technology company Precision Mining.

The arrangement will give MICROMINE full ownership of Precision Mining, which is best known for its flagship mine scheduling software, Spry.

The acquisition is the first in almost two decades for MICROMINE, which celebrates its 35th anniversary this year.

Spry expands and deepens the mine scheduling segment in the company’s software suite. Spry provides a dig scheduling, dump scheduling and mine haulage software environment that gives complete results in a fraction of the time, according to Precision Mining.

MICROMINE’s current offering covers the entire mining cycle from exploration to production control, with its products currently used at 2,000 sites in 90 countries.

MICROMINE CEO, Andrew Birch, who took the reins at MICROMINE in 2019 after private equity firm Potentia Capital acquired a majority stake, said Spry would continue to operate as a standalone brand but would also be closely integrated with the MICROMINE suite.

“Precision Mining really stood out, not just for the quality of its software but also for the team’s experience and reputation as consultants in mine scheduling and haulage,” Birch said. “We looked worldwide for a company that was best in class and had the potential to scale globally. Finding an Australian company like Precision that is building innovative technology solutions suitable for the global mining market made the acquisition really attractive.”

Birch said MICROMINE’s focus for the past two years has been on accelerating organic growth and ensuring its product, distribution and customer service are “on point” and the company’s product roadmaps and vision are pushing into the next generation of both technology and mining.

“We are now expanding our reach and depth of expertise in a market we know well,” he said. “This is a very synergistic addition to our business and an important part of our growth strategy.”

The Precision Mining team, led by founders Glen Barnes, Craig Morgan and Zim Chan, will continue working in the business, bringing specialist scheduling and mine production expertise to the MICROMINE stable, according to MICROMINE.

Barnes said: “Joining MICROMINE will give us the experience, resources and global distribution network that are critical and together we will grow the business. The company has been growing quickly since 2007, and we reached the point where we need the expertise and support of a global business like MICROMINE to take it to the next level.”

Global software summit explores the future of mining innovation

MICROMINE is set to showcase its next generation of mining and exploration software at a global technology summit on November 17, 2020.

More than 25 speakers will feature in the three-hour online event, available in separate languages and timezones for audiences in Australia/Asia, Europe/Africa, North & South America, Russia & Central Asia.

2020 Unpacked will showcase the next generation of mining and exploration software as MICROMINE unveils the latest versions of its integrated suite – Micromine 2021, Pitram 5 and Geobank 2021. IM got a sneak peek of Micromine 2021 and Pitram 5 during a conversation with Adam Brew, MICROMINE Australia Manager, last month ahead of the Diggers & Dealers Mining Forum in Kalgoorlie.

MICROMINE CEO, Andrew Birch, recently commented: “Rapidly changing markets, evolving geopolitical dynamics and the COVID-19 pandemic had created unprecedented challenges for mining companies, driving a thirst for evidence-based innovation.

“Technology is evolving at warp speed, and the pressure is on us to ensure our users have quick access to the best tools available.”

Launching the latest products comes after an in-depth Beta testing program that saw almost 150 testers globally trial the new software, MICROMINE says.

“Attendees will see the new features our teams have been working on over the past six months and share the digital transformation experience with exploration and mining clients from around the world who are partnering with MICROMINE to improve efficiency and profitability,” Birch said.

“Access to new and innovative data modelling and analytics is essential in helping the industry advance the safety and efficiency of its processes, reduce costs, and meet increasing social and environmental standards.”

Delegates will be treated to a free one month licence of the latest release of the award winning modelling software, Micromine 2021, which is currently used on 2,000 sites in more than 90 countries around the world, the company said

Technical product managers will run interactive group demonstrations, while additional feature workshops and one-on-one sessions (by appointment) will be available for MICROMINE clients after the event.

