NEWS RELEASE: SOT+ case study kicks off at Vale – advancing mine plan optimization

Sudbury, ON, May 6, 2013 – MIRARCO continues to be a leader in adding value to underground selective mining operations through the use of the Schedule Optimization Tool (SOT). Building upon this commercial software, the SOT+ project dives deeper to enhance the capabilities of the existing tool. In partnership with mining companies Vale and Newmont, commercialization partners CAE Mining and Deswik, and project managed by the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI), the first SOT+ case study is now underway, optimizing the economic value of a Vale mining operation in the Sudbury area.

The SOT software optimizes the net present value (NPV) of medium to long-term underground mine schedules for both development and production. As a result, it decreases financial risk, saves time and manpower, and facilitates the evaluation of alternative designs and strategic options along with a wide range of analyses.

The SOT+ project aims to advance the functionality of the software for selective mining and to expand the software to handle bulk mining methods. There are five research themes, each of which will be anchored by a three year case study. The research themes are: ore blending, ventilation constraints, geotechnical constraints, schedule optimization for bulk mining methods (block caving and/or surface mining), and advanced valuation.

The research team includes partners from MIRARCO, Laurentian University, Curtin University, and Chasm Consulting/Ventsim. A mine planning specialist is seconded to the mining company sponsor for each case study. The case studies will identify the human resources required, the time spent, and the solution quality (NPV) obtained with SOT+ compared to current practices, validated through mining company review.

The Vale case study focuses on integrating and optimizing the schedule of a multi-orebody operation. The research will involve sensitivity analyses (e.g. mineral prices, costs and mineral grades). An advanced valuation methodology will be implemented to enhance the robustness of the mine plan in regards to these uncertain project parameters. Laurentian University graduate student and experienced mine planner Vijay Sharma has been seconded to lead this case study.

Mr. Seppo Haapamaki, R&D Program Director, CEMI, stated, “The SOT+ project is positioned to deliver tremendous value to mining operations. The investment in SOT+ demonstrates that Vale’s custom mine planning needs will be addressed and thus will establish a more robust, high valued mine plan for the Sudbury operations. The project will have the potential to increase the profitability and enhance the knowledge capacity with highly qualified personnel (HQP). The case study will allow mine planners to select among the schedules with highest NPVs the one determined to be of least risk.”

Mining companies interested in sponsoring a case study or learning more about the SOT+ advantage are invited to contact CEMI. Recruitment is underway for additional mine planning specialists for the SOT+ project.
Contact:

Seppo Haapamaki
Management Director
Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation
shaapamaki@miningexcellence.ca
1-705-673-6568 ext. 43

Lorrie Fava
Program Manager, Ventilation and Production Optimization
MIRARCO—Mining Innovation
lfava@mirarco.org
1-705-675-1151 ext. 5113

MIRARCO – Mining Innovation, Rehabilitation and Applied Research Corporation, founded in 1998, is a not-for-profit applied research and technical service company established at Laurentian University. MIRARCO is located in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, and serves as an innovation bridge between researchers and industry. Visit www.mirarco.org for more information.

CEMI – The Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI) directs and coordinates step-change innovation in the areas of exploration, deep mining, integrated mine engineering, environment and sustainability for the metal mining industry. With a seasoned team of program directors, CEMI identifies, assesses and manages industry-focused applied research & development projects that extend from geology and engineering to the natural sciences. We recognize innovation is a three-phase process: research, development and implementation (R & D, I). With implementation, we turn innovative ideas into best practices. Visit www.miningexcellence.ca for more information.

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