By Yvonne Andiva and Torah Onyango
Mines have continued to face higher costs and the additional recent drop in commodity prices has not helped. The two factors have put pressure on margins and this has put greater urgency for the need to cut costs in order to survive.
Efficiency has become the new catch phase and the use of computerized processes has become more popular as mine operators seek to optimize production processes.
Mining software has found use in field data handling, mine surveying, geology, mine planning and production scheduling. In fact computerization can be adapted to virtually every process in mining where data can be acquired and translated into useful undertakings.
The use of computerization has further led to greater automation of mining processes with the aim of bringing about not only greater efficiencies but also increased safety and production overall as processes can be run round the clock by just a handful of operators in a control centre.
Software strategies are the future and promise to take away speculation and intuition and usher in better design and execution of mining processes and even offering better projections of mine productivity and profitability.
Carlson Geology and Underground Mining
Founded in 1983, Carlson Software specializes in CAD design software, field data collection, and machine control products for the land surveying, civil engineering, construction, and mining industries worldwide, providing one-source technology solutions from data collection to design to construction. Carlson Software’s renowned dedication to customer service is unique in the industry.
Carlson Geology is used to manage drillhole data for both Stratigraphic and block modeling, plus calculate strata models. The process from importing drillholes, validating the data and modeling the ore to reserve calculations is seamless. For drillholes, Carlson Geology enables users to: Produce accurate models, Automate data, Turn out reports quickly & easily, Differentiate by quality & tonnage and analyze for compliance
Utilizing correlated and validated drillhole data to generate isopach maps complete with custom colors and naming supports all the major geological modeling techniques, including triangulation, inverse distance, Kriging, polynomial and least squares. Calculate the reserves for each pit and bench instantly with the 3D Surface History and play it back in real time with 3D mine simulations.
The Carlson Underground Mining module enables users to individualize their design with: Choice of pillar designation and preferred method of locating pillars and rib lines, Ability to choose ventilation directions including automatically placing stops, man-doors and escape ways, Option to enter mine survey notes by azimuth or in a spreadsheet-type dialog and the use of full array of mine symbols from the Mine Symbol Library or ability to define your own to create the final map.
Timing is everything. Carlson’s timing routines provide valuable information to help assign equipment to reduce idle time and increase production rates by avoiding illogical, delaying layout elements and precedence. Retreat mining may be part of the schedule, splitting the panels by advance and retreat. Retreat mining can also be included in the scheduling, splitting the panels by advance and retreat.
All of this is accomplished with Carlson Software’s renowned ease-of-use, thereby increasing efficiency and savings.
Improving Mine Production Management and Reconciliation using InSite software
Today, Africa’s mining industry is dealing with greater economic uncertainty, downward pressures on commodity demand and prices. This is leading many of its mining companies, like many in the rest of the world, to seek out solutions which will enable them better manage production and reconciliation with the objective of controlling costs and improving mine and plant efficiencies.
The largest global supplier of mining software, Gemcom Software (acquired in July 2012 by Dassault Systèmes, the 3DEXPERIENCE Company) and known as the new brand GEOVIA, recently released InSite 4.3, the latest version of its mine production management and reconciliation software solution. InSite provides clean, auditable production information from both the mine and the plant. This information is used to provide confidence in the quality and quantity of mined stocks.
In InSite, all activities are traceable and allow mining staff to accurately understand what has occurred in the mine over any time period. All planned activities can be stored and compared against the actual production data, allowing for prompt reconciliation. Variances can be analyzed and reconciliation allows for discrepancies to be managed. Continuous process improvement is possible with visibility into where variances of all sizes– both positive and negative – occur.
InSite provides greater confidence in the accuracy of their monthly production. The mine and wash plant have visibility of the variances between plan and actual. Visual representation of mining progress helps to validate activity hours and provide accurate reporting to contractors.
Many mine sites are currently managing production and reconciliation processes through spreadsheets. Unfortunately, this leads to information inaccuracy and the lack of ability to capture all data about mining and plant activities. It also means that the ability to share and utilise information effectively is limited and slow; reconciliation processes can take a week or more. With InSite, production data can be trusted, and end of month reconciliation is reduced to less than a day.
