Winning strategy for mine design

Final year mining engineering students from the University of Adelaide win the Maptek Mine Design Prize with their pre-feasibility report for a copper-gold deposit.

Playing to each others’ strengths was key to success for the students from the University of Adelaide who were recently awarded the 2023 Maptek Mine Design prize. 

Feibby Kareth, Lucas Ellis, Marcus Romeo and Yvonne Zheng received a trophy and cash prize for the best fourth-year mine design report, using a given dataset and Maptek Vulcan software.

Teams were required to conduct a pre-feasibility study on a copper-gold deposit, generating conceptual open pit and underground mine designs including mining method and appropriate mining equipment.

The winning study reported an open pit design split into three roughly equal sized pushbacks to stage development throughout the mine life. Block caving was chosen as the underground mining method, and geotechnical and ventilation calculations were completed to demonstrate the stability and safety of the underground operation. 

Estimates of the capital expense and operating costs during mine life, along with internal rate of financial return, were determined based on the principles taught during the semester.

Maptek Senior Technical Solutions Specialist Steve Sullivan said the winning team demonstrated the ability to work as a team during the project work. 

‘The project scope was beyond the means of any single person. Dividing the tasks amongst themselves based on their strengths and then integrating the results into the final report was the main factor which differentiated them from their peers,’ said Sullivan.

Maptek staff taught five weeks of mine design during the final university semester and helped judge the student reports alongside Associate Professor Dr Chaoshui Xu.