Tag Archives: mine planning

BEUMER Group and FAM ‘the right project partner for all challenges’, Hotz says

In June, BEUMER Group completed the acquisition of the FAM Group of Magdeburg, Germany, in the process, increasing its conveyor system and loading technology offering and becoming a significant player in the in-pit crushing and conveying (IPCC) space.

Close to six months after closing, IM put some questions to Stefan Hotz, Director Sales FAM Group, to find out how the integration of the two companies is going and how the transaction should strengthen the enlarged company’s market position in the minerals and mining sectors.

IM: Where – regionally – do you see the most opportunities in the mining sector for the integrated company to gain market share? South America has been a particularly strong market for FAM in the past; do you see this as a big opportunity for the integrated group?

SH: FAM – member of BEUMER Group – is one of the world’s leading full-range suppliers of bulk handling and processing systems. The customers come from more than 80 countries and the solutions are successfully in use everywhere. With BEUMER’s acquisition of the FAM Group, we were able to expand our portfolio to include bulk material handling, crushing technology as well as conveyor technology. Customers receive solutions from a single source with which they can work efficiently. In addition to engineering and project execution competences, FAM also brings the complete value chain, including after-sales service, to the BEUMER Group. This makes us a sought-after partner worldwide.

Of course, South America is a strong market, especially countries with iron ore and copper resources such as Brazil, Chile and Peru. For example, in Peru, the mining companies are transporting iron ore to the stockyards, which are often located at distances of several kilometres from the port. Callao Port, for example, is home to the most modern and largest ship loading terminal in the country. A reliable and safe connection for material transport is required, which at the same time ideally prevents the emission of particles into the atmosphere. Conveyors are the preferred solution here that can be individually adapted to the respective environmental and technical requirements and to the topography, as well as protect the environment from dust emissions.

IM: Are you expecting to increase your manufacturing capacity or acquire new premises to fulfil this demand, or do you have enough capacity to serve these growing markets in the near-to-medium term?

SH: The FAM Group has subsidiaries in Brazil, Chile, China, Canada and India. In addition, there are the numerous subsidiaries and agencies of the BEUMER Group. This means that we are very well positioned worldwide and can optimally serve these growing markets in the short to medium term. In our project business it’s a must to be, on the one hand, close to our customers but, on the other hand, using our global resource network and know-how to balance workloads. But, of course, we expand the network of our subsidiaries if we notice that we cannot serve certain regions with the desired reliability.

IM: Is the company already pursuing mining projects that involve the solutions/expertise of FAM and BEUMER Group? Can you elaborate on what type of projects these are and what solutions they involve (ie overland conveyors, bucketwheel excavators, spreaders, etc)?

SH: Yes, we are already in the process to support our mining clients from one hand, integrating FAM and BEUMER solutions. For example, we are working on one large project for gold extraction, where BEUMER is providing the long-distance overland conveyor and FAM supports the client with spreader technology to dump overburden. We have combined this with an attractive digitalisation and service package to ensure optimisation of the client’s total cost of ownership.

IM: With this transaction the company has effectively become a major player in the IPCC space. Do you see this as a major growth area for BEUMER Group going forward?

SH: In general, with this new setup, we expand our product portfolio and we are significantly strengthening our market position worldwide, especially in the field of large-scale mining equipment. But the most important thing is that we can provide our customers with even more comprehensive support over the whole value chain from pit to port, including digitalisation and service for our projects. Due to our many years of experience, we also support our clients in complex upgrade, lifetime extension and refurbishment jobs for existing machines. This means we avoid interfaces and customers now have only one contact.

IM: Do you see your ability to offer not only the solutions but also the engineering and design expertise underpinning these solutions as differentiating your offering from your competitors in the IPCC market? What other differentiators will serve you well in winning business in this market?

SH: I don’t want to say much about our market competitors, but I am sure that together with FAM we stand out positively from the market, specifically for continuous soft rock and overburden IPCC applications. Furthermore, we have long-term partners with whom we are serving the needs of our clients in terms of mine planning and pre-engineering. This ensures that we are defining  a solution for the client with a focus on CAPEX and OPEX optimisation. Specifically for IPCC applications, we are convinced of adding value during the first months of operation by providing integrated training and service packages to ensure successful implementation of continuous mining systems after commissioning. In doing so, the specialism is characterised in particular by distinctive engineering at a high level.

IM: What other areas of your business do you see growing with the need for mining companies to move away from their reliance on diesel-powered mobile mining equipment for material transport? Are you seeing more interest in your overland conveyor portfolio, for instance?

