Drill and blast is one of the largest expenses on a mine site, Maptek’s eastern regional sales manager for Vulcan Mark Scholes told Australian Mining.
“The costs involved in drill and blast are often large and if there is the possibility of reducing overhead costs while maximising production, it is important to achieve that outcome,” he said.
“With the current global financial downturn looming over everybody’s heads, it is imperative that there is equipment on the market that can give users more bang for their buck.”
According to Scholes, Maptek’s latest version of Vulcan is embedded with advanced drill and blast capabilities that allow mine planning engineers to save money on everyday tasks.
Vulcan version 8, which will be widely released in the second quarter of 2009, includes options that allows users to preview a drill and blast pattern before it is set, ensuring potential layout problems are ironed out early, saving time on the ground.
“Having all drillhole data at your fingertips has proven to be a popular feature.
“By request, the latest streamlined version allows the information on the datatip to be customised,” Scholes said.
Excessive toe burdens can be handled by adding holes around the perimeter of a blast. Vulcan 8’s new double stitching option allows engineers to insert extra holes midway between previously created blast holes using
the same or completely different hole design parameters.
“The software module presents users with the ability to optimise the drill and blast equipment. By maximising equipment efficiency, explosive consumable costs are reduced and good fragmentation is achieved, reward
ing users with strong production value,” Scholes said.
In a dynamic mine environment, surfaces are always changing. When new survey information becomes available, the effects ripple through to the planning process.
According to Scholes, Vulcan 8 can recalculate the holes in a blast to reflect the new surface immediately.
This ‘automated’ editing is said to save engineers time and reduce the errors that may be introduced when a large number of holes require editing in a short timeframe.
“Vulcan 8 gives engineers the necessary tools to vary designs both quickly and efficiently,” Scholes said.
“Engineers can optimise their blast designs before blasting has even begun. Users can put a few or a lot of explosives in the ground and not achieve a marked difference because there is an optimum number of explosives for each blast.
“Vulcan 8 helps engineers determine that optimum level on-screen before costs are incurred.
“Blast patterns can be trialled quickly and painlessly until the most efficient design is discovered.”
Bit by bit
Vulcan 8 allows users to edit holes as a group or individually.
The software also includes alternatives for maintaining the collar location, or in the case of angled holes the 3D vector, of the blasthole.
Holes can also be selected within a blast by echelon, the direction of rows can be reversed to allow easier manipulation of holes within a blast, and blasts can be renamed.
Scholes said underground engineers appreciate the drillhole warnings that calculate how far a drillhole is from a blast area. The display shows holes which are too close, allowing re-design of drifts if necessary.
“This particular enhancement directly addresses safety and regulatory issues affecting many regions,” Scholes said.
“Safety and productivity are critically important to minesites and this software package helps them achieve both.”
“We are constantly developing the software to improve both these areas.”
Scholes said Maptek has already developed an interface between Vulcan and the company’s other successful product MineSuite.
MineSuite is a fleet management and production monitoring software system that, when combined with Vulcan 8, provides a real time link between the production numbers coming out of the fleet and the drill and blast numbers that are ascertained by the mine planning engineers onsite.
Eastern Regional Sales Manager
02 9957 5554