Maptek has been working with a customer to develop a tool to design optimal grade control polygons and reduce time spent on repetitive manual tasks.
Early trials of Maptek Vulcan Grade Control Optimiser (GCO) for designing optimal grade control polygons have achieved increased economic value of up to 12%.
However, the true value of adopting this innovation is yet to be fully realised as engineers are freed from the repetitive task of manually drawing grade control polygons to spend more time on analysis.
GCO automatically defines grade control polygons that optimise material classification and minimise depletion.
The optimisation can be guided by economic value or classification variables to improve the grade control process while maximising value.
Maptek has been working with a customer in North America to develop the tool at established open pit sites. The grade control polygons range in size from 10,000 to 200,000 tons.
The sites have completed extensive side by side comparisons where polygons have been manually engineered and then GCO was used, before the results were compared in terms of value. Improvements recorded have been in the order of 1 to 12%.
Grade Control Optimiser turns a block-based solution into actual mineable polygons
The manual process of drawing polygons and designating which materials go to which process, for example mill or dump, is a is a tedious job for production engineers.
It can be unrealistic and extremely time-consuming to expect an individual to create thousands of different polygons for optimisation.
GCO quickly generates multiple options to optimise value and has been found to create higher-value options. potentially made by creating or destroying ‘islands’, that engineers did not think of or have the time to create.
The scriptable nature of the tool enables operations to perform tasks such as evaluating the past six months of polygons overnight so the next day an engineer can generate a spreadsheet for analysis.
This innovation represents a major change to traditional workflow, from performing a task manually to doing it with the click of a button.
The best use of GCO is proving to be when a geologist or mining engineer works in conjunction with the tool.
After running the optimiser, the engineer views the polygons, realises there are other constraints or aspects that need to be considered and manually adapts the result.
Grade Control Optimiser reduces the time spent on the repetitive aspects of grade control and allows the experts to dedicate more time to applying their expertise and delivering the best possible results.