Manuel Quiroz
Technical Services Supervisor

Software Solutions Allow for Optimal Mine Planning,

Wed, 10/21/2015 - 13:44

Prior to the current age of computerization, geologists and engineers would document and analyze mining processes by hand. Essential data was collated through a combination of timeconsuming procedures, which presented considerable risk for inaccurate information, human error, and, as a result, loss in profits. Nowadays, solutions such as MineSight exist to alleviate these risks. Manuel Quiroz, Technical Services Supervisor of Mintec, explains how MineSight can empower a mining company to optimize its production, “MineSight uses the data obtained from the mine to build a computermodelled, geological interpretation of the deposit. This provides a higher level of control over the grades extracted from the deposits, and allows our customers to plan ahead accordingly.” Accuracy of information is essential for maintaining an efficient and cost-effective mine operation, a resonant concern within the mining industry. Quiroz continues, “Through intelligent analysis of data, and the capability to modify variables within the mine, MineSight significantly expedites the graphing and modelling process, resulting in efficiency improvements across the entire operation.”

MineSight is a modularized system, so clients can select a customized solution to meet their requirements, but another part of MineSight’s flexibility is its ability to work with data from any computerized source. This could be a data port from an active SQL instance or simply an imported spreadsheet. Prior to the full-scale integration of MineSight in a mining operation, a demonstration of the system is performed to familiarize the client with the interface. With a demo system, Mintec is able to train its clients’ employees, either with its own data or with a pre-configured data set specifically designed for training. “Adopting a new computer system can be a daunting prospect for any company, so training is one of the primary elements of our service from the very beginning,” stresses Quiroz.

To complement its selection of training options, Mintec provides every customer with an annual courtesy visit, and is dedicated to maintaining a reliable tech support service. By visiting the mine and interacting with its personnel, the company is able to maintain close relationships with its customers. “The visit is designed to inform them of new developments in our software, perform tech support, listen to their feedback, and update their software to the latest version,” all essential tasks in Quiroz’s opinion. “Our yearly presence at the mine assures the customer of our dedication toward their satisfaction, and provides us with the information that we need to further improve our software.” Now in its fifth decade of business, Mintec has established a strong customer base, both in Mexico and worldwide. Its offices have been situated close to mining sites to support companies such as Grupo Mexico, Mexicana del Cobre, Goldcorp, Agnico Eagle, and Pan American Silver, all of which have implemented MineSight

Such a client list illustrates that MineSight has built up a respectable reputation in the industry, which helped pave the way for Mintec’s recent acquisition by the Swedish multinational, Hexagon AB, one of the world’s leading providers of measurement, visualization, and design technologies. Quiroz is eager to reassure that the company is in good hands. “Since the beginning of the acquisition process, Hexagon assured us that our clients could continue to look forward to the same great service and support that we have always provided. It is an advantageous opportunity for Mintec to provide its services to some of Hexagon’s most high-profile clients, and to become one of the leading companies within its mining division. In fact, MineSight’s Chairman and Founder, Fred Banfield, described the acquisition as opening a “whole new world as we jointly develop products and services with Hexagon for the mining industry.” The main aim of this collaborative partnership is to provide a seamless, integrated link between mine planning and realtime fleet management which is configurable to client needs and requirements. Hexagon has been primarily active in the operations domain, but by integrating the planning, scheduling optimization, and daily production capabilities of MineSight, its mining division will be able to close the loop, controlling the data flow between mine design and planning, right through to production. To begin with, the Hexagon Mining group will account for a little less than 5% of Hexagon’s total sales turnover. However, Hexagons President and CEO, Ola Rollén, sees a bright future, estimating that Hexagon Mining will eventually grow to between 10-15% of total sales. The combination of MineSight’s planning and scheduling features and Hexagon’s experience in the flow of operations should result in numerous benefits for Mintec’s clients.

As mining practices and technologies evolve at a rapid pace, software has to adapt in order to retain its relevance. Part of this process is dependent on customer feedback, explains Quiroz. “There is always room for improvement. Our clients are using MineSight in the field every day, so their feedback is a fundamental factor when considering our future stages of development.” Like Mintec, its competitors are constantly working hard to produce better products, but through its continuous development of new MineSight features and its profitable synergy with Hexagon AB, Mintec is confident about sustaining its bright future in the mining industry