Registration is free at www.micromine.com/2020unpacked

MICROMINE makes a software splash at Diggers & Dealers

With Western Australia one of MICROMINE’s key markets for its Micromine and Pitram products, it is hardly surprising the software leader chose this week’s Diggers & Dealers Mining Forum in Kalgoorlie to reveal a host of new updates for the 3D modelling and mine design/mine production and fleet tracking solutions.

Across the company’s product suite, MICROMINE has been readily engaging with customers throughout the world, with users providing feedback to form its product roadmaps.

One of the results of this consultation process is a move to a six-monthly release cycle to enable its software to grow and adapt with clients’ operations.

Another is providing networking options to expand usage of its software across a wider number of users – the free Micromine Effects reader enabling anyone to view, share and interrogate Micromine output files without needing access to a full software licence.

“We’ve also introduced subscription offerings which our customers have quickly adopted because they provide a flexible and scalable option for large teams to access more functionality across our product suite, with less upfront cost compared to the traditional perpetual model,” Adam Brew, MICROMINE Australia Manager, told IM.

Shifting any capex item to the opex column is bound to go down well with the mining community, as MICROMINE has shown.

Having occurred in August 2019, the move led to almost nine months straight of subscription-only sales, according to Brew. “It surpassed our expectations,” he said. “The ability to have a subscription model allowed us to then launch the Free April campaign.”

The “Free April” campaign – which saw MICROMINE offer miners complimentary access to its general mining Micromine package during April as COVID-19 started to bite – led to around 4,000 new people interacting with the software, according to Brew.

MICROMINE has been busy on updates during the pandemic, but it has also delivered its first fully remote implementation of Pitram at a mine operation in Greece, leveraging the experience from its global Pitram support desk to fully deploy a Pitram FMS and Material Management solution.

This Greek project is well advanced with Pitram playing a crucial role in a major refurbishment and expansion of existing operations. The solution at the mine is aimed at helping improve development and production mining cycles; accurately track materials from source to processing; provide Online Analytical Processing reporting and analysis; enhance reactions to, and minimise the impact of, unplanned events; and increase equipment availability and utilisation.

Yet, those attending the MICROMINE booth at Diggers & Dealers this week will have even more to talk about.

Something new

“Micromine 2021 is scheduled for release later this year and attendees of Diggers and Dealers will be the first to get a pre-release reveal of our flagship software offering,” Brew said.

Australia, in particular, has bucked global trends in terms of exploration expenditure, and the Micromine value proposition has been central to the company capitalising on this resurgence in exploration activities, according to Brew.

It is no wonder then that the company has put significant efforts into updating its flagship product.

“The first thing clients will notice is a completely redesigned user interface that provides easier access to the critical functions of the software, transforming the whole user experience with responsive design and efficient workflows,” Brew said.

Delivering this transformation has been a focal point for the business for more than a year, according to Brew, with developers reviewing customer requests most commonly received from the support team, analysing how users work with the array of Micromine functionality, and modelling interface scenarios to optimise the presentation of key functions within the software.

“By providing easier access to these functions and a smart interface that responds contextually, Micromine 2021 anticipates and supports workflows in a genuinely intuitive way,” Brew said.

The Micromine update has more than a new look.

It also includes new tools for importing and working with as-drilled drill-hole data, Brew explains.

These provide faster and more intuitive control over underground ring drill and blast design – also a focus of the earlier Micromine 2020.5 update – enabling designs to quickly adapt to changes in the field, identifying drilling inefficiencies and improving design protocols.

“We are also introducing intuitive tools that mirror the terrain of a blast face and speed up the process of creating blast-hole patterns within the bounds of the dig block,” Brew said. “Users will be able to accommodate polygons/blast masters of varying shapes, reducing the need for manual adjustment.”

The new grade control capabilities in Micromine 2021 provide dynamic updating of grade control reports to enable faster design preparation and reserve evaluation, according to Brew. This can allow miners to explore variations in dig block configuration and evaluate the ramifications of design changes on the grade – a function bound to appeal to opex-focused companies mining complex orebodies.

