Tag Archives: mine planning

RPMGlobal looks for increased XPAC, IMAFS market share with supported language adds

RPMGlobal says it has expanded the reach of its industry-leading planning and scheduling software, XPAC Solutions, adding Chinese to the list of supported languages.

XPAC commodity-based solutions support multiple mining methods for both open pit and underground operations including metals mines, bulk commodities, oil sands, diamonds, potash and quarrying.

Building on a recent major upgrade that marked the introduction of hybrid scheduling, the latest releases of XPAC Solutions is focused on supporting the increasing user base with additional language support features, the company said.

The mine planning solution now supports five languages (English, French, Spanish, Russian and Chinese) across its commodity-specific mining software suite.

These language enhancements come as the company’s client base continues to expand, with the latest language compatibility upgrade designed to strengthen Chinese operations using the software, according to the company.

David Batkin, RPMGlobal’s Executive Manager, Product Strategy, said: “With the rapid growth of our solution footprint, we are committed to ensuring we invest in true internationalisation, helping our global customer base maximise the value they receive from our solutions”.

RPMGlobal has also added language support for its newly acquired inventory optimisation management software tool, IMAFS. IMAFS is an inventory management and forecasting software solution that uses proprietary artificial intelligence algorithms to greatly improve inventory management, the company says.

In the latest release of IMAFS, the product now supports three languages (Spanish, Portuguese and Russian), ensuring the product’s customer base has a “seamless user experience in regions speaking those languages”, it said.

Other enhancements to IMAFS include a new user interface, making it easier than before to use the software, along with improved visualisation of frequency, usage multiples and lead times.

Commenting on the addition of the new language support, Batkin said the company prides itself on offering comprehensive global multi-lingual support for its products that meets the needs of its global customer base.

“Along with further advancements to our mining software, we anticipate the expansion of more language offerings across our software suite to ensure we are delivering enhanced value to our global customer base,” he said.

RPMGlobal says its software offering is deployed all over the world and is supported by 24 offices globally.

RPMGlobal seeks to align short- and long-term mine planning with Attain

RPMGlobal has broadened its software optimisation suite with the launch of Attain, a solution that, the company says, helps mine planners maintain alignment between their long-term and short-term production schedules and improve the net present value (NPV) of their operations.

The company explained: “The dynamic nature of mining operations creates a high degree of uncertainty across many different elements. Unexpected events often arise which require mine planners to reschedule their mine plan. Should the short-term mine plan deviate too far off course from the long-term plan then value can be eroded by the failure to achieve the strategic long-term goals.”

Attain is a software solution that solves the challenge of mine planning horizon misalignment by ensuring operational mine planning is systematically aligned with the long-term plan, resulting in optimised short-term schedules and improved NPV, RPMGlobal claims.

Once a schedule becomes misaligned with the longer-term plan, Attain will produce feasible, optimised short-range schedules aligned with the long-range schedule. These alternatives are offered to the mine planner who is then able to review and selects the preferred short-range schedule.

Attain targets the two-to-six-month planning horizon and builds a short-term schedule that considers the actual results to-date while maintaining alignment with the long-term plan, it says.

“With a highly intuitive user interface, the user simply selects their preferred long-term plan which then becomes Attain’s optimisation objective,” RPMGlobal added.

RPMGlobal Chief Executive Officer, Richard Mathews, said: “Short-term planners are always reacting to events that cause a deviation from the mine plan but they often don’t have a way of knowing what the unintended consequences of the resulting re-planning decisions are on the life of the mine.

“With Attain, users can make informed decisions while adjusting the short-term plan knowing that the long-term plan objectives are being met. Attain complements all mine planning tools and processes that mining operations use.”

Mathews said the team were excited to launch the Attain solution to the market and would be seeking feedback from early adopters to prioritise future development.

EY addresses Americas mining and metals company needs with new Centre of Excellence

EY Canada has announced the launch of an EY Americas Mining and Metals Centre of Excellence that, it says, will offer companies across the Americas access to cutting-edge services and innovation-led solutions that meet the most pressing needs of mining and metals businesses, today and in the future.

