Continuing exploration challenges in South Africa have led software solutions provider MICROMINE to enhance and continue its focus on exploration and three-dimensional (3D) mine planning, which, subsequently, has assisted in boosting the uptake of mining and scheduling modules by the local market.
MICROMINE Africa business development manager Nick Roos explains that, “reduced exploration budgets caused by low turnover rates from explorations into feasible operations have led to a significant drop in the number of exploration projects. Smaller companies have stopped exploration and are focusing all their efforts on mining – bringing in much-needed revenue.
“Infrastructure is also a con-tinuing challenge to the [mining] industry, as limitations on the extraction and transport of resources hamper companies in their efforts to produce optimally,” Roos adds.
Micromine 2016, an exploration and 3D mine design solution, which is scheduled to be released in May, addresses challenges by enabling users to make informed decisions through Micromine’s ease of use modelling, and estimation and design tools to simplify day-to-day design and production tasks, he explains.
The solution’s data-validation features also enable users to ensure that a job has been completed correctly, which Roos believes will enable companies to apply for finance or find investors more efficiently because of the clean data model and the quick turnaround time on resource estimation. With the same validation capabilities as previous versions, improved flexibility and extended data-handling capabilities, the Micromine software is better suited to handle the above-mentioned challenges than ever before, says the company.
Another area warranting MICROMINE’s attention is big data – data sets that are so large or complex that traditional data-processing applications are inadequate. Roos emphasises that recent developments in underground and openpit fleet management and mine control solutions have enabled the further improvement of outputs related to large and complex datasets.
The development of big data collection and storage techniques, he outlines, will lead to enhanced business-critical decision-making. Cloud-hosting and manage- ment services are also trending in the industry, he notes, and are set to be incorporated into solutions offered by MICROMINE and its competitors in the near future.
Research and Development
Roos believes that the extensive research and development (R&D) programme at MICROMINE produces the most intuitive, innova-tive, commercially advanced and affordable solutions on the market.
MICROMINE aims to continue this and the company’s long-term goals include the continued provision of significant in-house knowledge, complemented by continual input from its global client base. This will ensure that MICROMINE’s solutions continue to pre-empt and meet the requirements of the global mining and exploration community.
R&D at MICROMINE is carried out by experienced specialist staff who have a good understanding of the mining industry and can anticipate future market demands, Roos points out. This pre-emptive development is also spurred by continuous input from the company’s global client base, which MICROMINE says ensures that its solutions remain relevant in a dynamic market.
“Owing to R&D, processes have been consolidated, providing a single platform that integrates the geological resource model, 3D mine design and scheduler. “There is no need to export and import between disparate packages, which increases the software’s flexibility and ease of use,” Roos explains.
The integration of software solutions is a key priority for com- panies in the mine planning and software industry, says MICRO-MINE, noting that, until recently, mine planning activities required several standalone products or software solutions.
Previously, users had to export and import information between programs, which often led to compatibility problems.
Most small- to large-scale mining operations in South Africa have implemented various programs to handle their operational planning needs.
Micromine 2016 has succeeded in negating the need for third-party packages, says MICROMINE. The exploration and 3D mine design solution offers integrated tools for modelling, estimation, design, optimisation and scheduling.
The Micromine software solution is the company’s highest-selling product in the South African market. Micromine provides users with an in-depth understanding of projects, allowing for prospective regions to be targeted more accurately, increasing production propensity, the company high- lights. The solution provides miners with interactive and user-friendly modelling, estimation and design tools to simplify common production and design tasks.The MICROMINE product range comprises four main products – Geobank Mobile, Geobank, Micromine and Pitram.