Mine planning software: Industry vs. Academia?

By Jose D. Gonzales Borja posted 08-16-2017 09:27 AM

  
During the recent APCOM conference at Colorado School of Mines where I was a speaker, an interesting discussion took place about what is considered "traditional" in the field of Strategic Open Pit Mine Planning. The initials APCOM stands for "Application of Computers and Operations Research in the Mineral Industry", and it has been around since 1961.

One point of view was that, indeed, "traditional" means what some mining companies are still doing as part of long-established and approved procedures. The opposite point of view, also valid, was that "traditional" means what researchers consider state-of-art procedures or techniques at the present moment, so that new approaches can be compared not to wrong and obsolete results, but to the latest, commonly-accepted procedure.

Although the purpose of APCOM is to share and discuss new developments, new ideas and approaches to tackle unsolved problems in the Mineral Industry, it is also true that Mining Engineers and Mine Planning practitioners need a forum where "traditional" approaches are challenged, questioned and definitely discarded. One particular example of this case would be the Lerchs & Grossmann algorithm for determining the ultimate pit limit.

I have the feeling that this second objective was not achieved. One participant mentioned, regarding this particular example, that Bankable Feasibility Studies still demand a Lerchs & Grossmann result in order to be approved/admitted. Does this mean that we need to involve also the Finance community in technical, mining-only discussions? Or is it something else missing?

Your comments and ideas are highly appreciated. I am just part of the new generation of Mine Engineers that strive for using the latest techniques and technologies available to alleviate our daily work at the mine, and also part of the mine planning software development community.




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