“Post-COVID-19 investments in infrastructure, combined with demand to sustain the energy transition, will drive significant growth in the mining and metals sector over the next three to five years,” Theo Yameogo, EY Americas Mining and Metals Leader and the man leading the centre’s charge, said. “But capitalising on these opportunities is going to require a major pivot – and we want to be there to support companies as they navigate the path forward. While working cross-collaboratively with our colleagues in the Americas to combine our business and technical expertise with emerging technologies, the centre will ground us under one unified vision to help companies drive meaningful and long-term growth.”

Powered by EY wavespaceTM, the centre’s integrated, business-led and technology-enabled approach will, EY says, support the growth ambitions of mining and metals companies by focusing on four key areas:

  • Technical expertise: bringing advanced knowledge and understanding of the unique business landscape, including reserves and resources, mine planning and tailings management;
  • Digital transformation: connecting the dots to link investments to value realisation through strategic roadmaps, prioritisation of initiatives and disciplined execution;
  • Operations management: improving efficiency and productivity in operations through data-driven diagnostics, culture uplift and integrated planning and execution; and
  • Decarbonisation and ESG: supporting adoption of carbon footprint analytics, greater energy optimisation and increased health and safety.

Jad Shimaly, EY Canada Chairman and CEO, said: “The mining and metals industry is an integral part of our Canadian fabric, and is poised to be an increasing contributor to job and economic recovery moving forward.

“We’re excited the centre will allow us to play a role in enabling Canada’s journey in the energy transition, while supporting mining and metals companies as they look to develop innovative and sustainable solutions that deliver long-term value for stakeholders.”

The first Americas Mining and Metals Centre of Excellence will be hosted in Canada, with an additional location operating in Latin America later this year, according to the company.

Deswik opens pit design options for miners with SPD module

Deswik says it has come up with a way to rapidly create practical pit designs from optimisation outputs as part of miners’ strategic planning process with its Strategic Pit Design (Deswik.SPD) module.

Developed in direct response to client needs, Deswik.SPD allows users to quickly generate multiple pit designs for any number of optimisation runs, compare results and select go-forward cases, the software company says. Final pit designs, which took days to create manually, can now be created in minutes, enabling planners to spend less time doing repetitive design tasks and more time analysing results and evaluating options.

Deswik.SPD features the Automated Pit Design tool, which bridges the gap between optimisation shells and a detailed manual pit design. The tool uses a scenario-based approach to rapidly generate, visualise and compare pit designs using outputs from Deswik.GO, Pseudoflow or other pit optimisation software such as Whittle, the company says.

The tool is flexible and, according to Dewsik, able to provide the following features:

  • Supports multiple ramp rules, exclusion zones and geotechnical domains for wall angle and berm width rules;
  • Provides post-processing options to smooth pit designs; and
  • Integrates with Deswik’s manual pit design and reserving tools, for more detailed scheduling, or to pass back into Deswik.GO for high level phase-bench schedules.

Any number of scenarios can be created with Deswik.SPD, according to the company.

Once processing is complete, the output designs are summarised in a table in rank order for review. Furthermore, if the results are not optimal, users can fine-tune options to manually adjust the output designs. There are also options to add a new ramp chain, move ramp chains to close large gaps, add switchbacks, manually adjust the berm shape and split ramps in two.

Tim Rijsdijk, from Glencore’s copper division, said Deswik.SPD produces multiple pit designs in the time it takes a mining engineer to design a single bench.

“By having a multitude of pit designs provided by Deswik.SPD, our mine planning team has been able to tactically implement the most suitable design and consider concepts that could often be overlooked when completing only a single design,” he said.

“Deswik.SPD also allows us to customise inputs that result in practical designs complying with site specific requirements, such as block model-based berm and batter parameters, dynamic ramp widths and gradients, ramp exit positions and exclusions zones. It has eliminated hundreds of hours of pit design work and allowed us to focus on adding value in more opportune areas.”

RPMGlobal brings mine planning and scheduling solution to UG potash sector

RPMGlobal has worked closely with a number of potash miners to develop a new integrated mine planning and scheduling product specifically tailored to the underground potash industry.