An integrated scheduler, meanwhile, enables planners to build and visualise an optimised schedule through configurable templates, scripting capabilities and scenarios built from real-world constraints, Brew said.

While the new and intuitive interface is likely to capture the immediate attention of users, MICROMINE has evidently not scrimped on updated and upgraded features.

Getting to the core

With the release of Pitram 4.17 earlier this year, there were improvements to the Materials Movement and Shift Planner modules, but Pitram 5, to be released later this year, goes above and beyond that.

“Stockpile management is now part of your end-to-end process and not managed as isolated assets within Pitram,” Brew says of Pitram 5. Geologists can work with data up- and down-stream to manage and react to material mismatches. Such data validation and accuracy is key to the value proposition Pitram drives in MICROMINE’s global implementations, according to Brew.

“Pitram is at the core of any mining operations ecosystem,” he said. “Our ability to accurately track Last Source, Destination Moved, Quantity and Grade as well as set individual depletion models across the various stockpiles across the mine, makes it a more flexible offering while maintaining data integrity.”

This near real-time tracking ability has previously failed on occasion from connectivity issues.

Not anymore.

“Pitram 5 is a huge leap forward in how we deploy our solution from a connectivity point of view,” Brew said. “Many of the mines we work with have limited or varying degrees of underground Wi-Fi and communications available. Our Peer to Peer solution bridges the gap where communication back to the server is not available at the face, for example.”

The Peer to Peer software can be installed on light vehicles which move around the mine encountering heavy equipment and collecting data in areas of no network coverage before moving back to a Wi-Fi-enabled area to sync the data back to the main server and into the control room. This allows miners developing new areas of their operation to keep up the communications flow without the need to immediately install or expand a communication network.

Such a solution has been successfully deployed at several sites globally, with Independence Group’s Nova nickel operation, in Western Australia, being the company’s reference site.

“Additionally, we have driven more R&D in how we can better leverage our Pitram Restful Integration Service (PRIS) to communicate shift planning data back to the shift bosses and mine managers in near real time,” Brew said.

The free Pitram Connect application, downloadable from the Apple or Google Play store, will show users real-time shift data as well as give them the ability to make updates to the shift, such as equipment or location allocations.

“Our ability to deliver on short interval control is a common requirement we are measured against and providing this planner to key users underground unlocks considerable value for an operation,” Brew said.

Pitram 5’s machine-learning update in the 2021 release leverages the company’s learnings from earlier deployments at some Central Asia mines.

“Utilising the processes of computer vision and deep machine learning, on-board cameras are placed on loaders to track variables such as loading time, hauling time, dumping time and travelling empty time,” he said. “The video feed is processed on the Pitram vehicle computer edge device, with the extracted information then transferred to Pitram servers for processing.”

Reflecting on the product updates and more than six months of pandemic-affected upheaval, Brew concluded: “Our business is extremely fortunate to have powered on through the COVID-19 pandemic, and we’ve worked hard to maintain our renowned ability to work, support and deploy our solutions remotely.

Diggers & Dealers is the pre-eminent event for the Australian region of our business, with representation from all our customers, so it represents a fantastic opportunity to show how we continue to drive value to our existing customer base as well as connect with new customers.”

MICROMINE to reveal mining software latest at Diggers & Dealers

MICROMINE is set to reveal a host of new features to its flagship products at this year’s Diggers & Dealers Mining Forum, in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, as the mining software leader lifts the lid on its latest software innovations.

“This year, we are excited to be providing on-site demonstrations of our upcoming release of Micromine 2021,” Adam Brew, MICROMINE Australia Manager, said. “Our principal Micromine consultant will provide an early pre-release insight to the new features which have been added to our core product, as well as a new user interface, designed to enrich the daily experience for users and improve how they drive outcomes from the software.”

