Hexagon creates new methodology to program mining production

The new method considers all possible route combinations between active mining areas and all destinations such as storage, dump, crush, etc. This allows to have the complete sequence of the development of the mine and to define the optimal route possible for the transport of the production.

Programming mining production for transportation is not easy. It is necessary to consider a set of assumptions, which generally gives an inaccurate result and, in most cases, it turns out different from the real thing. That is the way it has been so far. Since the Hexagon company created a solution for this problem.

Through technological tools, a team made up of Civil Engineers in Mines; Claudio Galleguillos, of Hexagon Mining, Andrés Fierro, of Angloamerican and Carolina Toro, of Hexagon Mining, designed an application that allows a more integrated view of all production areas, including excavation, discharge sequences and plant operations, considering in this way dynamic routes, which give more accurate results and achieves more real values. “The greatest thing of this innovation is that through the use of our software, a new methodology was created to solve this problem, which allows us to consider all possible route combinations and variable transportation costs, because the software itself includes transport times in the optimization”, explains Carlos Carmona, General Manager at Hexagon Mining Cono Sur.

In this interview Carlos tells us more details about this project.

What is the problem it addresses?
The conventional approach to programming mining production uses a set of assumptions that have been simplified through average values ​​with lower levels of precision, particularly for transportation. This method also does not allow the integration of the dynamic sequence of excavation, transport routes and unloading sites in a simultaneous modeling and optimization process, despite knowing that the transport cost is around 40% of the total cost of the commonly mines in a base metal operation.

Why is it a good solution?
The solution applied through Hexagon technology tools focused on the development of an integrated approach with respect to maximizing the NPV (net value), considering the areas of excavation, discharge sequences and plant operations with the consideration of the routes haulage dynamics.

This method considers all possible route combinations between active mining areas (3D operational mining polygons) and destinations that have also been discretized using an integrated block network, while respecting design parameters and assumptions used (3D model).

Within the database there is no predefined destination or associated moment in terms of specific destination area (sterile, mineral and storage). All these decisions are part of the integrated optimization process.

In this way, the system shows the sequence of development of the mine, the optimal route possible along with the sequence of the destinations. Those results, including truck estimates, are fully auditable and traceable for reporting purposes and make them suitable for short-term activities.

All this to ensure that long-term business decisions translate into tactical planning and short-term activities that will guide the development of the five-year plan.