STOPE DESIGN: Vulcan Stop Optimiser a “killer app”

Steve Uecker, Maptek's client experience manager, posted the following blog on May 29, 2013.

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Steve Uecker, Maptek's client experience manager, posted the following blog on May 29, 2013.

A few nights ago my eight-year-old son asked how my day at work was, along with a new follow-up question of, "What exactly is Vulcan?" After thinking about it for a few seconds, I answered in the way I thought he could best understand. When I was finished with my explanation of how Maptek Vulcan is "the world's premier 3-D mining software solution," he understood. His response was simply, "Ah, I get it. It's an app!"                        

I had never thought about Vulcan as an "app" – as it is defined in today's terms – until my son asked if he could go buy it on the iPad. This got me thinking … As today's baby boomers and Generation Xers are replaced with Generation Y and Zers, the expectations of Vulcan users will change as well. Maptek has great challenges ahead to try and meet these ever-changing demands, and I am confident that we will.

Today, one of the features in Vulcan that I would call a "killer app" is Vulcan Stope Optimizer. Although not available yet on iTunes, Stope Optimiser takes designing stopes to a whole new level. Based on some mining and cost parameters, Stope Optimiser takes a block model and outputs detailed stope triangulations that are immediately ready for reserves and scheduling. It quickly runs multiple scenarios, including varying mining shapes, methods and cut-offs. This allows the user to produce stope designs in minutes, or hours depending on complexity, when compared to traditional methods that can take weeks or even months!

Vulcan Stope Optimiser currently allows customers to perform multiple scenarios in a fraction of the time it used to take to create one sub-optimal design iteration. Users of Vulcan Stope Optimiser are producing an optimum design for each set of design variables and constraints analysed in a matter of minutes. This leap forward in mine engineering productivity is rarely seen, and the buzz in the mining industry about this "app" is becoming louder each day.

Just when you thought that Vulcan Stope Optimiser was providing our underground miners with an unfair advantage, this "killer app" has been shown to provide early results in open pit bench optimisation studies as well. This new optimisation technique can be applied in a cobalt-nickel-manganese laterite deposit to determine ore and waste benches in an open pit.

Angry Birds for miners…!? Well, perhaps not quite yet. By the time my son graduates from high school? Probably.

Want to learn more about Stope Optimiser and Maptek Vulcan? Click Maptek.com/products/Vulcan.

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