Tag Archives: mining software

Sandvik adds new layers to iSURE underground rock excavation software

Sandvik is looking to further optimise the drilling and blasting process with an updated version of its iSURE® underground rock excavation software.

iSURE, Sandvik says, works seamlessly with its i-series drill rigs, providing accurate analysis functionality to improve the work cycle and process. It has evolved into a renowned computer program for tunnelling construction and mining drill and blast process control, helping produce the data needed for optimising the drilling and blasting cycle.

iSURE 8.0 added a template-based drill and blast plan generation tool that considered rock blastability, tunnel profile quality target and explosives used, not forgetting designer capability to easily edit and tune the result based on the feedback of the drill and blast process, Sandvik says. iSURE 8.1 builds on this, including an in-built three-day training program to cover steps from simple concepts to the more advanced cases.

A key development sees iSURE 8.1 having a toolset for specifically covering “advanced metrics”. This helps the user increase knowledge and reveal points of improvement in face drilling rigs usage and in the tunnel excavation drill and blast process via producing high level key performance indicators from collected rounds and respective design data. These consist of production, realised schedule and heuristics analysis of the data addressing the feedback received regarding version iSURE 8.0. They are targeted to improve excavation (face drilling) production capability, plan future activities such as new projects, and to raise awareness when problems or difficulties occur.

The new and existing features found with iSURE 8.1 are designed to improve the entire drill and blast process through data collection. It will also hint if any rig adjustment is required, or if rig misuse is suspected. It shows the change in rock mass drillability, drill steel consumption, face shape after blasting and scaling, any operator deviation from the plan while drilling, and, based on scanner data, the realised profile and production volume. All this results in improved production and productive feedback that can be assessed and built upon, empowering the entire drill and blast process, the company says.

iSURE 8.1 is not the final development of this solution from Sandvik. New improvements and developments are planned based on further sharing of knowledge and experience with customers and drill and blast professionals globally, the company says.

Currently, iSURE is used with Sandvik’s i-series face drilling rigs, the original construction i-series and newer bedrock-style i-series, TCAD+ and bolting instruments.

RPMGlobal introduces ‘industry first’ Hybrid Scheduling tool to XPAC Solutions

RPMGlobal has unveiled its next evolution of mine scheduling software with the latest release of its leading suite of scheduling products, XPAC Solutions.

The latest release includes speed and performance upgrades and functionality and architectural improvements designed to provide the user with additional agility.

However, it is the introduction of Hybrid Scheduling in XPAC 3.1 that is already generating excitement, according to the company.

Hybrid Scheduling is, RPM claims, an industry first that provides users with the flexibility of manual scheduling, together with the time savings and ease of automated scheduling.

For many years, XPAC Solutions have allowed users to start scheduling manually then seamlessly transition to automatic scheduling at any point. With Hybrid Scheduling, users can define the high-level strategy, such as the timing of shovel moves or opening of a new pit and leave the AutoScheduler to work out the detail.

The Hybrid Scheduling functionality includes a major update to the user interface that completely turns the traditional iterative scheduling workflow on its head, according to RPM.

Users no longer need to process the entire schedule every time they make an adjustment to the configuration. They can now step through the schedule incrementally, pausing at key milestones and refining the schedule as they go.

With most scheduling software products on the market requiring users to choose one of either manual or automatic mode, XPAC Solutions’ Hybrid Scheduling functionality gives mine planners the best of both worlds – the ability to schedule both manually and automatically which can be used across all solutions in any combination, RPM says.

RPMGlobal Chief Technology Officer, Paul Beesley, said the release of XPAC 3.1 represented a major step-change in the industry’s approach to planning and scheduling.

“XPAC Solutions 3.1 gives mine planners more flexibility and capability than ever before which is critical for the dynamic environment in which mines operate,” he said.

“Key scheduling decisions can be made manually, while the detail of how those decisions will be achieved is determined automatically. Importantly, all three methods are performed simultaneously in an interactive, highly visual environment that integrates 3D animation, Gantt charts and task sequences.

“Planners can pause the schedule at any point and visualise the status of the mine and key equipment so it’s much faster to build practical, efficient dig sequences for all major equipment.”

The latest upgrade to XPAC Solutions includes major speed and performance enhancements across the process. Data compaction and caching techniques make it much faster to load complex 3D data into memory and virtually eliminates any further delays when the plot is revisited, the company says.