Triple Point Technology Metals and Mining Software Solution Suite Overview
Triple Point’s metals and mining software solution suite helps companies reduce operational, logistical, marketing, and commercial costs by optimizing and automating the management of complex supply chains that include multiple mines, stockpiles, transport legs/modes, and ports. Triple Point is the only company with a solution that enables companies to optimize the entire mining supply chain from “pit” to the point of export, import, or consumption.
Developed by specialists with years of mining experience, Triple Point’s solution suite offers rich functionality that is unparalleled in its breadth and depth. Extensive integration capabilities ensure that it works seamlessly with numerous third party solutions including control, enterprise resource planning (ERP), transportation, laboratory, truck dispatch, and geological modeling systems.
Triple Point’s metals and mining solution suite includes:
Pit to Port®
A supply chain decision support systemenabling management to plan, record, track, optimize, account, reconcile, and report the tonnage, quality, and value of materials from the mine to the point of export or consumption. Pit to Port synchronizes operations, logistics, marketing, and commercial functions for a transparent view of export, import, and domestic supply chain operations across the enterprise.
An award-winning integrated bulk terminal management system that manages the complexities of stockyards, inter-modal transportation, and vessels while ensuring equipment is scheduled and utilized efficiently. PortVu integrates terminal operations with suppliers, customers, transport providers, agents, laboratories, and other partners through the use of a common platform. PortVu can be interfaced to a terminal control system to provide necessary information on stockpile position for yard equipment instructions, task and route management, vessel load and hatch plans, and belt weightometers for accurate data reconciliation and reporting.
An advanced planning and scheduling system enabling complex supply chains to be modelled, planned, and scheduled simply and efficiently. The solution utilizes a business rules-based engine coupled with manual and automated scheduling mechanisms for optimized planning and scheduling based upon site-specific sets of strategies and weighted key performance indicators. Horizon can be used across the entire supply chain, or for specific processes and functions including terminal stockyard asset utilization and inventory management.
A stockpile management solution that tracks and visualizes parcels of material in three dimensional spaces. Dynamically models stockpile tonnage, grade, and value in real-time to enable proactive grade management and optimize process plant configuration, blend planning, and reclamation/load planning. SMS3D delivers extremely accurate tonnage and quality forecasts, and simplifies blend planning to ensure deliveries are within specification.
Algosys Metallurgical Accountant™
This powerful enterprise metal accounting solution delivers comprehensive, timely, and validated information to support decision-making, reduce risk, maximize profitability, and ensure compliance. A fully automated solution for periodically issuing and safe keeping production reports for all mineral and metal processing plants. Metallurgical Accountant records and preserves the integrity of each dataset from its initial raw status to its final transformation into official production figures.
Triple Point also offers bulk vessel freight chartering and coal trading and risk management solutions for more broad-based mining companies. Consulting and supply chain management training is also available through Triple Point’s QML Services division.
Triple Point services customers from 15 offices and support centers across the globe. Offices are located in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa as well as in three cities across Europe, five cities in Asia Pacific, and five cities throughout the Americas.
Minemap pty. ltd
Since 1976 mining and exploration companies worldwide have been using MineMap software to develop cutting edge solutions for their exploration and mining requirements.
The results of using MineMap software speak for themselves. They include: ease of use; accuracy; improved automate tasking capability; improved data management for mining and exploration; improved geological modeling; enhanced mine planning, surveying and production management; increased productivity; improved powerful 3d graphic interface; live plan/section plotting, files update with latest changes when reopened; improved skill sets; multilingual capability to meet international requirements; improved environmental management; enhanced systems integration and improved data security and auditing capability and where possible tailored client specific features as well as regular software updates.
MineMap IMS (Intelligent Mining Software) Solution is the world’s first fully integrated mining software system allowing mining professionals the flexibility to rapidly respond to changing conditions, making decisions using cutting edge mining software features including geological modeling, optimization, mine design, scheduling and reconciliation.
With changes in professional staff mining and exploration companies rely on MineMap software’s ease of use to ensure new users are operational quickly. To assist in this MineMap provides basic online training free of charge.
IMS allows ease data validation and management aiding geologists and engineers to: Improve geological modeling, ore resource and reserve calculations, develop more effective mine plans, make more informed decisions, improve compliance to regulations like JORC, SAMREC and NI 43-101.
Through the use of enhanced software tools for: data management; exploration functions – enhanced DHT (drill hole trajectory and management module);geological modeling and optimization functions; resource/reserve reporting pit optimizations mine design – open pit and underground; blast hole and ring design; scheduling; and reconciliation.