Underground Potash Solutions (UGPS) builds on XPAC Solutions’ strong 40-year history and delivers a true integrated mine planning and scheduling package, according to the company.

RPM says it has developed UGPS to address the unique challenges of underground potash operations through a single integrated mine planning and scheduling package that can be used for design, reserving and scheduling across all scheduling horizons – from strategic to short term.

Underground mining is the most common form of potash mining, accounting for over 80% of global potash output, according to RPM.

Commenting on the new product, Richard Mathews, RPM’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are proud to have worked collaboratively with our development partners on UGPS to ensure it meets the everyday practical needs of engineers working in underground potash operations.

“We are confident UGPS can drive a pivotal step-change in mine design and scheduling at potash operations.”

The release of UGPS includes the parametric scheduling benefits pioneered by RPM to automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks that can often take a mine planner days or weeks to perform. Instead of having to manually draw the mine layout in a CAD package, the parametric design techniques of UGPS enable a planner to rapidly generate and analyse multiple scenarios, according to the company.

Changes to any aspect of the design or geology are automatically applied to the final schedule with minimal intervention. “This allows mining engineers to focus on applying their skills to run different scenarios, deepen analysis and deliver more value,” RPM says.

Mathews said UGPS provides a single product that incorporates all aspects of the scheduling process in one.

“Scheduling changes are often triggered by changes to the mine layout, and, in such instances, users are forced to make numerous manual adjustments across several independent tools to correctly model and understand the impacts,” he said.

“Unlike other 2D design tools on the market, UGPS undertakes detailed modelling of the potash deposit in 3D, creating a complete mathematical model of the mine. Moreover, users are able to import existing designs, create new designs or use a combination of both.”

UGPS also introduces enhancements to the scheduling process configured specifically for potash operations.

While users generate detailed schedules for each item of equipment, automated mining rules ensure logical mine development sequences are always followed, according to the company. This allows the engineer to focus on alternative equipment deployment strategies, while having confidence that the detail is being managed automatically in the background.

Mathews concluded: “The release of UGPS is strategically placed to help mine planners unlock new levels of capability, and, as a fully integrated mine planning and design tool, the advanced scheduling methodology and 3D capability contained within UGPS provide a level of sophistication that is unmatched in the market today.”

Minemax bridges the strategic mine planning and metallurgy divide

Minemax has released Minemax Scheduler 7.0.1 to, it says, help strategic mine planners model mineral processing more accurately.

“Mining companies have had an ongoing need to integrate strategic mine planning with other parts of the business to create realistic high-value mine plans,” the company says. “Recently, Minemax has introduced Minemax Scheduler 7 with Financial Constraints that brings mine planning and finance together into one single platform.”

Scheduler version 7.0.1 is taking another leap forward by addressing the gap between strategic mine planning and metallurgy, Minemax says.

In metal production, the throughput and metal recovery of a processing plant is dependent upon the blend of rock types and grades. Up until now, it has been difficult, if not impossible, to model this with strategic mine planning tools, Minemax says. With Minemax Scheduler 7.0.1, mine planners are now able to model this relationship more accurately, and therefore, develop more reliable strategic mine plans, according to the company.

In addition, Minemax Scheduler 7.0.1 features new Capex functionality that allows mine planners to easily model specific requirements for capital expenditure decisions.

“Firstly, mine planners can now easily determine the optimal time to start a new mining area, associated with capital expenditure such as ground works, infrastructure or road development,” the company said. “This is now modelled in software explicitly in the ‘capital expenditure’ menu without any tedious workaround required. With this framework, it’s just a matter of adding new capital expenditure options and selecting the pit or pits associated with the mining expansion.

“The same steps can be used for starting new dumps. Once the capex set up is done, Minemax Scheduler simultaneously optimises mine schedules with multiple capex decisions to find the optimal solution.”

Secondly, there is often a limit on the number of new trucks purchased per period due to delivery and installation restrictions. Minemax Scheduler 7.0.1 allows mine planners to specify the maximum number of capex instances per period. This is a new addition to the existing Capex functionality, restricting the total number of instances for the entire schedule, the company says.