Among other improvements, the new version allows delays associated with equipment relocations to be inserted automatically with durations based on the distance that must be travelled.

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’s enterprise mining software solutions win SAP seal of approval

RPMGlobal says it has demonstrated its ongoing commitment to its SAP partnership and providing interoperable, enterprise software solutions to the mining industry after receiving an SAP integration certification for its enterprise product offerings.

The integration green light was provided by SAP certifying that RPM’s enterprise solutions can integrate with SAP S/4HANA and SAP S/4HANA Cloud Extended Edition using standard integration technologies. These certifications further support RPM’s development of cloud enabled solutions, the company said.

RPM and SAP have been working together for well over a decade and RPM secured the latest designation following a detailed process whereby separately deployable components were put through stringent qualification procedures to earn the integration approval, it explained. This entailed RPM’s integration connectors and product architecture being scrutinised by SAP’s development laboratory.

The SAP certification is a significant indication of the technical alignment and interoperability capabilities between the solutions, according to RPM. It will will enable the exchange of information between SAP and RPM’s enterprise product offerings which span the entire mine lifecycle, from design and scheduling, through to maintenance and finance.

Paul Beesley, RPM’s Chief Technology Officer, said the SAP certification was a significant endorsement of the company’s quality technical infrastructure which underpins its enterprise offerings.

“RPM remains committed to a robust software integration strategy that builds complimentary products to support the SAP technology stack,” he said. “This enables our customers to have a smooth and direct flow of business data between SAP solutions and our software offerings so it’s very rewarding to receive this additional certification.”

With more mining operations implementing digital transformation initiatives, connecting disparate systems to foster the exchange of critical information is an industry imperative, Beesley added.

With enterprise integration forming a core part of RPM’s philosophy from the beginning, Beesley said the recent certification builds upon the company’s ongoing commitment to working with SAP.

“SAP remains the industry standard for Enterprise Resource Planning software used by mining companies,” he said. “This certification ensures our current and future customers can integrate operational technology with business processes to achieve a connected mining enterprise that provides a single source of truth across the organisation.”

Minemax opens up access to mine scheduling software

Minemax has released a new version of its integrated strategic mine planning and scheduling software, Scheduler, that brings advanced scheduling into its cost-effective Lite edition.

Minemax Scheduler 7.0.4 will allow Minemax Scheduler Lite users to model various strategic decisions, previously exclusive to Minemax Scheduler Professional users, according to the company.

“With this added capability, Lite users will be able to model more complex mine planning environments,” it said. Examples of this include modelling multiple processing plants, deciding optimal material paths to various alternative destinations, and determining optimal cutoff grades.

“In all instances, Minemax Scheduler’s scheduling engine analyses these decisions together with the extraction sequence, haulage, stockpiling and blending to generate a plan that honours all constraints,” Minemax said. “This gives mine planners a very powerful tool that evaluates numerous scenarios for their strategic mine plan, all within one single optimisation run.”

Minemax CEO, Joe Kraft, said: “We are very excited about this new development in Minemax Scheduler. With this version, we are making the premier strategic schedule optimisation software more accessible to a range of budgets. This product is a must-have for any mining business seeking to achieve maximum value from their mine strategy.”

In addition, Minemax Scheduler 7.0.4 includes functionality and efficiency enhancements in pit/dump group definition, 3D visualisation and reporting, the company said.

“With respect to performance, the previous CPU core limit has been removed from Minemax Scheduler’s optimisation engine, which can now utilise more CPU cores than before,” it added. “This may result in faster solve times for projects, allowing planners to achieve more in less time.”

Maptek looks back on 40 years of mining software advances

Maptek is looking back on its roots, 40 years after geologist Bob Johnson laid foundations for the company to become a leading provider of innovative software, hardware and services for the mining industry.

In the mid-1970s, Johnson opened a small bureau service above a row of shops in suburban Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, to computerise coal seam drafting. That venture was the precursor to Maptek, which today develops, sells and supports innovative mining solutions to more than 20,000 users worldwide.

In 1981, Johnson then formed a company to allow customers to do their own computer work. That became Maptek, which today employs 350 staff in 18 offices to support a customer base including the world’s biggest mines across more than 90 countries.

“The transformation from startup to global technology developer did not happen overnight,” Maptek founder Johnson acknowledges, as he reflects on what defines Maptek today. “Innovation results from many small increments – it rarely happens from an epiphany.

