With the introduction of the new scheduling workflow in Micromine 2016, the latest version of MICROMINE’s exploration and 3D mine design solution, users now have powerful tools available to create and prepare their optimal open pit mine plan. The new workflows have been developed with ease of use and simplicity at the point of design so that users with little or no experience in scheduling have the ability to take advantage of these intuitive tools.
While powerful scheduling tools are known for their notoriously high price tags and steep learning curves, MICROMINE sought to address these problems by enhancing features of the pre-existing scheduler module with the release of Micromine 2016.
The scheduler module was previously only a short-term tool that could assist with open pit extraction planning. Other applications such as Microsoft Project would use Gantt chart functionality which enabled a diagram representation of a schedule but was unable to handle complex mining constraints. Utilising the powerful mine planning and design tools of the core and wireframing modules in Micromine, mine planners generate 3D mining blocks that define the properties of the mining tasks that would need to be removed. This functionality helped to reduce the errors generated by unproductive methods such as manual scheduling using spreadsheets however this method was only ideal for smaller or simpler mines that didn’t need any advanced sequencing solutions.
The release of Micromine 2016 saw the incorporation of a new scheduler optimiser tool that provides engineers with the means of identifying an optimal mine plan. The tool is a driven mathematically proven Mixed Integer Linear Programming (MILP) solver that identifies an optimal extraction sequence based on maximising a set objective, for example an ore type or metal tonnes. Micromine converts the mining problem into an optimisation model that can be solved by the MILP solver. First, Micromine interrogates solids against a block model while calculating material quantities and qualities that are simultaneously written onto wireframes as attributes. These wireframes are then imported into the scheduler so they can be sequenced and optimised.
The configuration of the schedule optimiser is simple. Once a user has defined production constraints and the optimisation objective, the tool can be run and the solver will the aim to find an optimal solution out of potentially millions of possible outcomes.
The new scheduling tool also comes with several dedicated tools for each major component in the workflow. These include the Create Mining Block tool that can be used to input design solids to quickly create task wireframes and the Enhanced Grade Tonnage Reporting tool that allows users to define and report on any number of material types.
With the new scheduling tools available in Micromine 2016, users are now able to generate an optimal open pit mine plan based on a set of objectives determined by management. These powerful tools assist mine engineers by reducing the work required to produce a mine plan, saving both time and cost. MICROMINE’s aim of releasing regular software updates means users are always provided with the most up to date tools for mine design.