/
Analysis

Mine Planning Solutions in a Single Software Platform

Wed, 10/21/2015 - 13:47

Software solutions have become essential for developing and monitoring all aspects of a mine’s operational processes. Developed by Mintec, MineSight is a comprehensive mine planning software platform, offering integrated solutions for exploration, modeling, design, scheduling, and production. Though the software has been evolving since it was created 44 years ago, 2013 and 2014 have been among its busiest in terms of development, and a range of new modules is a testament to that fact. New features and improvements include the MineSight Decline Design, Room and Pillar, and Schedule Optimizer, among others. The Decline Design was created to save engineers from hours of work and frustration by designing a near-optimal path from a start point to an end point with bearings that match the required constraints. It creates declines that are navigable by underground equipment, thereby satisfying both the gradient and turning requirements. On the other hand, the Room and Pillar tool allows engineers to quickly generate room and pillar designs in regular patterns by combining geotechnical considerations with geometric constraints and produce practical and stable mine layouts.

The company has also invested time and effort into making significant improvements to its platform’s existing applications. For example, the MineSight Schedule Optimizer determines the most productive cut mining sequence to achieve the highest project profitability, and consecutively generates practical short to medium term project schedules. Recent updates to this module include faster multi-period scheduling and material grouping. Together with the MineSight Atlas and the improved Haulage module, Schedule Optimizer represents an essential and integrated planning tool for clients needing a standardized approach to scheduling. In the short-term planning arena, MineSight Atlas offers a resource-based, true calendar approach to multiple activity scheduling. 

It combines design, reserves, scheduling, haulage calculations, routing, and reporting in a single application. It works with multiple block models and makes open-pit and underground mining easier to manage. Paired with Atlas is MineSight’s Sub-Blocking module, which improves block model visualization and accounting, it opens up a world of activity-based scheduling for underground operations. For geologists looking to rapidly build accurate, computerized models directly from drill holes, the MineSight Implicit Modeler can be a major time-saver. These procedures used to be performed by hand and took weeks to finish, but this is no longer the case. Moreover, the MineSight Stope module provides planners with flexibility and control in the design and conceptual level of scheduling for underground stope mining. It handles tasks such as block economic value computation, stope slicing, scheduling, and reserve reporting. Additionally, the company developed the Performance Manager tool to consolidate reporting and mining analytics in near realtime, and in doing so help mines to better understand their data, particularly when it comes to drilling and blasting.

These MineSight programs are not Mintec’s standalone attribute for the mining industry as they can be combined with its other products through a new initiative named the MineSIght Planning Spiral. As part of the Planning Spiral, the Economic Planner tracks life-of-mine schedules, open-pit feasibility, and helps to create Lerchs-Grossman designs. Finally, MineSight Axis manages grade control, reconciliation, as well as drill and blast. These developments come in hand with the recent acquisition of Mintec by the Swedish multinational Hexagon AB, one of the world’s leading providers of measurement, visualization, and design technologies. The synergy of these two companies has resulted in positive augmentations within the solutions that each of them have developed, offering companies greater flexibility when deciding how best to manage their unique mining operations.