With underperforming mining assets impacting on share prices, mining companies are aiming to improve financial returns and boost free cash flow by driving growth through better management across the mining life cycle, says software developer Dassault Systèmes GEOVIA Africa VP David Osborn.
By making better and faster decisions from the rock face to the port, processes can be made more efficient, mineral resources can be used more effectively and wasteful practices can be eliminated. The end result is a healthier bottom line and increased sustainability.
Mines are realising that proven technologies, the use of which resulted in achieving increased efficiency and boosting the bottom line in other industries, can also be applicable to mining execution management, says Osborn.
He notes that, by adopting a holistic, horizontal-management view of the mining value chain, new opportunities for improvement can be identified.
Osborn adds that Dassault Systèmes’ technologies make it possible to model and simulate the mineral resource and production processes until the product is delivered to clients, which ensures new opportunities for increasing efficiency and cost control, says Osborn.
Dassault Systèmes and its GEOVIA software span the mining value chain – from the rock face to the port – and its applications create more efficient processes and effective use of mineral resources. They also eliminate wasteful practices, Osborn adds.
To enable mining execution management, GEOVIA’s geological modelling and mine planning form the foundation for the broader set of technologies that Dassault Systèmes uses in the mining industry.
By adopting three-dimensional collaboration and simulation in operations, processing and logistics, mining companies will drive a new level of productivity and efficiency across their businesses, says Osborn.
“With more mines operating underground, GEOVIA has focused on extending its under-ground tool set, represented by the most recent releases of our Surpac, GEMS and Minex products late last year,” he adds.
GEOVIA Surpac’s new Stope Design Tools module offers underground engineers and designers a simple and fast stope-design process to improve operational results and productivity by maximising ore recovery while reducing costs.
The interactive Stope Designer tool moves through geographical planes to delineate practical stope boundaries – ultimately creating a solid design – while the Stope Slicer tool divides the design into practical mining shapes using planes and elevations to quickly produce stope, pillar and crown pillar solids, explains Osborn.
Built on Dassault Systèmes’ advanced software technology, the company’s new Mesh Tools module advances modelling capabilities for the rapid and accurate safety analysis of underground mine designs.
Osborn admits that analysing surface and underground designs to ensure they meet the requirements for minimum separation distances can be challenging, time consuming and error prone. He explains, however, that with Mesh Tools, GEOVIA customers can analyse and manipulate triangulated meshes of solids and surfaces to achieve their modelling and design objectives.
GEOVIA’s GEMS software’s new Ramp Design tool reduces hours and even days of work to just a few clicks of a button by eliminating small, repetitive tasks and configuring them into one step.
As the Ramp Design tool offers a more agile workflow, GEOVIA customers will also benefit from being able to implement changes throughout the design process without having to start again when changes need to be made. With time-saving functionality and improved workflow development, design can be completed in a fraction of the time.
The tool’s ready-to-use preconfigured templates of the most widely used ramp styles also make it easier for users to start designs quickly. These templates can be customised and reused, saving hours of design work, says Osborn.
Dump Scheduling and Haulage Planning Tools
Enabling mining companies to make quick and accurate decisions for haulage and waste removal, these tools in the Minex software suite – GEOVIA’s geology and mine planning software for coal and other stratified deposits – also identify areas for cost reduction, states Osborn.
“GEOVIA’s customers will have the required tools to help them decrease the unplanned rehandling of waste by enabling engineers, through interaction with the geological model, to locate waste dumps in areas not underlain by valuable resources,” he says.
With Minex’s Haulage Planning tool, mine planners can also achieve the lowest-cost combinations of excavators and haul roads by accurately estimating haul-cycle times using supporting mechanisms.
Further, adding detailed equipment properties and performance characteristics, such as rimpull and regrade information, to the software can further increase the accuracy with which haul cycles are made.
They can also compare and contrast the efficiency of a truck fleet and analyse dump and haulage performance to identify where improvements can be made. In two scenarios tested by GEOVIA, the Dump Scheduling and Haulage Planning module saved 30% on waste removal and haulage costs, says Osborn.