“We started off by computerising the plotting of boreholes and mapping of coal deposits, which, until then, was a very tedious manual process. People were asking if it worked for all commodities, not just coal, and I realised we needed to put the software in the hands of the users. This was how Maptek came about.”

Johnson states that Maptek sets and continuously strivers to hit a high standard.

“Early computing in the 1980s was the breeding ground for automating manual tasks and it was a challenge to convince some people to replace existing practices,” he said. “Tradition dies hard!

“Maptek integrated multiple steps in the computerisation of mining applications. In this way we were able to own the workflow and it’s probably key to why our first customer, BHP Coal, remains a customer today.”

He added: “Do something different and stay in front is a guiding principle that remains a key business value for Maptek.”

Fast forward to 2021 where CEO Eduardo Coloma is embracing the vision, with a long-term technology development roadmap to deliver state-of-the-art solutions and exceptional customer experience, the company says.

“Maptek intends to stay ahead by continuing to be a disruptive influence and affect change for the betterment of the mining industry,” Coloma says.

The new Mining 4.0 paradigm has five characteristics, according to Coloma.

“Vast amounts of data; delivering that data to the right people at the right time; efficient data storage and universal access to it; using technology for computationally-intensive tasks; and data-driven decision making…all need to be balanced,” he said. “Add to that the challenges that the pandemic unleashed!”

He added: “With challenge comes opportunity. Miners are continually on the lookout for smarter processes.

“Maptek was conceived 40 years ago at the start of the digital revolution. Customers today have an ever-growing appetite for technologies to enable digitalisation and automation. They are not afraid of new technology and look to us to lead them.

“It’s not just technology that is fast-evolving, the people and organisations who consume it must also be open to adopting new ways of working. Digitalisation has provided the conduit for data to be universally accessible and dynamically updatable.

“We want to make sure our customers get the most of their data, sharing it across the organisation in such a way that everyone benefits. Data is being democratised!”

A data-driven culture embraces systems which are robust, repeatable and user-independent, according to Coloma.

“Crucially these systems meet the needs of a mobile, shift-based and geographically dispersed workforce,” he said.

“We build technology solutions that allow our customers to turn their data into knowledge and use that knowledge to support business improvement. We provide an automated decision support ecosystem…they provide their individual experience and intuition to make that knowledge relevant to their business.

“Already we are exploiting machine learning and digital twinning to connect the planning cycle to production performance data for comparing performance against plans.”

With fewer barriers to extending technology within mines, companies are looking at the entire value chain to make improvements. Maptek can help connect processes, functions and data to enable more accurate, predictable and profitable operation of mines, it says.

In closing, Coloma explains why Maptek is well placed to help mining companies use their data as a bridge to continuous improvement.

“Our unique culture, instilled by our founder Bob Johnson, gives staff a great amount of freedom to be innovative,” he said. “It fosters imagination everywhere and is the key to continued success.

“We give our customers the freedom to dream and ask for solutions to their real world problems.

“Our enduring relationships with customers are hugely important in our ability to solve these challenges. Bob mentioned our first customer, who remains a customer today. But accepting that change is inevitable is a reminder to us not to rest on tradition.”

RPMGlobal helps optimise bulk miners’ value chain with latest XECUTE update

RPMGlobal has upgraded its advanced mine scheduling software, XECUTE, with a Demand Chain Optimiser (DCO) module that optimises the flow of material required to satisfy customer orders all the way back to the mine for those mining bulk commodities.

The company says it has been working with miners around the globe to bridge the gap between operational planning and customer demand, with this latest update taking the collaboration to a new level.

DCO, RPMGlobal says, removes many of the value chain challenges that can arise for miners with an integrated supply chain, such as coal operations or iron ore operations in the Pilbara.

The XECUTE short-term scheduling solution enables miners to maximise value through intelligent integration by connecting the mine plan to other departments systems, according to RPMGlobal.

RPMGlobal Chief Executive Officer, Richard Mathews, said the latest release of XECUTE was focused on bridging the gap between what the customer orders, and what the mine produces.

“Mining companies understand the risks of not having an optimised value chain in place, with bottlenecks and constraints that limit shipped throughput causing significant problems for both the miner and the customer,” he said.

