HETEROGENEITY: THE MINE’S REALITY... AND OPPORTUNITY
Heterogeneity – the material variation within an ore body – is both the challenge and the purpose of all miners. How do you best utilize and exploit the natural heterogeneity of your asset to maximize ore extraction and optimize processing?
One fact is clear. This heterogeneity is at its highest at the face. Every step after that – starting with primary crush - acts as a mixing step to reduce this heterogeneity and the ability to exploit it. Waste is mixed in and reduces head grade. Deleterious elements that could be detected at their maximum levels become harder to remove downstream. And, of course, good ore that could have been recovered is already out of the processing stream and on its way to the dump.
Without the tools to identify ore from waste, mines lose money and waste resources
Mine Operations Today
- Traditional process necessitates block as selective mining unit
- Blasthole sampling / mine plan interpolation creates low precision
- Result is entire block routed as Waste or Ore as if homogenous
The Mine's Reality
- Reality is natural ore heterogeneity within the block
- Lack of visibility forces mine operations to ignore this
- And define as losses (ore in waste - illustrated here) or dilution (waste in ore)
- These losses are lost ore
The MineSense Solution
- MineSense provides real-time visibility…. bucket by bucket
- Found ore in waste at the mine face found $$
- Waste removed from ore block to reduce dilution in the pit
- Captures dilution in the pit
- Reduces unplanned losses and dilution
AT THE FACE
New Ore Body Data to Make Informed Decisions
At the extraction face, ShovelSense real-time data routes trucks by characterizing ore from waste and waste from ore. This is the only location to capture ore in designated waste, before it is hauled to the dump. This creates significant value to most mines in terms of additional metal production, revenue and profit. It is also the most impactful location to remove waste from designated ore before any additional costs are incurred to process uneconomic material. Plus this data provides dramatic new orebody knowledge that improves short-term mine planning, downstream processes and overall reconciliation.
Unlocking New Ore Body Knowledge in Real Time
At MineSense we build and deploy innovative digital mining technologies that solve challenges at the extraction face. These challenges include ore body characteristics – like dykes and veins – that can not be properly mapped using traditional methods. With ShovelSense, data for all areas of the mine is created as the shovel digs. Our high precision GNSS provides location to the grade information for each bucket. This allows precise and robust mapping of exactly what is happening in the ore body.
The illustrations here provide one case study. The mine plan data on the left – using traditional methods – identified one triangular area of high grade within a waste zone. But using ShovelSense, the mine was able to identify that high-grade veins – shaded in white - actually moved through the full waste zone. Without ShovelSense this high grade ore would have been sent to the dump. With ShovelSense this high grade was diverted to be processed to make the mine money.
Measuring valuable metals and deleterious elements
The MineSense system measures a range of payable metals as well as problematic deleterious elements. The result is improved recovery and reduced penalties.
This includes polymetallic ore bodies with multiple commodities and elements. Data on all individual metals is readily available. And operational algorithms developed to based cut-off decisions on any combination the mine wants to utilize, all digitally and in complete real-time.