MineMap was the first to develop a fully integrated Lerch Grossman Algorithm, (Lerch) enabling companies to undertake multiple bankable feasibility study rapidly with ease. Lerch allows rapid evaluation of optimal open pit configurations using the proven Lerch Grossman algorithm considers final pit slopes, mining costs and production revenues.
Since its inception MineMap software has been setting the standard in geological modeling and mine planning for laminar/stratified ore deposits thus unlocking their true value. They offer, where possible, software tailoring specific to their client’s needs assisting them in reach their corporate goals.
Overall IMS helps geologist and engineers optimize their ore body, improve mine design, minimize ore dilution and ore loss increasing profitability in to-days demanding business environment and at a cost far less than their competitors.
RungePincockMinarco (RPM) is a leader in the provision of software solutions to the global mining industry. They help mining professionals understand how to structure their long and short-term operations efficiently through best-practice and customized solutions. This in turn drives better business plans, improvements in mining operation practices, and ultimately allows our clients to maximize the potential of their valuable assets. RPM develops and continually improves their software products to account for industry changes and anticipate future technology needs.
RPM’s mining software has been at the forefront for more than 30 years and continues to be sought after globally for mine planning and optimization. In the current environment, miners are pushing for higher levels of software integration across their systems in an effort to reduce costs. In consultation with their blue chip clients, RPM have developed a roadmap to facilitate greater software integration in a fragmented environment, specifically to allow greater interaction between applications.
With a skills shortage continuing to affect the industry, RPM’s latest generation of software addresses these concerns by building specific commodity and mining method solutions with in-built mining intelligence that removes the need to have these niche skills, opening up mine planning to a wider audience. This means that users spend less time learning the software and more time planning their mines.
MineGeo has the CAD facilities lacking in mine planning software and the mining facilities lacking in standard CAD software. They are so efficient with computer resources that it will run on the lower end Tablet PC’s, notebooks or desktops with standard graphics cards running any MS Windows software.
They are an integrated suite of software which includes :- Import capabilities from DXF or Surpac string format files, live 3D litho logy data capture tools, capture of Sample/Geotechnical data with Litho logy and ‘Q’ parameters for each ‘from-to’ exported as pseudo drill hole data, Mining ‘face’ parameters at 3D location, output of parameters used for creating face positions when no survey is available for the surface being mapped, export of litho logy geometry (with attributes) as intelligent string files (which import into your mine planning system.)Plus extensive CAD utilities to aid capture and presentation output.
Using Microsoft Excel you setup/modify your own menus to be used in the software and hence the standards for your unique site lithology/geotechnical legends, standards, people names and other parameters. You can scan or photograph old manual mapping information and include the images just as you would a photograph. So you can use MineGeo geology mapping software to catch up with any backlog of old manual sketches or plans.
Oniqua mro analytics
Oniqua MRO Analytics is a leading provider of analytics-based MRO (maintenance, repair and operations) software solutions that optimize the performance of large organizations in mining, oil and gas, utilities, process manufacturing, transportation and other asset-intensive industries. With integrated capabilities that fine tune equipment performance, maintenance effectiveness, inventory management, procurement effectiveness, supplier performance and overall MRO supply chain effectiveness, Oniqua is the only provider of analytics-based software solutions to optimize asset performance across the full spectrum of inbound MRO maintenance and supply chain activities.
Oniqua Analytics Solution (OAS) – Oniqua’s flagship software application – takes data from ERP, EAM and other transactional systems, then performs end-to-end analysis to optimize MRO maintenance and supply chain activities. OAS leverages descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analytics to transform raw data into actionable information for smarter decision making, and turns profit-draining waste into bottom-line savings.
OAS helps organizations maximize profits, savings and efficiencies by minimizing MRO waste, and delivers a positive return on investment in as little as three to six months. Oniqua proudly serves the world’s leading companies in the oil and gas, mining, utilities and transportation industries, including BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, ConocoPhillips, BP, Bermuda Electric Light Company, Orange County Transportation Authority, Vale, Anglo Coal, Newmont Mining, Alcoa, Xstrata, Drummond Company, Freeport McMoRan and many others.
Modular mining systems, inc.
Founded in 1979, Modular Mining Systems, Inc. developed, demonstrated and brought to market the dispatch system. This technology revolutionized the mining industry by optimizing haul truck assignments to loading and dumping points in open-pit mines.