MICROMINE will also be showcasing the updates made to its flagship mine production and fleet tracking solution, Pitram, with an interactive presentation on its booth, it said. Pitram 5, the latest release coming at the end of this year, positions itself at the “core of your mine’s ecosystem”, delivering more value from its machine-learning capabilities, materials management, shift planning and data validation, the company said.

A technical team will be demonstrating the company’s software solutions, which also includes Geobank, and answering questions at the event, taking place on October 12-14.

“As a WA-founded company, it is great to unveil our latest achievements on home turf,” David Bartlett, Principal Micromine Consultant, said. “Visitors won’t be disappointed as we’ll be showcasing our latest releases. We’ve got a surprise up our sleeves too – with a sneak peek of something new coming later this year but you have to visit the stand for an invitation to find out more.

“We’ve been exhibiting at Diggers & Dealers for over a decade and it’s a great opportunity for the industry to see first-hand the next generation tools being developed using advanced technology to optimise their operations and profitability.”

MICROMINE now has offices in 18 of the world’s mining capitals, and its software is being used by miners and explorers on 2,000 sites in 90 countries around the world, according to the company.

“While COVID-19 has meant a lot of changes to the global mining and exploration industry, the industry is steaming ahead in Western Australia and we are excited to be part of this showcase for Australian innovation and achievement,” Chris Higgins, Pitram Strategy Manager, said. “It’s a great opportunity for all the key players in the industry to come together to network, share their news and insights and experience the latest products and innovations, including the latest technologies coming from MICROMINE.”

MICROMINE will be demonstrating the latest version of its 3D modelling and mine design solution – Micromine 2021 – with new and improved tools for modelling, estimation, design, optimisation and scheduling, it said.

Also being showcased is Geobank 2020 – revealing how enhancements to the popular geological data management software are adding value to geologists and mining engineers by making data management simpler and more efficient.

MICROMINE’s Pitram solution takes control at Greece mine

MICROMINE says it is making a strong foray into Europe’s mining sector with its Pitram fleet management and mine control solution now operating in Greece.

Already used at more than 50 mining operations across six continents, the installation at the Greece mine is Pitram’s third deployment in the Aegean region, following installations at two production projects in Turkey.

“Greece has a wealth of mineral and ore deposits including gold, silver, lead, zinc, copper, nickel and bauxite – and a history of mining that dates back to ancient times,” Pitram Product Strategy Manager, Chris Higgins, said. “Turkey also has abundant source of industrial raw materials, rare earth minerals and precious metals including gold, copper, zinc, chrome, nickel, iron, lead, mercury, tin and magnesium.

“As a result, international operators and miners are developing projects across the Aegean and Pitram is providing the data insights needed to ensure the operations are well controlled.”

More than 10 mining operations in Europe are currently using Pitram to record, manage and process mine data in real time, according to the company. The scalable solution has now been deployed at the three underground gold, copper and zinc mines in Turkey and Greece.

The Greece project is well advanced with Pitram playing a crucial role in a major refurbishment and expansion of existing operations, the company says.

“Comprising 11 modules – including materials management, OLAP analysis, shift planner and fleet management – Pitram is a sophisticated mine control and management reporting application enabling the miners to capture data, make quicker, evidence-based decisions and allocate resources more effectively,” MICROMINE says.

As production ramped up at the Greece underground mine, the operators chose Pitram, according to MICROMINE, because they needed a solution that would enable them to:

  • Improve development and production mining cycles;
  • Accurately track materials from source to processing;
  • Provide OLAP reporting and analysis;
  • Enhance reactions to, and minimise the impact of, unplanned events; and
  • Increase equipment availability and utilisation.

The implementation of Pitram voice and materials management modules ensured these objectives were met by adapting the solution to meet the specific needs of the site, the company said.

Higgins added: “At MICROMINE we committed to working with our mining clients to deliver the tailored software solutions they need to meet local requirements.

