Why Maptek Evolution is a game-changer in strategic mine scheduling

In February 2015, Maptek customers from across Europe took part in a one-day workshop at our Edinburgh office, where they heard about our latest strategic scheduling solution, Maptek Evolution.

The workshop was hosted by Maptek Mine Scheduling Manager Steve Craig, and we asked him why Evolution is a game-changer in mine scheduling.

Q: What makes Maptek Evolution different to other planning tools?

Steve Craig (SC): Maptek Evolution gives planners a single piece of software with the ability to perform cut-off grade optimisation, dynamic haulage optimisation, and waste land-form optimisation all in the same solution. This eliminates the burden of moving data between multiple solutions in order to realise the complete planning project.

To date our customers have reported that Evolution has delivered the best planning solution ever presented for their projects, with significant increases in project values reported.

Q: How does Evolution sit within the Maptek family of products?

SC: Evolution is the latest mine planning tool within the Maptek family of products. It integrates tightly with Vulcan, meaning that the raw data needed for optimising the mine plan is seamlessly opened within Evolution. The user has the option to quickly re-block the geological block model to practical dimensions before scheduling those blocks. In saying this though, the solution can also be used within any other general mine planning package as well.

Q: For mine planners familiar with other scheduling solutions, what kinds of benefits can they expect with Evolution?

SC: Evolution is a flexible and agile solution which easily handles changing inputs and objectives. The interface is intuitive, the processing is extremely fast, and delivers practical and implementable strategies.

The benefit that most mining engineers will immediately notice is the increase in value to their operation due to it’s speed. Evolution is up to ten times faster than any other scheduling solutions and that alone makes it such a powerful tool.

Q: Earlier you mentioned Evolution’s cut-off grade optimisation ability, can you expand on that?

SC: Cut-off grade optimisation is probably the most important function in maximising the value of a project in today’s complex environments. The cut-off grade optimiser in Evolution focuses on maximising value. Evolution provides a flexible, yet simple environment within which to undertake this process.

Q: How does Evolution process the data?

SC: That is in the name! Evolution is driven by an evolutionary algorithm which fits the objective to a geometrically correct extraction sequence. It is a block-by-block scheduler that ranks blocks in order of extraction precedence. The software processes multiple scenarios of this block sequence, mating together the best schedules so that the results improve with each generation. So it isn’t a mindless process – it is actually evolving the schedule with each cycle.

Q: And this is done online?

SC: Yes. The data is encrypted to the highest standard and sent for processing on our dedicated servers. The actual file size is quite small, so the solution is effective even with a basic internet connection. The online processing means that the user’s PC is free to work on other tasks, the schedule is processed by a high power machine, and Maptek engineers can gain access to failure reports enabling them to help any customer having difficulty.

Q: So once the required data is ready in Evolution, is exchange required back and forth to other programs, such as Vulcan?

SC: No, Evolution gives the engineer the ability to work off a single dataset at both the strategic and tactical level. The engineer therefore spends their time problem solving – not checking and validating data.

Q: Should future Evolution users expect rapid autonomy, or will they need to have Maptek specialists at hand for support?

SC: The interface is easy to use. Typically we spend about three to five days implementing the software, before undertaking about five days of training. Once this is complete most users will only require standard technical support on an as-needed basis. Maptek engineers can support Evolution users remotely if required.

Find out more about Maptek Evolution here or contact your local Maptek office.

Gary Buchanan
Regional Sales Director - Europe
March 5, 2015

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