Using the DISPATCH system as a springboard for further innovation, Modular went on to develop the IntelliMine product suite for open-pit and underground mining, including fleet management, high-precision machine guidance, maintenance management, and safety solutions. Today, Modular is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Komatsu with over 550 employees worldwide and 19 offices around the globe
The IntelliMine suite meets the needs of mine optimization, safety, monitoring, analysis, and asset health. The suite is the most complete mine management solution available today and is configurable to meet the needs of any operation. IntelliMine products optimize the entire mine, saving clients around the world millions of dollars each year and giving them the competitive edge in productivity
SOBIS is a leading provider of software solutions and ITIL-based services headquartered in Mannheim and with over 80 employees all over the world.
PIRS is a document management system for project teams that provides fast and efficient communication, a better data quality and an easy document controlling within your projects. The main functionality is the storing and retrieving of correspondence within a project as well as project relevant data like minutes of meeting, contracts and guidelines etc. The other core part of PIRS is the document management of technical drawings, their revisions and the distribution via transmittal slips and comments.
The benefits of PIRS are: Cost savings because of; the reduced time to build up and communicate within project teams, the possible reduction of penalties due to the document controlling, the central filing and the resulting storage retrieval, the reduced time to search for information, Standardized project management methodology allows standardized way of working world-wide, Connection to partners and mobile users within a company or a consortium, Better quality of the stored data because of the accurate filing and retrieval and no important project relevant information, document or revision will get lost.
The company Evolucionapp was established to provide the answer to an improved management of activities and existing communication flows of EPC projects, through design and development of cross-platform solutions that exploit the potential of new technologies to influence the productivity of these projects.
EPC Tracker is a tool specifically designed for the management of EPC projects (Engineering, Procurement and Construction), a development that is the result of a joint collaboration with experts for the management of EPC projects, identifying gaps and the need to resolve in order to streamline and improve your management.
Planning activities when setting up the base line of an EPC project is a key task in order to optimize scope, cost and resources needed .In this starting phase, there are software such as Oracle´s Primavera or Micrsoft Project which allow doing an optimal WSB (Work Structure Breakdown).
But when the project starts, when green light turns on, is when call to action stations show up and communication, information and work flux cross each other, a fact that difficult too much to keep the project on track.
With its easy and intuitive use, the EPC Tracker provides simple solutions to the complexity that arises from managing and planning activities between teams that are involved in EPC projects. EPC Tracker is based on the potential of social networks, smart devices (smartphones and tablets) and the new information and communication technologies in order to support a powerful innovation when it comes to managing EPC Projects.
Based on the know-how of top professionals in the EPC sector, they provide tools that can be applied to engineering and construction projects with various degrees of complexity, equivalent to those of an EPC, as well as optimizing the management of O&M activities (Operations and Maintenance).
Rockmate Limited’s software
Rockmate Limited develops software for the Mining, Quarrying, Civil Engineering, Surveying and other bulk rock excavation process’s. The software developed is designed to improve profits by extracting rock intelligently resulting in reduced unit costs, by increasing the production per shift (up to 20%), as well as improving safety and reducing the environmental impact of extracting rock.
The software utilises data from the latest sensors, including non contact surveying systems, total survey stations, vibrographs (or seismic measuring systems), and Global positioning systems to create computer models. Data can be collected and processed in real time using the GSM network or radio telemetry or to be processed later. The software is developed for Microsoft Windows the data can be displayed in 2D or 3D and is designed to be intuitive.
They can track truck inside and outside of a mine or quarry. They can considerably reduce neighbour complaints and in some cases eliminate complaints due to blasting operations. They can also supply software that will minimize flyrock. Rockmate Limited’s software is compatible with other CAD systems.
Rockmate Limited is helping to make mining a sustainable development by encouraging the efficient use of plant thereby minimising CO2 emissions, by controlling vibrations and fragmentation thereby reducing the environmental impact of blasting operations and costs respectively.
Commutation by blasting creates a smaller carbon foot print than by crushing.
List of contributors
SOBIS Software GmbH
Triple Point Technology
Grant Wenker, PE
Gemcom Software International Inc
MINEMAP PTY. LTD
ONIQUA MRO ANALYTICS
MODULAR MINING SYSTEMS, INC.