Polymathian will be spearheading a A$2 million ($1.5 million) industrial mathematics project funded by industry partners and METS Ignited, and focused on OZ Minerals’ Carrapateena mine in South Australia.
This project will form part of the Industry Growth Centre’s latest Tranche 4 Collaborative Project funds totalling a combined investment of A$6 million, METS Ignited said.
The grant was awarded to Polymathian’s project at OZ Minerals’ Carrapateena copper-gold mine where, in collaboration with OZ Minerals, Downer, Deswik and others, the company is applying industrial mathematics to deploy the world’s first highly automated short interval control (SIC) system for the near real-time optimisation of sub-level cave development and production mining.
Project Lead and Partner at Polymathian, Steven Donaldson, said: “This funding allows us to marry industrial mathematics, automation and mine planning to optimise asset value at Carrapateena and explore how SIC can be done going forward.”
By applying industrial mathematics to the SIC process, the project collaboration automates the optimisation of the mine plan and autonomously dispatches tasks to the underground fleet by responding to live data.
Plans can be updated to respond to dynamic changes in the mine, as live data is received and assumptions change, according to the company. For example, at a weekly level, plans are updated as required for a rolling seven-day window, rather than on a set schedule for a fixed seven-day period. This avoids having fixed weekly plans that are at risk of becoming out-dated.
Matthew Fargher, OZ Minerals’ Senior Engineer for Long Term Planning at Carrapateena, said: “This project pursues a world first in mine planning where the mine plan is autonomously optimised and tasks dispatched in semi real-time to the underground fleet. By doing so, we can potentially remove value destroying constraints such as self-imposed time horizons and subjectivity in decision making to deliver the next best decision.
“We are excited to be a part of the team that’s delivering the blueprint for mine planning and executional change globally.”
Donaldson added: “The potential market for this tool is really quite large as the way we are solving the problem is very generic. We see this solution having potential to optimise operations across all hard-rock underground mines in Australia and globally.”
The project also has the potential to create new jobs at Polymathian including accelerating the growth of its newly opened Perth office.
METS Ignited Chief Executive, Adrian Beer, says the quality and capability of the funding applicants is becoming increasingly more sophisticated, with a number of the solutions having broader applicability across a number of sectors.
“This round of project fund recipients demonstrates just how capable our leading global METS sector is, and what is possible within our local technology sector,” Beer said.
“We are extremely proud of what has been achieved by the project fund recipients to date, and this new addition to the project funding shows that we have a huge potential to build upon.”