Strategic approach to scheduling

Maptek Evolution optimises the scheduling process, maximising project revenue and dramatically reducing the time to run schedules.

Cutoff grade optimisation is the single most value-adding task a mining engineer can bring to a project. However, the process has traditionally been the domain of experts and has been deemed too difficult or expensive to implement.

Imagine having to unlock the value of a project to the tune of millions of dollars. Now imagine doing so with a simple, intuitive tool that allows you to have full control of this process.

The ability to do this is no longer in the realms of the experts. Maptek Evolution puts the expertise in your hands.

Strategic approach

Strategic scheduling is different from day-to-day scheduling, as the mining engineer will, on occasion, need to look at the bigger picture.

For example, what is the best approach to mine these reserves now the price has halved? What happens when and if the price improves, and will I be able to incorporate these changes without sacrificing practicality? How can I easily update my existing schedule with the new reserves?

What is the best way to take into account the latest processing technology which allows me to schedule ore that wasn’t previously considered economic?

All of these issues have an effect on the cutoff grade. As changes happen over time, the cutoff grade policy needs to change as well.

Evolution provides users with a simple, intuitive interface. The complex geo-metallurgical model includes economics of mining and processing, variable pricing strategies and process recoveries to determine an overall cutoff grade policy.

Evolution combines multiple process and stockpiling strategies with detailed constraint modelling to ensure the overall result maximises value and produces a practical schedule.

Evolution will also model dynamic capital allocation and perform closure cost modelling.

Evolution can rapidly assess thousands of schedule scenarios to present the optimal net present value (NPV) and takes into account factors such as multiple reserves, stage release strategies and variable recovery rates.

Easy to use

A simple and effective workflow guides engineers through a step-by-step scheduling process and provides detailed, readable reports and graphs to present to management, boards and shareholders.

Maptek Mine Scheduling Solutions Manager Steve Craig said Evolution reports provide a snapshot of all the stages of a mine’s schedule. Each schedule can be completed within minutes, providing insights into how the reserve performs under different operating parameters and conditions.

After comprehensive analysis, a tactical level schedule can be selected.

‘Users don’t need to worry about doing any scripting, they just get presented with the information. Evolution provides a smart, intuitive workflow for the user to then work through these more detailed levels of scheduling.’

Standard reports illustrate how the day-to-day operation of a mine aligns with its long-term strategic plan.

‘That’s critical because you don’t want the mine to move off on a tangent away from the strategic direction you’ve set,’ Craig said. Reports can be produced on demand to respond to changes in commodity prices or market conditions.

‘The first thing many engineers check each morning is what has happened overnight on the markets. Prices and exchange rates are fundamental inputs into generating a mine plan.’

‘Given the dynamic and somewhat chaotic price environment, it makes sense to be nimble, modelling the effect that changes to major mine planning parameters can have on the mine plan and hence the overall value of the project.’

The interface between Evolution and Maptek™ Vulcan™ is tightly aligned so moving data between the systems is simple and auditable. New schedules can be analysed very quickly if a new model is presented to the engineer, typically within hours.

Traditionally it could take days to analyse these impacts. Evolution can provide a new scenario for consideration up to 10 times faster.

Bringing the data to life

Reports can be printed for analysis or integrated with Vulcan to produce 3D representations showing how the reserve would change over time based on the schedule.

Visualising the area on a bench to be mined at each stage streamlines communication between mine planning and scheduling teams.

‘A picture tells a thousand words,’ Craig said. ‘You’re opening up a dialogue between the planner and the production engineer. That’s critical because you want buy-in from the people who are going to be implementing your plan.’

Evolution is being used to schedule open cut iron ore, copper, uranium and gold mines and allowing users to make informed, confident scheduling decisions to reduce costs and maximise resources.

It is an agile, dynamic solution for targeting complex, real world challenges.