Intelligent optimisation approach for strategic scheduling control

Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

Maptek continues to stamp its ownership on the mine scheduling market through an intelligent optimisation approach. Generating an optimised mine schedule with practical production plans is a unique combination that gives mining companies strategic control.

The latest Maptek milestone, Evolution 5, delivers an updated interface for scheduling with attributed solids. This upgrade enables short or medium-term scheduling with block models or solids, and seamless handling of stratigraphic reserves. It represents a more intuitive way to see the source information for scheduling.

Evolution Product Manager and Mine Planning Business Manager for Maptek, Eduardo Coloma explained that a 3-month beta testing program had been incredibly valuable for identifying improvements before the release.

‘Customer feedback provides an understanding of what the industry wants to see next, helping us prioritise ideas for our scheduling roadmap.’

‘Maptek is relentless in its drive to put smart functionality on the desktop for customers to intuitively apply their scheduling and site knowledge,’ added Coloma.

Enhanced road network tools save time setting up schedules, leaving engineers more time for analysis.

With Evolution 5, users can now assign dependencies to solids and employ their preferred approach to better control schedules. They also gain more control over processes and the accumulation of parcels. Better validation of user data before submitting a scheduling job saves time later in the process and improves confidence.

With Evolution Strategy users can define residual capital categories that would apply towards the end of mine life when stockpiles are being depleted, allowing for dynamic adjustment of fixed administration costs.

Reporting and graphing of any data related to the schedule makes comparison easier, allowing engineers to more quickly and confidently decide on the preferred plan to adopt.

A new Aggregation module can be purchased in conjunction with Evolution 5. Targeting stratigraphic deposits, the new module allows operations, for example, to calculate coal and waste quantities and qualities as they change at each stage of the mining process.

‘A flexible yet automated step-based workflow allows users to define parameters, and automatic calculations remove the need for complex scripting. At the same time, transparency is maintained regarding how models were created and what inputs were used,’ Commented Coloma.

Maptek always uses leading computational methods, but the unique differentiator in the scheduling arena is close collaboration with mining experts to exploit their experience to provide targeted applications.

‘No-one has been collaborating as long as Maptek on multi-object optimisation to deliver practical yet value-adding schedules,’ said Coloma. ‘Who else can optimise multiple objectives, millions of blocks, multiple models and multiple processing options simultaneously using a population of initial schedules?’

‘When targeting multiple objectives Evolution does not return a single schedule but rather a set of optimised trade-off schedules,’ he added Coloma. ‘A study in South America proved a significant reduction in the preparation and running time.’

‘We know this technique can provide solutions to problems that are not even thought of yet. The future for Maptek scheduling customers is looking very bright indeed.’

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