Tag Archives: mining software

New RIEGL laser scanner apps to speed up mining decision-making process

RIEGL is adding increased user optionality for its VZ-i Series of 3D terrestrial laser scanners with the development of three new mining apps for everyday use, especially in critical situations.

Based on reliable real-time data, these apps allow users to make necessary decisions quickly with sound knowledge of the situation at hand.

RIEGL’s 3D terrestrial laser scanners can be integrated into any network infrastructure by using LAN, Wi-Fi, and LTE interfaces, enabling fully remote operation of the scanners. With the installation of these new customised apps for automatic data acquisition and data processing, the user gets automatic real-time results without any manual interaction.

The Slope Angle App, Design Compare App and Monitoring App are designed for work at remote mining operations.

Thomas Gaisecker, RIEGL Manager Mining Business Division, said: “To optimise their work, the operators of mining machines need to get measurement results in real time. Apps make this possible. The new RIEGL mining apps ensure that they get the data acquired by the scanner immediately, as well as relevant, reliable and accurate deliverables to make prompt and appropriate decisions.”

RIEGL Slope Angle App

Using this app, slope angles are calculated automatically from scan data. Critical slope angles can be highlighted and sent to the user, eg the loader operators. The real-time information helps them keep the slope angles of stockpiles and dump areas within defined limits. Users receive the information on a web browser on every device, which is connected to the mine network. No software installation or processing of the data is necessary. Everything is processed automatically within the app on the scanner, RIEGL says.

RIEGL Design Compare App

The RIEGL Design Compare App allows overcut and undercut measurements to be displayed for the given design model. While undercut is, for miners, a waste of money, overcut can involve major safety risks. With the use of this app, the operation of heavy equipment such as excavators can be optimised to streamline the mining process.

RIEGL Monitoring App

Use of this app is focused on change detection based on a given reference scan. The app allows the detection of movement of eg highwalls long before it is visible to the human eye. The interpretation of the movements through a time series of scans allows the prediction of a possible slope failure. That can truly save lives.

Such predictive powers can ensure the operation has enough time to evacuate people and to remove machinery from endangered areas.

Additionally, RIEGL says it has further optimised its RiSCAN PRO and RiMINING software packages.

The new LIS GeoTec Plugin enables geotechnical analysis of scan data by providing statistical tools within a graphical interface. Besides the calculation of dip direction and dip angle of rockfaces, this allows for the analysis of discontinuities by creating pole plots and colourising the scan data by clusters of similar orientation. This gives specialists a better understanding of stability, joints and faults of the analysed rockfaces, RIEGL says.

“We are ready for the mine of the future,” Gaisecker said. “And what particularly distinguishes our hardware and firmware architecture is that it is open for developers. Using the provided RIEGL documentation, every software programmer can develop his own apps written in Python programming language for the RIEGL VZ-i Series scanners.”

Hexagon adds colour to drill and blast process with HxGN Split HSL

Hexagon has, once again, looked to improve fragmentation analysis within the drill and blast process by adding split colour features to its offering.

HxGN Split provides technologically advanced image-analysis techniques to help mines optimise fragmentation, saving significant costs while improving drill and blast processes, the company says.

New to Split’s solution suite is HSL (Hue, Saturation and Luminance), a colour analysis feature that empowers mine operators with real-time detection of ore types.

“Real-time tracking of product types allows for immediate decision making to optimise rock-size reduction and product-type treatments,” Hexagon says. “The new feature further supports operational efforts to improve product throughput and ore recovery.”

This is important when mining operations are continuing to maximise existing resources, using value-added technologies.

HSL’s key benefits include:

  • The ability to monitor product type blending for optimum processing;
  • Reduce ore dilution by tracking product source mining;
  • Maximise throughput with consistent product delivery to the plant; and
  • Immediately adjust ore recovery treatments based upon product type.

“Hue, Saturation and Luminance values are measured during live plant production and provide a statistically relevant sample required to aid decision making,” Hexagon says. “A colour wheel is applied to the images to provide calculated HSL values for every processed iteration. Evaluation of the Split HSL values are correlated to the mine geologic product types to find the unique image property signatures.”

The HSL values are measured for the image samples to be trended on live operator screens. Step changes in the Split results provide immediate indicators for product type changes that signal the need for operational responses, Hexagon says.

Timely decisions surrounding the operating conditions lead to improved plant throughput and product recovery, while additional detailed measurements for individual rock particles can be measured using the same Split HSL measurements to find the ratios of the product type blends.

The company concluded: “Drill and blast is a notoriously complex, multi-layered process. HxGN Split’s image processing technology delivers high-quality information, ensuring the key step of fragmentation analysis is managed from drill to mill, thus improving mine profits.”

