Maptek solution for optimising coal recovery

An innovative approach integrates geophysical interpretation, modelling and blast management to improve coal recovery and enhance overall productivity.

Mines rely heavily on resource models to design and schedule day-to-day operations. However, the models are only approximate; the actual position of strata in the pit can vary from the resource model by several metres. This can lead to loss and dilution, costing time and money.

Accurately determining the location and geometry of the coal within the pressured production environment is a complex process, but is vital for success.

Maptek provides an innovative productivity solution focused on two fundamental processes:

  • Validation of the resource model
  • Accurate execution of drill and blast

Productivity solution

The solution combines 3D geophysical interpretation of gamma logs and/or measurement while drilling (MWD) data to accurately model strata, with a drill and blast design and an accuracy management system.

This integrated approach simplifies complex tasks and enables fast interpretation and informed decision making. Importantly, it frees up engineers and geologists from tedious data formatting and validation tasks. Their expertise is maximised when they can focus on planning and continuous improvement.

Today, as operations aim to cut costs and improve productivity from existing assets, sustainability means producing more tonnes at a lower cost.

Maptek enables mines to maximise the recovery of coal while increasing digger productivity through better fragmentation.

The starting point is the original Maptek Vulcan blast design shell derived from the resource model. Geophysical drillhole data is collated ready for interpretation. A further source of data is provided by a Maptek I-Site highwall scan for digitising coal and other strata that is easily distinguished.

All of the data is brought together in Maptek Eureka for interpretation and modelling. Eureka is used to configure and display up to three alternate attributes of the Gamma or MWD data and automatically assign lithology boundaries. The geologist quickly reviews and, if necessary, edits the lithology for holes with insufficient trace.

Accurate coal surfaces, accounting for faults, together with strata used to define hard bands, are modelled with a click of a button and passed on to the drill and blast engineers.

Using Maptek BlastLogic, the blast design is applied and checked. Embedded charge rules automatically adjust backfill amount, explosive decks and stemming relevant to hole length, hardness and handling of wet holes.

Tie-up design and analysis tools support easy comparison of multiple scenarios, enhanced with the blast modelling of vibration, air-blast and fragmentation. BlastLogic manages the drill and blast process tightly through near real-time tracking, so drilling and charge placement conforms with design. This effectively pre-empts risk, productivity and cost issues.

Blasts and trends are catalogued and blast analytics drive design and process improvements.

Quantum improvements in productivity, recovery of minerals and workflow efficiency are tangible, high-value benefits that mines are seeking.

Determination of accurate geology and structure, aligned with a reliably executed optimised blast design, will deliver a well-shaped blast that increases digger productivity while protecting the coal seam.

Aside from operator ability, material digability is the main factor affecting production. Fragmentation is a central factor influencing dig rates, and blast damage leads to loss and dilution of coal. Improving performance in any of these areas will favourably impact profitability.

Design complexity

Using BlastLogic, companies can execute more complex blast operations than ever before. Drill and blast engineers can manage dipping seams and find the correct balance to blast away hard caps without damaging the coal.

Incremental improvements in different areas can add up to a major increase in efficiency and optimisation of the mining cycle overall. The Maptek solution provides a mechanism for achieving these benefits in a standardised and repeatable way.