All maintained and subscribed users can now download Minemax Scheduler 7.0.1 through the Minemax Software Manager and benefit from these new enhancements, the company says.

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.

RPMGlobal brings automation to underground stope design process

RPMGlobal says it has released an update to its Parametric Design suite of software products specifically tailored to the underground metals space.

Strategic Design Optimiser (SDO) is an innovative design application that combines the complex tasks of strategic optimised stope and development design into a single, coherent automated process, it says.

The intelligent workflow included in the product guides the user through the entire process. This workflow has been developed using the combined industry knowledge and experience of RPMGlobal and its customers.

“SDO is unique in that it uses parametric design principles, combined with several leading optimisation algorithms, in a single user experience,” RPMGlobal says. “SDO uniquely combines both the stope and development optimisation into one package allowing customers to generate, change and update designs on the fly.”

As a standalone strategic design package, SDO can work seamlessly with any existing design tools and is also offered as a fully integrated end-to-end enterprise solution as part of RPMGlobal’s Underground Metals Solution.

Paul Beesley, RPMGlobal’s Chief Technology Officer, said: “The new solution stayed true to the company’s philosophy of creating new products that fundamentally challenged the status quo of how the industry operates.

“SDO reflects RPMGlobal’s large investment in our expanding design portfolio, announced last year, which is underpinned by a strong drive to accelerate innovation in this area of mine planning.”

While the industry has accelerated its uptake of automation, Beesley said the design part of the mine planning process had been largely left out, with existing solutions simply bolting on more functionality to existing tools.

“We have worked closely with miners to bring this unique offering to the market and remain proud to be leading the development of innovative design technologies that provide a step change in mine design,” he said.

SDO builds on the strengths of the Mineable Shape Optimiser by adding a new visual, user interface that automatically manages the large volumes of data generated for resultant stoping scenarios, RPMGlobal says.

Current solutions still rely on the user manually drawing every part of the mine design. Every single change then requires the user to redraw again and again. What usually happens then is the changes simply do not get done, and, with each iteration, it deviates further from the truth.

The underlying principle of SDO is that design changes to one segment are automatically rippled through to any other affected segments, making the necessary design updates, the company says.

RPMGlobal’s fully integrated Development Optimiser automatically generates the first pass underground development network of crosscuts, footwall drives and connecting declines for the selected strategic stoping scenarios and, through its use of parametric techniques, allows for changes to be made and reflected faster than ever before.

Beesley says RPMGlobal’s design solutions are already transforming how the industry thinks and approaches this critical stage of mine planning.

“At RPMGlobal, we are passionate about providing truly innovative solutions that allow for real change in the mining industry and our increased investment in our design and scheduling suite reflects that commitment.

“SDO is the mining industry’s equivalent of what the spreadsheet did for financial modelling when it replaced double entry bookkeeping. This latest release comes at a very exciting time for the company and is a strong indicator of what lays ahead for our design and scheduling solutions.”

Nord Gold begins IT system transition to Deswik platform

Nord Gold says it has started re-platforming its mine planning IT systems to Deswik, the Australia-based mining-focused global technology company.

The move follows a successful three-month test period and will see the company integrating its operating environment from the numerous software applications currently in use, Nordgold said.

“Deswik provides specialist solutions spanning software, consulting, and training,” the gold miner said. “To date, Nordgold has implemented strategic mine planning, pit design, load and haul simulation, survey modules, and is also considering using Deswik’s drill hole optimiser module.”

Nordgold expects to roll out the new software platform in a three-year staged approach. Throughout the test period, the Deswik software has been adopted by the company’s head office, the Gross and Tabornoe open-pit mines in eastern Siberia, the Suzdal underground mine in Kazakhstan, and the Lefa mine in Guinea. Migration to the Deswik platform is expected to be completed at the Bissa and Bouly mines in Burkina Faso in 2021, with all remaining operations following shortly thereafter.