Leading potash miner takes a liking to RPMGlobal’s UGPS software solution

RPMGlobal says it has concluded the first sale of its latest integrated mine planning and scheduling product developed for the underground potash industry.

The first sale of Underground Potash Solution (UGPS) was concluded following completion of a successful trial program with a leading global potash miner who has purchased UGPS to extract greater value from their Canada operations. The sale follows the original release of UGPS to the market in October 2020.

UGPS was launched upon the completion of a development project that included input from global potash producers. The product uses the latest technologies, such as parametric design and scheduling, combined with several optimisation algorithms to create a unique offering specifically for potash operations, RPMGlobal says.

RPM Chief Executive Officer, Richard Mathews, said: “It has been really fascinating working with some of the leading producers in the industry to build a software planning and scheduling solution which addresses the unique challenges faced by the potash industry.

“At RPM, we continually strive to develop innovative solutions that provide a pivotal step change in the resource industry and we are very pleased that our latest integrated mine design and scheduling solution has been endorsed by a leading potash operator in North America.”

UGPS introduces to the market an enterprise application allowing users to rapidly evaluate different mine design scenarios, the company says.

“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, thereby automating the repetitive and time-consuming tasks that can often take a mine planner weeks to perform,” RPMGlobal says.

The intuitive, process-driven interface makes the product easy to use, and, while most mine planning software is driven by customisable coding scripts, UGPS is very different given it is completely script free, according to the company. This feature becomes very important in terms of training and on-boarding new people, enabling each customer to derive immediate benefits following implementation of the product.

Using UGPS, users can complete detailed modelling of their potash deposit in 3D while also 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 advanced scheduling methodology to the scheduling process to suit the practical needs of engineers operating in an underground potash environment,” the company says. “It also incorporates all aspects of the scheduling process in one, making it applicable for design, reserving and scheduling across all horizons.”

Mathews concluded: “As a fully integrated mine planning and design tool, UGPS is tailored to the needs of the underground potash industry and we are looking forward to rolling out UGPS to additional potash operations in 2021.”

PETRA creates new portal for pit-to-port, mine-to-mill optimisation software

PETRA has launched a new portal for its MAXTA suite of pit-to-port and mine-to-mill optimisation software applications as it looks to provide further “mining value chain optimisation” across the sector.

MAXTA Portal supports customers by providing a single log-in access to all their models across multiple operations and along the entire value chain, the company says.

MAXTA software allows engineers to predict, simulate and optimise mining processes. By virtually “re-mining” the orebody, MAXTA machine-learning models provide high accuracy inputs to mine planning (eg dig rates, crusher downtime and throughputs), while the mathematical optimisation layer shows drill and blast engineers and metallurgists which design and setpoints provide the best performance for the specific ore being blasted, or processed, PETRA says.

“A major challenge with mine-to-mill and pit-to-port in mining in the past has been sustaining the value generation beyond six months to a year,” PETRA said. “MAXTA software is a packaged, supported and contextualised solution for mine-to-mill and pit-to-port value chain optimisation. It is designed to support operations by working seamlessly with existing day-to-day workflows and integrates with widely used mine planning and processing applications.”

PETRA claims to be the first company to deliver a software solution addressing this challenge, with MAXTA now delivering “huge value” to mining companies and being used every day by engineers on site.

In response to the need for larger, more complex mining value chain optimisation PETRA recently launched an all-new portal for MAXTA at a launch event in Perth, Western Australia.

MAXTA Portal features an updated way to access all MAXTA Suite applications which build mine-to-mill and pit-to-port value generation into operations, PETRA says.

“Designed with the engineer in mind, it’s modern human-centric user interface is fluid and intuitive,” the company added.

“What this means for users is a more streamlined and efficient experience which can be easily applied across very large, very complex operations,” PETRA said. “MAXTA applications within the suite are capable of fast, accurate predictions, block by block, for an entire orebody and how the downstream value chain processes will behave for various geologies. MAXTA offers one interface for all users across the value chain to target specific areas or processes, even across multiple sites.”

The MAXTA launch also saw the user interface for MAXTAGeomet and MAXTADrill&Blast updated to provide more visualisation and interaction with data, the company said. All MAXTA applications are also now integrated closely with Maptek’s Vulcan mine planning software to facilitate easy and accurate use of the MAXTA results in day-to-day planning, design and decision making, PETRA added.

Minemax to include pit optimisation, pushback generation tools in Minemax Planner 4.3.4

Minemax has released Minemax Planner 4.3.4 that now integrates both pit optimisation and pushback generation functionality in the affordable Standard Edition.