SH: Our belt conveyor systems are used successfully all over the world. They solve complex transport problems for any bulk material and are suitable in many cases as an economic alternative to truck transport. While the basic task – to transport bulk materials from the mine to the final discharge point – appears very comparable, no two systems are alike. The range of potential materials to be conveyed, alone, requires individual consideration of the components to be used in terms of wear resistance or the maximum permissible gradients of a conveyor. In addition, above all, the mass flow to be transported and the height to be overcome determine the dimensioning of the drive unit of an overland conveyor. Plants at high altitudes pose a further challenge. At altitudes above 4,000 m, as is often the case in the Andes for example, it must be taken into account that the air pressure and, thus, the density of the air decreases with increasing altitude. This reduces both the cooling effect and the insulating capacity of the air. We are the right project partner for all these challenges.

Hexagon’s Mining division updates mine planning software suite

Hexagon’s Mining division has added to the capabilities of its mine planning software, HxGN MinePlan, with a new release that, it says, brings new functionality to MinePlan 3D, MinePlan Schedule Optimizer and MinePlan Project Evaluator, along with vast improvements in performance and speed.

MinePlan 3D is the hub of all Hexagon’s mine planning tools and activities, with the latest release improving performance and responding to customer feedback, the company said.

The new reserves engine is now integrated into the Autoslicer tool, allowing users to select between legacy and new reserve logic setups to slice by tonnes as a target. This allows users to quickly generate shapes to help meet planning requirements.

The new reserves engine can be used in the Pit Expander, enabling users to select between legacy and new reserve logic setups to run bench reserves while designing a pit. Audit pit reserves during the design process, meanwhile, ensure best design and comparison with strategic pit optimization.

MinePlan Schedule Optimizer (MPSO) ensures optimal scheduling with great detail, with Hexagon enabling mid-range planning and hybrid scheduling, combining optimal and manual scheduling.

Block Schedule Coding is a new feature which allows users to code back MPSO period and destination schedule results to the block model. This reconciles optimisation and operational models and assists in pre-targeting material for short-range planning and grade control.

Shovel Control (screenshot, pictured) assigns shovels to areas, phases, benches and cuts in advanced constraints. Users can limit the number of shovels applied to a given cut per period. This will help generate more operational schedules by controlling shovel allocation and movement, the company says.

Improved with speed and greater performance, MinePlan Project Evaluator ensures a user’s long-term plan starts with an economically optimised shell.

The ability to skip invalid cases in a task with multiple runs allows multi-case runs to continue regardless of invalid cases, and without the need to monitor process time, the company says.

Users can also now limit their pit optimisation by an existing surface, speeding up run time for optimisation as fewer blocks will need to be analysed.

Sandvik to acquire Deswik and form new Digital Mining Technologies division

Sandvik has signed an agreement to acquire Deswik, a provider of mine planning software, with plans for the Australia-based company to be part of a newly formed Digital Mining Technologies division within the Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions business area. 

By acquiring Deswik, Sandvik gains a top-tier supplier of integrated software platforms that, it says, support digitalisation throughout mine planning stages, with more than 10,000 current licences.

Deswik has a high quality customer base, and its strong profitable growth and low customer churn will further enhance Sandvik’s presence within software and digitalisation, and help accelerate growth, the company added.

I am very pleased that we continue to execute on our shift to growth strategy, and continue to broaden our offering with digital solutions that increase productivity in the customers value chain,” Stefan Widing, President and CEO of Sandvik, said. “Mine planning and operations management is a key growth opportunity, and this complementary acquisition and our new Digital Mining Technologies division will strengthen our digital offering and enable us to provide customers a more comprehensive suite of technologies.

Deswik will fill a value chain gap in Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions’ offering, increasing upstream mining coverage and enabling opportunities for end-to-end optimisation solutions, including, for example, incorporating electrification at the mine planning stage, the company explained. Its core software suite includes computer-aided 3D mine design, scheduling, operations planning, mining data management and geological mapping. Deswik also offers a range of consultancy services, including mine planning, scoping, software implementation and training support.

Henrik Ager, President of Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, added: Deswik’s second-to-none software suite combined with Sandvik’s digital and automation offering creates a clear world leader in digital solutions for the mining industry. Combining Deswik’s skills in mine planning and scheduling with our equipment and automation expertise will open new opportunities for optimising our customers’ mining value chain.” 

Deswik will form one of three cornerstones in the newlycreated Digital Mining Technologies division, established to, the company says, accelerate the execution of Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions strategic priority to lead the industry development of underground sustainability and productivity solutions in electrification, automation, digitalisation and end-to-end optimisation. The new division also includes Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions automation solutions and the Newtrax telemetry and collision avoidance solutions.

Privately-owned Deswik, established in 2008 and headquartered in Brisbane, has approximately 300 employees and operates 14 offices in 10 countries. Deswik’s revenue as of October 2021, on a rolling 12-month basis, totalled A$79 million ($56 million), of which the share of recurring revenue was approximately 45%, and with an EBITA margin of approximately 30%.

The transaction is expected to close during the March quarter of 2022, subject to relevant regulatory approvals. Sandvik estimates that transaction costs of approximately SEK50 million ($5.5 million) in total will impact Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions in the December quarter.

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.