Maptek Mine Design Prize winners deliver the right blend

Wednesday, October 16th, 2019

Developing the mine plan which best integrated open cut and underground work helped this year’s winners secure the 2019 Maptek Mine Design Prize.

The mine design project challenges groups of final year University of Adelaide Mining Engineering students to create optimised mine designs and schedules from an industry dataset using Vulcan mine planning software.

Zachary Holmes, Ainsley Bosch, Jed Castree and Yue Ma claimed the $1000 prize, announced at the University of Adelaide School of Civil, Environmental & Mining Engineering Centenary Ball at the National Wine Centre in last month.

2019 Maptek Mine Design Prize winners Zachary Holmes, Ainsley Bosch, Jed Castree and Yue Ma.

Maptek Senior Technical Sales Specialist Steve Sullivan, who taught the students Vulcan and judged the award, said managing the transition between open cut and underground was a complex challenge.

‘You’ve got an open cut operation and then an underground operation and the team that won did the best job of integrating those two together,’ Steve said.

‘You can’t just stop the open cut work and then start work underground – you need to start pre-development of the underground work in the final years of the open cut activity.

The Maptek Mine Design Prize was first awarded in 2010.

‘That’s the hardest thing for students to get their heads around.

‘Getting the blend right to attain the best life of mine schedule and NPV is the greatest challenge.’

The hypothetical mine used for the project was situated in Papua New Guinea and groups needed to account for heavy rainfall and unique topography when generating their plans.

Ainsley said the group was ‘extremely excited’ to win.

‘We found the overall project really rewarding as it gave us real world experience with a program that is used widely in the industry,’ she said.

‘This gives us an advantage when we enter the workforce in a mining engineering capacity.

‘We believe that we worked well together and kept our communication flowing throughout the semester.’

She said each group member brought a different working background to the project.

‘All of us had previously completed work experience and we were able to apply this knowledge to our design.

‘Our group is thankful to Maptek for our training and the generous prize.

‘We have no doubt that we will be using Maptek programs in the near future.’

The Maptek Mine Design Prize was first introduced in 2010 and is part of the long-standing commitment Maptek has to supporting students and academic institutions.

Learn more about Maptek University Partnerships here:


  • Media Relations
  • For additional information about Maptek, including use of the Maptek logo, product images and reproduction of case studies, please direct inquiries to Global Marketing Communications Manager