The Pushback Generation capability, which uses minimum mining width for creating practical pushbacks, was previously exclusive to the Professional Edition users.

“Adding Pushback Generation to the Standard Edition makes this strategic mine planning tool a cost-effective solution for developing optimal strategies through Pit Optimization, Nested Pit Shell Generation and Pushback Generation,” the company says. “The easy-to-use interface with guided workflows allows mine planners to keep the setup and optimisation fast and efficient without the need for additional end user training.”

Minemax CEO, Jim Butler, added: “Industry feedback tells us that Pit Optimization and Pushback Generation often go hand in hand in current mine planning practices. This is why we decided to include Pushback Generation into our more affordable edition of Minemax Planner. We believe this will help mine planners keep their strategic mine planning process smooth and efficient at an affordable price.“

In addition, Minemax Planner 4.3.4. now includes an option to automatically calculate the minimum required number of benches to look up when calculating slope precedences. This helps mine planners develop pit shells with accurately configured slopes in less time and with less effort required, the company says.

RPMGlobal’s Strategic Design Optimiser gains traction in North America

RPMGlobal says it has concluded the first sale of its new parametric design product, Strategic Design Optimiser (SDO), following successful beta testing.

RPM originally announced its intention to develop and release its new intelligent design solution to the market in March 2019 and, at the conclusion of a long partnership with a Canada-based mining customer, RPM’s beta testing program successfully showcased SDO’s ability to model strategic high-level stope and development design harnessing the application’s automated workflow, RPM said.

This successful program concluded with the customer purchasing a licence to use the RPM solution.

The main benefits of using SDO include its ease of use, ability to evaluate strategic scenarios quickly and the ability to analyse more scenarios with robust analysis in decision making, according to the company.

SDO includes the Mine Shape Optimiser (MSO), which generates the first pass development using RPM’s Development Optimiser, eliminating the requirement of the user to draw every part of the mine design, RPM says. This allows end users to perform their strategic design work in one package.

With SDO, users can make small tweaks to designs in one area and have those changes reflected through the rest of the design, a task that would otherwise take days in traditional CAD-based packages as each edit would need to be done manually, according to the company.

RPM Chief Executive Officer, Richard Mathews, said the sale was a reflection of the product team’s dedication to successfully bringing SDO to market through strong partnerships and industry collaboration.

“It’s very pleasing to see SDO gaining traction in the North American market, and we are confident this sale will spur further interest in our leading strategic design packages heading into 2021,” he said.

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

The design tool emphasises the visualisation of results on plots, graphs and tables, allowing the user to interpret and select with confidence the best scenarios to bring forward for more detailed designs, RPM says.

Strategic options can then be filtered by the scenarios that maximise value and eliminate unviable scenarios early.

Mathews concluded: “RPM remains committed to providing its customers with the most advanced mining technology solutions and our continued investment in the design and scheduling suite will help ensure mine planners continue to unlock new levels of capability.”

Maptek closes mining value chain with new material tracking tool

Maptek says it has responded to the obvious need for a proactive approach to mine operations reporting with a new live material tracking tool.

Maptek MaterialMRT allows informed decisions to be made in-shift where and when they can make a real difference, the company says.

Mark Roberts, Maptek Group Product Strategy Manager, says the new smart resource tracking and modelling solution closes gaps in the mining value chain.

“MaterialMRT provides quality and quantity control of discontinuous material flows from in-situ rock to run-of-mine stockpiles and feed into the plant,” Roberts said.

It connects the resource model, short-term mine schedules, fleet management systems, survey data and feed quality analysers, according to the company. This should mean material quantity and quality delivered match what was planned, with access to current information around available material making this possible.

MaterialMRT dynamically tracks compliance to plan, reporting on how well the schedule is being met, and whether there are any unplanned movements of material, Maptek says.

“Enabling informed decision making at critical stages allows mines to optimise recovery, and accurately reconcile with the strategic mine plan and resource model,” the company said.

Material movement from pit to plant via the run of mine is usually via truck and shovel, with information from the block model typically lost at this stage, Maptek says. This impacts the bottom line.

Roberts highlighted other challenges facing operations, including poor plant utilisation and product quality; lack of optimisation, dump and rehandle compliance checking; poor resource model reconciliation; and inefficient stockpile management.

“MaterialMRT uses variable composition to model stockpiles, so material parcels carry the block model values right through the mining chain,” he said.

This fine-grained data modelling sets the Maptek solution apart from incumbent weighted average systems improvised using spreadsheets, it says.