“This includes providing our solutions in the languages needed – that’s why Pitram has been translated into Turkish and Greek. So, with the functionality to switch between English and the local language, all staff on-site can use the application.”

Pitram 4.17 offers operators a new level of mine control, MICROMINE says

The latest release of MICROMINE’s fleet management and mine control solution, Pitram 4.17, is set to take data management to the “next level”, the company says.

Currently the fleet management and mine control solution of choice for more than 58 mining operations across six continents, according to MICROMINE, the latest version has plenty more to offer users.

“Pitram’s Materials Management and Shift Planner modules boast key functionality enhancements providing greater data insights and enabling better decision-making, while Pitram Mobile can now launch third-party applications,” Chris Higgins, Pitram Product Strategy Manager, says. “Security and access control has also been upgraded across the suite of intuitive tools.”

New functionality in the Materials Management module has also been added, according to Higgins, enabling geologists to gain greater insight into “stockpile levels, composition, inputs and outputs as it interacts with the mine operation”.

He added: “Enhancements to the Stockpile Viewer enable you to more easily work with data up and down stream to manage and react to materials mis-matches.”

Stockpile-related data, which was readily available within Material Management (eg last movements in the Movements Screen) is now summarised within Stockpile Viewer, the company added.

“With the last source, last destination, quantity, depletion model, grade, colour and shape, and filtering data now all summarised and accessed from Stockpile Viewer, you have all the information needed to effectively manage the stockpile at your fingertips, enabling you to optimise the end-to-end process,” Higgins said.

Pitram’s Material Management module also includes a new metadata feature, enabling geologists to gain full transparency and a better understanding of material flows, according to the company.

The ability to make notes against grades and stockpile survey records in real time means geologists can better make sense of their data by providing context when reviewing compliance to plan, mill feed and other operational activities, MICROMINE says. The annotations also contextualise change so that technical services and control room operators can see the rationale behind updates to grades or tonnage, improving communications around grade adjustments as assays come in and shifts rotate.

Real-time shift data and planning is also now available in Pitram Connect, MICROMINE’s mobile application that allows users to retrieve information about their assets, people, equipment, production, and locations without needing to be on site.

“As Pitram Connect now integrates with Pitram’s Shift Planning module, mine planners, managers and shift bosses can make planning decisions from anywhere – whether they are at the face of the mine or off-site,” Higgins said.

“By being able to access a schedule view of planned tasks and their progress, users can reallocate resources sooner and correct plan deviations as they happen, minimising delays, improving utilisation and increasing productivity.”

Efficiency and usability are also the focus for the upgrade of Pitram Mobile, with the added functionality of the Generic Application Launcher, which allows third-party applications to be launched from the Pitram Mobile User Interface.

Pitram Mobile, a touchscreen tablet app installed in-cab on the mobile fleet, enables equipment operators to capture production data manually via the touchscreen or automatically via integration with on-board systems, MICROMINE says.

Third-party tools for safety, communications or positioning that operators would like to use in their cabs can now operate seamlessly with Pitram Mobile, according to the company. “With the third-party launcher, the need for additional in-cab hardware and software is removed and in-cab mining applications can be consolidated onto a single device,” it explained.

Data security is a business imperative for mining operations, according to Higgins, who said Pitram 4.17 has been strengthened with new authentication and auditing features to regulate access to operational data.

“Two-factor authentication can now be set-up in the Data Acquisition and Event Editor applications,” MICROMINE said.

“By configuring the applications to require a user to log-in on application start-up, you can protect and regulate access to your operational data, while the auditing functionality provides robust control and traceability.”

Higgins said: “With its extensive range of tools to record equipment, personnel and materials data, Pitram is at the centre of your mining ecosystem.

“Pitram 4.17 introduces new functionality to help you get an even better overall view of the current mine status and provides the basis for improved control over operations – increasing production, reducing costs, and improving safety.”

