Short term planning, long term benefits

The development of a short term planner with a mine design program is moving projects forward.

In the designing of a mine, it is important to factor in how the mine can best be utilised to reach production targets.

When a number of mines are in the mix, running scenarios and evaluations to plan short term mine production is a time consuming process.

To streamline the planning and production process, Maptek has developed Vulcan 8.1 with a Short Term Planner to complement its Vulcan MineModeller.

Speaking to Australian Mining, Vulcan product manager Eric González explained the planning tool and how “it helps in mapping out the way you’ll move the project forward.”

The Short Term Planner allows users to set production targets and the planner works like a predictive tool which identifies the mineral quantities and qualities of a number of projects and it will outline which projects to mine, how much at each and where, as well as the best way to utilise machinery on the ground, he said.

Created as an add on the Vulcan MineModeller, but able to work as a stand alone program, the Short Term Planner uses the surveys and maps from the MineModeller “and is the next step in mine design as it shows how you are best going to mine it,” González said.

The program assists “in reaching targets on a daily and short term basis,” he said.
The MineModeller programs are available in both open pit and underground designs.

These programs provides a set of modeling and designing tools for open pit and underground mine engineers, allowing them to build the mine according to the constraints determined by data such as block models, assay and survey information as well as geotechnical and other planning requirements.

MineModeller also allows for designs to be created freehand or through regular, pre-defined patterns.  

The Short Term Planner is a collection of scheduling modules which allow users to analyse and compare various production scenarios in advance for short to medium term mine planning, working from mine maps created in the MineModeller and data collected from the Phase Generator application within, that automatically calculates tonnage or profit from a block model for multiple pit phases.

One of these is scheduling modules is sequence accumulation reporting, which enables a user to interact directly with block models to generate the level of output that is required. 

On top of this, multiple variable cut off grades can be applied with out having to pre-calculate it.
Scheduling of the blocks is carried across solids without establishing pre-defined cutoffs, using both linear and radial accumulation techniques.  

This accumulation is restricted to a set period of the plan across the mine and plant production targets.
In defining targets, the planning program allows users to configure restrictions for capacities, apply hours of crushing, the product quantity and a number of other variables in the block model to be accumulated. 

It also provides the ability to define stockpiles for multiple products, modify targest, change cutoff. 

As the planning tool does not need pre-defined cutoffs and interacts with block model it has reduced data preparation time for mine planning scenarios.

This allows the user to focus on the generation of plan and evaluating the results, González said. 

It includes the ability to work faster within grade control and includes a new tool which creates a section through a line for unfolding ramps, greater ramp design and other 3D grading designs. 

The new program also contains an underground grade control tool for traditional open pit framework. 

This allows grade control engineers or geologists to apply an automated process to generate results for underground operations. 

The Vulcan 8.1 includes a stope optimiser and a scheduler for open pit mines not designed or created in the Vulcan program. 

The stope optimiser came about with Maptek’s involvement in the PRIMO project, which saw companies come together to invest in researching optimisation tools for underground mining.

The crux of the program is allowing engineers and geologist to speed up the mine design and planning process across a number of projects by using the Short Term Planner to predict a number of different scenarios, allowing for a quick comparison and evaluation, González said.

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