MaterialMRT rapidly enables changes to be auto-adjusted, manually corrected, verified and approved, with an audit trail back to the raw values relevant to tonnes and grade. When more up-to-date information becomes available, it can be correlated and presented live to deliver meaningful insights and support value in-use decisions to address issues before it is too late, the company says.

“MaterialMRT, therefore, becomes a tactical planning tool for geologists and engineers,” Roberts said. “They control their per-shift reclaim and blending profiles to optimise feed into the plant, and can confidently deliver on final product, on time, every time.

“All stakeholders and management, from mine site or corporate office, can now identify and quantify the variability of material as it progresses through each stage of mining.”

Measuring and validating actual material movements at every stage during a shift is essential to better plan and manage material movement, according to Maptek.

MaterialMRT consists of a cloud-ready centralised server, web-based user interface and a database optimised for storing arbitrary time series geospatial data. Live dashboards and reports deliver high visibility to easily identify trends within mining processes.

“The MaptekMRT services extend into the beneficiation process and stockpile management through additional capabilities in PlantMRT and StockpileMRT,” Maptek added.

Global software summit explores the future of mining innovation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RPMGlobal adds predictive element to mine maintenance solutions with IMAFS buy

RPMGlobal has entered into a share purchase agreement to acquire Canada-headquartered, inventory optimisation management software company, IMAFS.

As a Software-as-a-Service and cloud-delivered provider of inventory optimisation software, IMAFS has more than 20 years experience developing and selling its flagship IMAFS product, RPMGlobal says.

The IMAFS solution is an inventory management and forecasting software solution that connects to an organisation’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system and uses proprietary artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to greatly improve inventory management, according to the company. The product has been designed and built for the sole purpose of optimising the inventory holdings of large asset-intensive companies.

RPM CEO and Managing Director, Richard Mathews (left, pictured with David Batkin, Executive General Manager – Technology Consulting), said: “We are very pleased to have concluded negotiations to acquire IMAFS and are really looking forward to welcoming the Quebec-based IMAFS team into the wider RPM family. The product is a great fit with the existing RPM product suite and further builds on our cloud and optimisation offerings.”

RPM explained: “In the mining industry, management and optimisation, specifically the maintenance, repair and operational (MRO) inventory is critical to ensuring operational continuity and attainment of production targets.

“The key to accurately forecasting any type of inventory is understanding future demand. Mining MRO inventory optimisation is often a unique challenge to solve due to low volume and/or erratic turnover with long lead times, high component costs and the complex logistics associated with operating in remote locations leading to companies over-stocking parts inventory and tying up capital unnecessarily.”

When it comes to mining, properly managing MRO inventory is vital, RPM says. If the plant, or key pieces of equipment (loaders, trucks, conveyors, etc) stop operating because spare parts are not available, a costly operational problem develops. A poor inventory optimisation process can result in a company ordering inventory urgently due to reactive inventory processes rather than predictive inventory processes.

IMAFS has developed a hosted subscription service that, RPM says, allows inventory data to be extracted from a company’s ERP product or Computer Maintenance Management system and analysed programmatically.

IMAFS’ proprietary and cutting-edge algorithms also include AI logic incorporating parameters such as transport mode, carrier, weather, customs, seasonality, holidays, availability, and many other data points. IMAFS will also identify excess or obsolete stock that can be returned or disposed of, according to RPM.

Mathews added: “Four years ago, we acquired iSolutions because we understood the importance of planning maintenance in parallel with production. AMT stands alone when it comes to forecasting the lifecycle cost of an asset using its dynamic lifecycle costing engine. This real-time engine accurately predicts when customers will require major parts and components.

“In other words, by going back to first principles (as AMT does), we can predict the future demand that can be factored into IMAFS’ advanced AI algorithms. That future demand is the critical piece of the puzzle so that IMAFS can optimise procurement and management of critical parts and components.”

Mathews says the AMT solution is used by the major OEM’s and their dealer network. These organisations can take forecasts from their customers into the IMAFS product, thereby assisting them in optimising their spare parts inventory.

“While we haven’t had a product to do this in the past, we have been involved in a number of discussions with dealers and miners to do exactly this,” he said.

Robert Lamarre, IMAFS Founder, said: “It is immensely pleasing to see the passion emanating from the team at RPM to championing inventory optimisation and cloud-driven enterprise integration. We are convinced that the IMAFS product suite will benefit from increased investment and the sales and marketing support that RPM can offer these products right around the world.”

Following completion, Lamarre will continue his involvement with promoting IMAFS through a third-party business partner authorised to market and distribute IMAFS products to customers in North America outside of mining and resources.

The acquisition is expected to close on November 25, 2020 subject to several conditions precedent and customary completion events.

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.”