Micromine 2020: Optimising underground mine planning

The launch of MICROMINE’s latest version of leading exploration and 3D mine design solution, Micromine 2020 will see the introduction of new stope optimisation functionality.

The launch of MICROMINE’s latest version of leading exploration and 3D mine design solution, Micromine 2020 will see the introduction of new stope optimisation functionality.

“The new version of Micromine not only includes innovative upgrades to existing modules, but also sees new functionality added in response to industry needs,” said Gordon Thomas, Micromine Technical Product Manager.

“One of the new modules specifically caters to the needs of underground mine planners looking to optimise mine design to ensure project profitability. Micromine 2020 builds on the success of our Pit Optimisation module and provides an equivalent strategic planning tool for underground mining operations.”

“Unlike many competing products, Micromine 2020’s Stope Optimiser uses integrated mathematical programming to produce optimum 3D solutions, instead of stitching together 2D results produced using approximate methods.”

Stope Optimiser identifies regions within a resource model that can be mined profitably using designs for a range of potential stoping methods and assists mine planners in selecting the most profitable combination of method, stope design and mine life.

Suitable for all planning horizons, Stope Optimiser generates the best possible stope outlines that satisfy design and economic parameters. It can also generate optimum dig-lines to suit minimum mining widths for open-pit mining, making it a great tool for open-pit grade control and mining operations too.

Maximise profits

Stope optimisation plays a pivotal role in underground mine planning and design. The feasibility and ultimate profitability of a mine depend on optimising the layout of the stopes and minimising the cost of the infrastructure that is required to access and mine those stopes. Proper integration of stope optimisation into a mine’s planning will result in stopes yielding the highest possible return for the given resource model. That’s why the best possible stope optimisation tools are a necessity, not a luxury for today’s mine planners.

Stope Optimiser provides all the tools mine planners need to determine the maximum possible profit for an underground mining operation.

“The advanced automated stope design tool in Micromine 2020 generates the optimal configuration of stopes to maximise the discounted value of future cash flows, subject to inherent physical, geotechnical and geological constraints over the lifespan of underground mining operations,” said Mr Thomas.

Stope Optimiser assists in optimising the size of a mining operation based on net present value by providing full support for standard long-term planning methodology with provision for mining, processing and sales rates, start-up costs, capital injection and discounted cash flow analysis.

By identifying the most profitable regions for stoping, Stope Optimiser helps mine planners ensure the best utilisation and management of the human and financial resources involved in an underground mining project.

Recognising that an optimal layout or 3D spatial distribution of stopes guarantees the maximum profitability over the lifespan of an underground mining operation, Stope Optimiser gives mine planners a competitive edge.

Optimise stope design

Stope Optimiser has all the functionality mine planners need to save time and improve selectivity in underground stope design.
Using the resource block model, minimum stope dimensions, stope orientation, processing options and economic parameters, Stope Optimiser automatically produces stope shapes that take into account stope geometry together with geological and geotechnical restraints, mine planners can optimise the stope boundary by fine-tuning desired stope shapes.

The new module automatically generates the highest value stope solids across a wide range of mining method geometries and orebody types, delivering strategic stope designs and pillar location optimisation against complex ore bodies. Key features include:
• Built-in material flow model
• supports material bins, which can be defined using simple filters or complex expressions
• derives block optimisation values, which can also be calculated externally and pre-assigned to blocks
• Zone and region support
• specifies where stopes should be confined to or excluded from using zones defined by polygons/wireframes
• applies different design parameters to multiple regions
• Stope functionality
• accepts sizes and orientations of minimum stopes and minimum pillar width
• overlaps minimum stope sizes as required to form larger mining areas to satisfy minimum mineable shapes
• constrains stopes to planes, digital terrain models and centreline strings with the option to anchor planes and digital terrain models to a reference point and replicate at regular elevation levels

“Stope Optimiser allows mine planners to optimise the stope design while satisfying physical mining constraints and maximising the profit from operations,” Mr Thomas said.

Strategic outputs

The stope wireframes and reports generated by the Stope Optimiser functionlaity facilitate strategic and tactical mine planning.

Stope Optimiser automates stoping design for a range of methods used in underground mines, enabling mine planners to quickly analyse stoping methods and parameters for a defined geological block model to maximise the value of the orebody and develop a strategic plan assessed against a variety of approaches and constraints.

Feasibility studies for underground operations can be quickly and easily performed, while also allowing the investigation of stoping frameworks and economic scenarios. Stope Optimiser’s integration with other Micromine modules saves time and money as the outputs can be used in other applications, like scheduling.

The stope wireframes generated can be directly incorporated into the mine planning process to create the optimum solution, while a full suite of reports can be created to facilitate post-processing and analysis of all input parameters, block processing outcomes and generated stopes.

Reports can be customised, summarised and have unit conversions applied using Micromine’s new Report Generator. Reports integrate with Microsoft Excel and Business Intelligence software, enabling pivot tables and other post-processing datasets to be used.

Seamless integration

Designed for both open-pit grade control and mining, and underground mine planning, the Stope Optimiser seamlessly integrates with the suite of Micromine modules.

Accessible from one integrated platform, Micromine’s integrated tools for modelling, estimation, design, optimisation and scheduling all ‘talk’ to each other, enabling easy data transfer and compatibility.

Stope Optimiser is fully compatible with the Micromine Pit Optimisation module, sharing many common parameters. And since they share the same concepts and workflow, proficiency with one module translates to proficiency with the other – saving time and money.

With full support from Micromine’s new Expression Editor and unit conversion facilities, Stope Optimiser has all the functionality needed, available from one easy-to-use platform.

Stope Optimiser now joining Micromine’s suite of powerful and intuitive tools for planning and designing surface and underground mines (including Core, Wireframing and Pit Optimisation), mine plans can be developed easily based on an operation’s mining parameters and business fundamentals. 

Micromine 2020

Offering integrated tools for modelling, estimation, design, optimisation and scheduling, Micromine is a global leader in exploration and 3D mine design.

Trusted and relied upon by more than 1500 mining and exploration users from around the world, the comprehensive and easy-to-use exploration, resource modelling and mine design solution offers miners the flexibility they need, when they need it.

Micromine 2020 is due for release in November and in addition to the new Stope Optimiser, Micromine 2020 will include advances in the Implicit Modelling and Pit Optimisation modules, and new Report Generator with full support for user-defined fields and unit conversions.