Micromine helps Indiana Resources plot next exploration steps at Saboussire

Indiana Resources is using MICROMINE’s exploration and 3D mine modelling software to help secure and maintain the integrity of data relating to a sizable gold anomaly, with a value of over 50 parts per billion (ppb), at its tenements in West Africa, the mining software company says.

High-grade soil sample results from the company’s Saboussire site, in western Mali, indicate a large gold anomaly stretching 2 km by 1 km, and a 9,610 ppb (9.6 g/t Au) result from the central portion of the licence which has been earmarked for immediate follow up, MICROMINE said.

The company has identified two new zones of interest and is preparing for the next phase of exploration after assaying 271 anomalous samples, with values over 20 ppb Au. The samples were visually reviewed by geologists with the data, and related information, stored in a validated database and available for further interrogation.

MICROMINE Technical Product Manager, Gordon Thomas, said: “The Micromine application, which is a core component in our integrated suite of specialist mining software, gives users an in-depth understanding of their projects. This means prospective regions like this can be targeted more accurately, which increases the chance of project success.

“Storing key exploration data in a Micromine database enables resource owners to optimise the information they have available and manage exploration and modelling activities all in one place.

“In the early phases of exploration, such as the sampling program conducted by Indiana Resources, the software creates an accurate picture of the results by enabling fast and flexible data import, export, entry, editing, processing and validation.

“This information is safely stored for further analysis, modelling, estimation, design, optimisation and scheduling at a later date, using the range of functional modules included in the latest version of the leading software solution, Micromine 2020.”

Indiana Chairman, Bronwyn Barnes, said the encouraging results warranted further exploration and the company was now focused on kicking off the next phase of exploration on several priority targets.

Micromine software verifies gold reserve at Shanta’s Singida project

Shanta Gold has tapped the resource estimation powers of Micromine to confirm the presence of a gold reserve at its Singida project, in central Tanzania, according to the mining software provider.

MICROMINE’s exploration and mine design solution, Micromine, which offers integrated tools for modelling, estimation, design, optimisation and scheduling, was used to validate Singida’s 243,000 oz gold deposit, it said.

AIM-listed gold producer Shanta Gold has defined ore resources on the New Luika and Singida projects, in Tanzania.

The New Luika gold mine commenced production in 2012 and produced 874,506 oz in 2019. A mining licence was granted for Singida in 2012, with drilling results from an exploration program conducted in 2016 and a feasibility study indicating the project had nine orebodies, within a 5 km radius, with a combined resource of 858,000 oz of gold. It is estimated production will average 26,000 oz/y for an initial six-year period.

In May 2020, a revised reserve estimate was declared, enabling Shanta Gold to move towards construction and first production at Singida, confident in the possibility of a number of high-grade open pits, MICROMINE said.

Shanta Gold used Micromine to interrogate exploration drilling data to establish and validate the revised estimate, the company explained, with an independent validation process run for each core data log sheet using the software.

“Where there were queries, a report file was created, exported to Excel and sent to the personnel responsible for data capturing to correct the original information,” MICROMINE explained. “Once data confirmation of the updates was received, all databases were refreshed and the validation process repeated in Micromine, with the use of form sets, until all data had been validated.”

Lee Bothma, MICROMINE Africa Sales Manager, said: “Shanta Gold has trusted Micromine to validate data at its flagship New Luika gold mine so it was an obvious choice to use at Singida. Micromine’s Resource Estimation functionality enables a precise and detailed analysis of the resource based on early exploration data.

“Over the years, Shanta Gold has used Micromine’s tools to model and estimate open-pit ore reserves at New Luika. The ability to validate the presence of additional mineralisation has significantly extended the life of mine.”

A JORC-compliant reserve of 2.51 Mt, grading 3 g/t and containing 243,000 oz of gold at a cutoff grade of 1 g/t was declared for Singida in May 2020. Of the reserve estimate, 91% of the contained gold is within 120 m of the surface, highlighting the potential for reserve expansion, MICROMINE said.