RPMGlobal worked closely with a major Pilbara iron ore producer to develop the DCO module, with significant time spent refining the algorithms to ensure XECUTE fulfilled each customer’s order by blending product from many stockpiles.

The unique DCO functionality enables XECUTE users to define a list of specific product or cargo builds, the qualities and quantities required and the date by which the shipment must be completed. DCO’s optimisation algorithms then allow the quality of each build to converge to the target in time for completion, avoiding off-specification penalties and demurrage costs, it said.

The algorithms allow out-of-specification material to be blended to the required grade, increasing the quantity of saleable product available and maximising the net present value of the mining and supply chain operations, according to the company.

“By automating a process that was previously iterative and time consuming, mine planners see the downstream impact of changes to mining or processing and can react quickly to changing berthing schedules or unplanned events,” the company explained.

Mathews said: “In order to ensure continuity of operations in changing market conditions, operations need to invest in integrated systems and processes that maximise planning efficiency and satisfy customer orders which is exactly what XECUTE achieves.”

RPMGlobal has also made improvements to the grade control capabilities within XECUTE by integrating with an operation’s existing grade control process to allow rapid inclusion of grade control shapes and qualities. This ensures planners are using the most accurate information to plan, it said.

Planners have the option in XECUTE to use the grade control shapes directly as mining areas, but also have the flexibility to define mining areas independently to take multiple grade control shapes in the one task or include areas that do not yet include grade control information.

Mathews concluded: “Typical grade control processes force planners to use only the shapes that have already been defined, but don’t necessarily allow the flexibility to dig areas that don’t have those grade control shapes, and that’s what we’re doing in the latest release of XECUTE.

“Early feedback from clients has been positive as no other tool on the market provides the same level of flexibility and sophistication when it comes to optimising the customer demand chain.”

Uptake bolts on ShookIOT for improved analytics in asset-intensive industries

Uptake has acquired Edmonton, Alberta-based ShookIOT, a leader in cloud-native data integration and integrity, strengthening its capabilities, it says, to accelerate digital transformation in asset-intensive industries.

Bridging the data gap between operational technology and information technology, the ShookIOT and Uptake combination simplifies data migration for easy deployment of Uptake’s Industrial AI applications, it said.

“The chemical, oil and gas, and process industries can now cost effectively clear the primary obstacle in the pursuit of digital transformation: the liberation of clean time-series data from individual assets to the cloud enabling advanced analytics and augmented decision making,” Uptake said.

Uptake recently partnered with Symboticware to provide mining companies with an end-to-end, integrated artificial intelligence (AI) and data science solution to increase the productivity of mobile mining equipment.

“For AI to make good on its promise to the industrial world, operators must be able to unlock data from disparate sources to support frontline decision making with simple, actionable, and secure software,” Kayne Grau, President of Uptake, said. “Integrating ShookIOT software within Uptake’s applications optimises the preparation of industrial data for precision analytics. By combining forces, we advance our leading position in this vital software-as-a-service category, enhancing the speed with which we deliver greater reliability, safety, and productivity to industrial operators.”

ShookIOT was founded by Leanna Chan and Dr Dave Shook, two former Matrikon (now a part of Honeywell Advanced Solutions) executives who led the development of data ingestion software for asset-intensive industries.

Responding to the opportunity of the cloud for industrial connectivity, ShookIOT specialises in data collection for enterprise-wide digital workstreams, providing data management and industrial intelligence software to global process companies, Uptake said.

Dr Shook, who is taking on the role of Chief Data Officer at Uptake, said: “Data portability and integrity are the foundation of Industry 4.0, yet many companies – solution providers and operators alike – have struggled to unlock the power of their data, limiting the future value of industrial intelligence through restrictive pre-modelling, drawn-out implementation, and poor cybersecurity.

“We are excited to join Uptake and expand our impact in empowering data integrity and adoption of Industrial AI for asset-intensive companies around the globe.”

The combined offerings of Uptake and ShookIOT are available via direct deployment or through the Microsoft Azure marketplace. Products include Uptake Fusion Powered by ShookIOT, enabling scalable cloud data historian capabilities, as well as Uptake Connectors and Uptake Elevate for easy connectivity and integration.

Uptake Lenses, a vendor-neutral object model that organises, unifies, and contextualises industrial data, is also offered as a supporting component of Uptake Fusion.