Louw Smith, Nordgold’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “At Nordgold we pride ourselves on knowledge sharing and collaboration across the business, despite the differences between our individual operations. The Deswik platform is a perfect fit as it caters for both underground and open-pit mines, which was crucial for our diversified business.

“We have been particularly encouraged by the software’s ability to circumvent our legacy systems’ constraints, while still supporting older data formats for backwards compatibility.

“As the implementation phase has proven, Deswik’s software allows for optimisation of resources to generate guidance reserve shapes, pit design, scheduling of designs, and optimising schedules. Moreover, schedules can be used to generate equipment simulation to investigate the effectiveness of mining fleet and assist in optimising both operating and capital expense allocation.”

RPMGlobal expands UGCS software reach to longwall coal sector

RPMGlobal says it has yet again set a new benchmark in the mine planning software industry by introducing longwall support to its Underground Coal Solutions (UGCS) software product.

UGCS, RPMGlobal’s scheduling package purpose-built for underground coal operations, already supported other common mining methods, such as room and pillar. This latest release of UGCS introduces an enterprise, parametric mine scheduling solution specifically for longwall operations globally, it said.

“Parametric scheduling in mining was pioneered by RPMGlobal to automate the repetitive and time-consuming tasks that can often take a mine planner days, weeks or even months to perform,” RPMGlobal says.

Parametric scheduling allows a planner to rapidly generate multiple scenarios extremely quickly so they can investigate and refine the most attractive options, according to the company.

“The in-built intelligence in the UGCS solution does the heavy lifting, allowing engineers to focus on applying their skills to run different scenarios, deepen analysis and deliver more value,” the company said. “It provides the engineer with tools that help them to identify options that deliver value that would have otherwise been overlooked.”

RPMGlobal Chief Executive Officer, Richard Mathews, expects UGCS to transform the scheduling of longwall operations.

“In other commodities and mining methods where XPAC Solutions are available, we have seen a step change in the planners’ mindset and capabilities,” he said. “Mine planners no longer need to be scripting experts and, with the workflow streamlining the process and Product Optimiser identifying optimum product paths, planners can focus on what they are trained to do.

“Where they once struggled against the clock to get a single schedule out on time, they now have the ability to assess several options and find the best one in a much quicker timeframe.”

UGCS builds on XPAC Solutions’ 40-year history and incorporates the introduction of a new interactive, mixed method scheduling approach that combines the flexibility of manual scheduling with the benefit of automated scheduling. The user can select whether to schedule manually or automatically in any combination and from any point of the schedule, RPMGlobal says.

This dynamic approach to scheduling allows users to provide high-level guidance in terms of where each major item of equipment should work, according to the company.

The automated features then work within this guidance, establishing the detailed tasks the equipment will perform, given ground conditions, the cutting height, the quantity of stone in the cutting profile and the impact of nearby equipment.

This approach allows users to focus on the bigger scheduling issues at play with the comfort of knowing the detail is not being overlooked, RPMGlobal says. “And because the schedule considers each individual continuous miner and longwall, UGCS provides an unparalleled level of confidence in the practicality of the mining sequences produced,” it added.

UGCS also allows far greater flexibility when changing and updating models. It generates working section composites from imported geological data that accounts for the capacity of the different equipment used at the mine, while accurately reflecting loss of coal and dilution from the roof, floor and partings.

Working sections are used to create a detailed 3D mathematical model of the project that can be updated when changes occur, while ensuring the adoption of practical assumptions, such as mining rate.

RPMGlobal’s industry leading Product Optimiser functionality is also available within UGCS. Product Optimiser determines the optimal way to blend, wash and stockpile coal products to maximise value from the mined coal. In addition to individual mining operations, it can also be applied to complexes with multiple mines which use shared processing facilities.

This latest release also allows a clear upgrade path for existing XPAC users in the longwall space, RPMGlobal says, bringing them in line with the advanced software developments using the latest technologies already incorporated across other commodities and mining methods.

Mathews concluded: “The advanced scheduling methodology, Product Optimiser and 3D capability contained within UGCS makes it a far superior solution compared to what is currently available on the market. No other tool offers the speed and accuracy with the same sophistication and flexibility as UGCS.”