First launched in 2018, the Production Optimiser system has been proven to significantly reduce blast hole drilling deviation and rig set-up times in underground mines, resulting in numerous flow-on benefits, including reduced re-drills, reduced dilution, reduced bridging (improved recovery), and greater all-round visibility and accountability across drill and blast performance.
Since its release, the technology has seen strong uptake within the Australian market and further uptake overseas, aided by Australian mining companies acquiring assets in North America and Africa.
The Production Optimiser works hand in hand with the company’s Minnovare CORE software (Client Online Reporting Engine).
Minnovare CORE gives users an online platform and more streamlined workload, making it easier for engineers and drillers to communicate across sites and shifts.
For example, engineers can load drill plans into Minnovare CORE and allocate it to their site’s drill rigs. The data is then reported back to the engineer at the end of the shift.
This makes the process smoother for engineers, allowing them to wirelessly upload actual drill-data directly from the rig, rather than waiting until the end of a driller’s shift to undertake a traditional manual transfer.
Minnovare managing director and co-founder Callum McCracken says implementing the Production Optimiser will significantly improve the productivity and profitability of an underground mine.
“We’ve been continuing to improve and develop our technology, including the Production Optimiser’s mobile (tablet) interface,” McCracken tells Australian Mining.
“As soon as the driller comes within Wi-Fi connectivity, new drill plans are pushed wirelessly to the tablet and importantly, any information captured during the previous shift’s drilling is pushed instantaneously back to the Minnovare CORE platform.
“That not only becomes a platform for the engineer to allocate the plans wirelessly to the rig, but it also becomes a platform for the engineer to assess drilling performance and productivity during the shift.”
Minnovare CORE can be customised to specific sites, allowing miners and engineers to allocate drill plans to specific rigs.
The data collected in Minnovare CORE goes beyond just allocating and recording drill plans, with the company now building in-depth analytics programs into the platform.
“Currently, you have the ability to run what you could call ‘straight-forward’ analytics (such as holes and meters drilled),” McCracken says.
“What we’re developing for the future is additional modules that will make Minnovare CORE a valuable performance analytics tool, as we continue to capture more data from the drilling process.
“If we can create and capture valuable drill-data whilst ensuring data integrity, that data can be used to analyse and improve the entire long hole drilling process and can also be used by other software programs within the mine to make other operations more efficient.”
CORE’s promising future isn’t the only exciting prospect at Minnovare. McCracken says the company has teamed up with clients ahead of launching the new technology.
“From day one, we’ve partnered and collaborated with our clients and this gives us a really great insight into the problems we are solving for them,” McCracken says.
“It gave our clients the ability to have the technology built and designed in a way that’s giving them maximum value and solves their problem.”
Using this philosophy, Minnovare collaborated with clients to test the technology, including at Northern Star Resources’ Western Australian gold operations.
“The results we’ve achieved through that on-site testing have been really exciting for us,” McCracken says.
“It is an enabling technology aimed at underground mining, so we focus on being able to use the same people on the mine site but improve the process and as a result, the performance.”
McCracken says engaging with clients and giving them the tools to improve their work process is one of the most important parts of Minnovare’s approach when developing new technology.
“We can develop the most sophisticated, valuable technology in the world, but if we don’t bring people on that journey, it’s not going to be successful,” he concludes.
This article also appears in the March edition of Australian Mining.