The reserve represents a 50% conversion of the project’s independently-verified measured and indicated resource and an updated mine plan will incorporate the new reserve estimate, the company explained.

Singida’s JORC-complaint mineral resource estimate (MRE) was also re-calculated and independently verified by Pivot Mining Consultants. The total MRE is 11.8 Mt, grading 2.38 g/t and containing 904,000 oz of gold, using a cutoff grade of 1.0 g/t. This includes a 17% increase in measured and indicated resources, totalling 5.7 Mt, grading 2.66 g/t and containing 484,000 oz of gold.

MICROMINE opens 3D mine design and planning solution for sharing

MICROMINE is launching an exclusive new viewer, Micromine Effects (MFX), to make sharing complex design and visualisation files much easier.

Like a PDF reader, the free utility enables anyone to view, share and interrogate Micromine output files without needing access to a full software licence, the company said.

“For the first time, sophisticated data analysis and design models are no longer locked away with technical teams,” the mining software leader said. “Instead, they can be shared, quickly and easily, with consultants, clients and colleagues.”

Built on the power of the Micromine’s Vizex, its 3D visualisation environment – and advanced functionality incorporated in the recently released Micromine 2020.5 – MFX allows users to attach any Micromine project and load any number of displays, the company says.

MICROMINE Chief Strategy Product Officer, Paul Hooykaas, said Micromine MFX was designed for collaboration and communication, so anyone could view models and provide feedback.

“It can be costly and time-consuming to explain plans to clients and other people in the business who may not have the same level of technical understanding,” Hooykaas said.

“MFX allows you to show them. Sharing models is as easy as simply sharing your project with someone who can download MFX software for free, in seconds.”

MFX has a level of interactivity that goes beyond what is expected from most file viewers, MICROMINE claims.

“Users can view preconfigured models with any number of display layers,” it says. “They can control the appearance of layers and toggle them on or off – even see multiple views in different windows, apply filters to data displayed in a layer and generate high resolution screenshots.”

The user interface offers drag and drop functionality and interactive tools like zoom-to-selection and a measurement device.

“The advanced display options include transparency and interactive block model visibility, with flexible view management including Section Control Files,” MICROMINE explained. “Clipping planes can be defined, with the clipped section limits highlighted as ‘corridors’ in related views. Shadow sections include seeing next and previous sections together with the current section.”

MICROMINE mobilises a new mine optimisation plan

Upgrading from a voice-based fleet management system to an automated mobile solution enables mine managers to gain critical efficiencies across their site, resulting in a positive effect on their operations’ bottom line, according to MICROMINE.

Nickel-copper-cobalt miner, Independence Group (IGO), recently upgraded to Pitram Mobile at its Nova operation in Western Australia. Nova is one of a growing number of sites across the globe choosing to upgrade from Pitram Voice to the Pitram Mobile solution, MICROMINE says. IGO deployed the mobile software following the successful installation of Pitram Voice in 2018.

Touchscreen tablets were installed in vehicle cabs and integrated with the Pitram software to facilitate data transfer between on-board computers and the Pitram control room, which provides full fleet management insights and analytics functionality.

IGO implemented Pitram Mobile to capture data and insights electronically from its underground mining fleet at Nova, according to MICROMINE. Upgrading to Pitram mobile has assisted the mine to more effectively:

  • Manage safety – by controlling access to dangerous areas and replaying locations and states for incident analysis;
  • Integrate its fleet management system – providing a better picture of situational awareness and vehicle positioning;
  • Decrease mine radio traffic – enhancing safety and operational activities through automatically transmitting critical data from equipment;
  • Apply automated business rules engines;
  • Execute its shift plan – sending tasks to workers from the plan, receiving notifications of completed tasks and facilitating plan compliance;
  • Identify areas of improvement;
  • Increase productivity;
  • Reduce manual data entry and paperwork; and
  • Optimise fleet and personnel.