Uptake added: “Empowering organisations to move industrial data from one site to many, and operational data from many sites to one, the combined offerings provide company-wide visibility into performance at the component, asset, process, plant, and enterprise levels. Once in the cloud, data is prepared for operational applications, including Uptake’s Industrial AI, to assure production levels and quality, prevent unplanned downtime, and mitigate operational risk.”

The acquisition of ShookIOT comes soon after the news of Uptake’s partnership agreement with RCI to strengthen reliability-centred maintenance for asset-intensive industries.

RPMGlobal helps Gübre Fabrikaları achieve gold reserve first at Gübretaş Söğüt in Turkey

RPMGlobal’s Consulting & Advisory division has expanded its local presence in Turkey in conjunction with the successful completion of a resource and reserve estimate for the local Gübretaş Söğüt gold project.

The company’s local Advisory division has grown its in-country capabilities, having welcomed Egemen Saygın to the role of Senior Mining Engineer and Tunahan Kılıç in the position of Consulting Geologist.

Collectively, the pair bring a high level of industry experience across exploration, operation and consulting to the Advisory team, further positioning RPMGlobal for success in the next phase of its market growth within Turkey, the company said.

RPMGlobal says it recently completed the first resource and reserve public disclosure for the high profile Gübretaş Söğüt gold project on the Borsa Istanbul Stock Exchange (BIST), in line with the recommendations of both the JORC Code and UMREK Code.

This marks the very first time a Turkish-listed company released a statement of mineral reserves on the BIST under UMREK, which was made compulsory in 2019, according to the company.

RPMGlobal was engaged as an independent estimator for Gübre Fabrikaları’s emerging gold project, considered one of the largest high-grade undeveloped gold projects in Turkey with significant upside potential.

Philippe Baudry, RPMGlobal’s Executive General Manager—Advisory Services, said: “The company is continuing to see opportunities supporting Turkish companies in a number of areas as the country’s mining industry undergoes a resurgence.

“Our team of experts on the ground are fielding queries from companies for our knowledge and support in the preparation of mining studies and compliance reports which is a reflection of our solid reputation and quality offerings in these important areas of project development.”

Baudry added: “The recent expansion of our Turkey team reflects a critical part of our strategy to grow our market share across the region through the provision of a strong local presence, and our Turkish office provides the perfect base to serve clients in the region around Turkey while giving them access to RPMGlobal’s global capability.”

RPMGlobal remains committed to providing expert advice and solutions to Turkey’s mining industry, recently becoming a corporate member of local industry organisation YERMAM (The Earth Sciences, Mining and Metallurgy Professionals Association of Turkey). It is also one of the few consulting firms with its own in-house UMREK Qualified Persons in Turkey, leading to increasing market demand for the company’s expertise in the preparation of JORC and UMREK compliance reports and NI-43-101 for equity market reporting, it said.

Baudry said Turkey’s growing pipeline of projects and strong levels of exploration would lead to continued acceleration of demand for the company’s expertise in independent assessment, governance and financier due diligence services.

Inspire Resources and MineRP to collaborate on new digital mining tools

Inspire Resources and MineRP have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together on creating new digital tools for each others platforms.

The agreement is expected to lead to the development of tools for both the Mineral Impulse™ business model and the MineRP platform.

Inspire Resources is a Canada-based corporation formed in 2019 to implement a new mining-centred business model for community-owned development projects. Its current focus is transforming the design process for speed, flexibility, transparency and community participation.

“We are consulting to mining company clients who are looking for imaginative new approaches,” the company explains.

It added: “We are preparing for a time when the community becomes the customer for Mining-as-a-Service (MaaS), and we intend to be the first MaaS prime contractor.”

MineRP, meanwhile, is an independent software vendor focused on the development of a platform that serves the mining industry through integrating all mine technical systems into a single spatial temporal platform. The company is in the process of being taken over by Epiroc.

Inspire Resources President, Andy Reynolds, said: “Our discussions with MineRP began even before we incorporated Inspire Resources; we share a positive outlook on transformative opportunities in mining, and this collaboration will be a very welcome boost to the start-up path for Inspire Resources.”

Pieter Nel, CEO of MineRP, added: “MineRP realises that creating and sustaining real value to mines requires an ecosystem of partners. We are delighted to partner with mines and innovative companies like Inspire Resources to bring solutions focused on the interests of both mines and communities to the industry.”