The art of rapid pit design

I wish I could say my golf swing was as effective as the Rapid Pit Design (RPD) tool in Vulcan, which allows you to evaluate multiple pit designs quickly and efficiently.

While practicing on the driving range I had the intention of fine tuning my swing, but would end up competing against an unknown opponent next to me – trying to outswing and outdrive him.  The result was a Gatling – gun of long driving prowess. My golf game never improved.

Before I joined Maptek in 2008, I worked in the operational environment undertaking mine planning activities, including designing open pit and underground mines.

The software I used did not help me in terms of efficiency. Most of it was a long slog through macros, design and redesign, only to have to adjust the mine plan when it changed the next day/month/year.

In late 2010, I was introduced to Maptek’s RPD tool, which makes open pit mine design scenario analysis effortless.

The main purpose of the tool is to quickly create multiple open pit mine designs and compare different scenarios. The setup is simple: Input your technical requirement, set up a block model, and choose a way for the information to be reserved and reported. You can design multiple benches of a pit and instantly have a result. The beauty of this tool is not just in its simplicity, but also the depth of functionality, including automated road designs, triangulation and block model based berm and batter assignment, and flexible block model viewing tools.

As a mining engineer your long-term goal is to get the best NPV design as quickly as possible. With the speed advantage of RPD you minimize the need for a Whittle pit optimizer. You can do multiple designs in a matter of minutes, each with its own reserve information ready for you to do comparisons. After completing the strategic designs you can go into more detail with the rest of Vulcan’s complete suite of open pit tools such as haulage profile, drill and blast design, and ultimately scheduling your design using Maptek Chronos production scheduler.

In my opinion, this is the ultimate tool in effective and efficient time management. If I had this 10 years ago I would have had more time to practice my swing, and I would be a better golfer! Well, probably not…

To learn more about Vulcan 8.2 and RPD watch the webinar here >>

Paul Ehlers
Technical Services Manager - Africa
April 12, 2013

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