MICROMINE’s Pitram Account Manager, Tyler Raleigh, said the upgrade was completed in early March 2019, with Pitram specialists spending time on site to assist the IGO Nova team with technical support.

“The mine control and dispatch facilities are designed to provide an increased level of shift data accuracy, which will improve operational efficiencies through effective management of mining operations based on high-quality data,” Raleigh said. “The system provides improved response to emergency situations and greater control in hazard management, as well streamlines administrative tasks through real-time data capture and validation.”

IGO’s Nova Mine Manager, Peter Christen, said improvements are already starting to be seen across the Nova site since the implementation.

“We’re pleased with the results achieved so far since upgrading to Pitram Mobile at Nova,” he said. “The implementation was well managed by the MICROMINE team, with quick uptake and acceptance by our IGO and Barminco site personnel.

“It’s enabled our people to be more in control of the data generated and that means we are seeing greater ownership and uptake of the system. It also allows our mine control operators to validate information quickly and they spend less time on the radio.

“Overall, our experience at Nova has been a positive one and we would definitely recommend Pitram Mobile to other mining companies.”

What is the difference between Pitram Voice and Pitram Mobile?

For those already using Pitram Voice, upgrading to Pitram Mobile offers the following benefits, according to MICROMINE:

  • Automatic detection of load-haul-dump events;
  • Integration of autonomous mining fleet with the rest of the Pitram solution;
  • Integration between Pitram and other on-board payload management systems;
  • Summaries of manually and automatically captured production data to aid in generating draw plans;
  • Increased accuracy of time sensitive data, providing greater visibility of availability bottlenecks; and
  • Removal of reliance on radio communications.

A Pitram automatic upgrade from voice data capture requires a simple upgrade process, MICROMINE says. Pitram uses the same production and reporting database for Pitram Voice as it does for Pitram’s automated solution, so all the work invested in implementing Pitram is retained when upgrading to the more advanced Pitram solution.

Pitram Mobile tablets

Optimise operational performance

As Pitram Mobile allows equipment operators to capture production data through automated on-board systems, or via touchscreens in cabs. Rather than calling in through radios, the solution frees up personnel time and effort, radio airspace and alleviates potential data entry errors.

The tablets or onboard systems capture equipment data, like location, pre-start, status and activities, which is automatically uploaded to servers as soon as vehicles are in range of a wireless (or LTE) network. Pitram Mobile’s automatic data transfer then allows that data to be passed to the Pitram Control Room where analysts and operators can monitor results and refine mine operations.

Utilising the latest technology, automated data capture minimises disruption to primary activities, provides near 100% data accuracy, automated task management, integrated shift planning and can provide live information short interval control for in-shift decision-making.

“By using integrations across communication platforms, Pitram greatly reduces call volumes across the radio network,” MICROMINE says. “Through automatically transmitting key data from equipment, personal and operations, the automated solution revolutionises the mine control room, providing an adaptable user interface for low-level data entry roles as well as for higher-level administrators and in-shift mine managers.”

Pitram Mobile being utilised at IGO Nova

Other key features and benefits include:

  • Ruggedised touchscreen tablets, with various models available to best meet the requirements of individual mines, including dust and water protection;
  • No requirement for additional proprietary hardware, so companies save costs and time in installation if they have existing tablets and network infrastructure;
  • Run using Windows operating systems;
  • Compatible with various underground data collection technologies, including Wi-Fi and Ethernet over leaky feeder;
  • GPS tracking capabilities for surface mines;
  • Speed warning and alarms;
  • Material mis-dump alarms;
  • Payload indicator to minimise overloading or underloading, plus integration with third-party payload monitoring systems;
  • Task allocation and real-time tracking of tasks;
  • Portable data for managers & shift boss – finger on the pulse;
  • Improved accuracy;
  • Reduced two-way traffic to Mine Control; and
  • Operator accountability.