Bubble Graph: A Tool to Easily Identify Large Anomalies

Bubble Graph: A Tool to Easily Identify Large Anomalies

Promine releases a new tool for generating bubble charts from a set of point samples that may represent grade concentrations, chemical, geo-metallurgical, mineralogical or hydrogeological properties as well as non-additive variables. The command is integrated into the geological mapping module of Promine’s geology category. It allows to visually identify the areas where interesting anomalies are presented. Users can define scale, colors, intervals and whether to generate the hatches or not.

See this new function in action with one of our experts and discover first-hand what this function can do for your mining & geology operations.

Request a Live Demonstration today!

For more information, contact us at [email protected]

5 questions to ask yourself if you’re thinking of a career in software

5 questions to ask yourself if you’re thinking of a career in software

Before starting, let me present myself: I’m Roger and I’m a software intern at Promine. I’m currently studying software engineering at McGill University in Montreal. Now that introductions are out of the way, let’s address the hottest subject when discussing the software industry: Money. If your reason to get into it is money, you’re kind of in the right place, but not really. See, it is undeniable that you can make a substantial amount of money in the software industry, but you first need to be dedicated and passionate about your work. Therefore if your only drive is the green stuff, you’re probably gonna end up switching careers after 3 years. Anyhow, let’s get into our 5 questions.    

 

  1. Do you like puzzles?

Programming can be summed up to solving puzzles. Every time you will be required to write code, it will be to solve a problem. Every time you will have finished a piece of code, it will be because you have solved that problem. Programming is all about the highs and lows. You will first start full of determination and hope, then get stuck and go through a period of depression, and finally, reach your goal with an intense sense of pride towards what you have accomplished. I might be dramatizing a bit, but it is always some variation of that process. Sounds like a process you could get behind? You are at the right place.  

 

  1. Are you a team player?

If you’ve ever seen Silicon Valley on HBO, you’ll know that good software is produced by great teamwork. Programmers often need to communicate their ideas orally, textually and programmatically. Modern software architectures are too complex to create alone and need a lot of preparation and discussion to develop. You will spend a lot of your time in meetings discussing the improvements that need to be implemented, presenting your work and talking about bugs. If you believe in making a whole greater than the sum of its parts, you will find what you are looking for in software.    

 

  1. Do you love learning?

Software is the most rapidly evolving industry in history and to keep up with it, you need to be passionate about learning. Learning new programming languages, new APIs, new frameworks, new everything. Every single day is a learning experience. It is not uncommon to have to learn a new programming language in just a few days for an interview or a new project you have been assigned to. If you love the feeling of mastering something you barely knew anything about the week before, software is most definitely right for you.   

 

  1. Do you enjoy being creative?

From syntax to style, it sometimes feels like programming has more in common with literature then mathematics. Every programming language has their little nuances, areas they are good and terrible at. Assembly code could be compared to latin, as it is at the source of most languages but is almost completely forgotten. Every problem has a million ways to be solved. The solution could vary in logic, architecture, structure, but when the deadline is near, the only thing that matters is that it does the job. So if you like to think outside the box, sometimes under pressure, you will find your fix in software.     

 

  1. Can you appreciate failure?

I know that few people will say that they crave failing. Failure is by no means a good feeling that you should seek. However, it is a valuable step in software development that every programmer can appreciate. Like everybody, you will fail over and over again. Bad algorithms, broken code, terrible interviews, those are the rites of passages that will shape you into a great programmer. As Kelly Clarkson taught us, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. Thus, if you can accept your failures and see every one of them as an opportunity to improve your craft, I can assure you software will suit you like a glove.    

Feasibility studies for mining projects 

Feasibility studies for mining projects 

Feasibility studies for mining projects 

There is no international agreement on the terminology for each stage of feasibility study and there is no agreed standard for quality or accuracy. The AusIMM’s Monograph 27, Cost Estimation Handbook provides a set of standards which may become more widely used. While it is convenient to refer to Scoping Studies, Prefeasibility Studies, and final Feasibility Studies, in reality the study process is iterative, and several increasingly detailed Prefeasibility Studies may be undertaken before committing to the final Feasibility Study.

Scoping Studies 

A Scoping Study may be carried out very early in the exploration phase, as a basis for acquiring exploration areas or making a commitment for exploration funding. At this stage the investment risk may be relatively small, but it is obviously undesirable to expend further funds on something that has no chance of being economic. 

The major risk at this stage is that a viable mining project is relinquished due to an inadequate assessment. As there is a very low probability of an exploration project proceeding to become a mine it is evident that this risk is quite a serious one at the Scoping Study stage. For this reason, it is essential that experienced people are involved in the Scoping Study. The intended estimation accuracy is usually 30 to 35 per cent, though some companies accept +/- 50 per cent. 

It is acceptable for Scoping Studies to be based on very limited information or speculative assumptions in the absence of hard data. The study is directed at the potential of the property rather than a conservative view based on limited information. 

A sensitivity analysis, however, should present the likely range of possible outcomes so that decision making, including investment decisions that may follow a public release of the study results, is not biased to the optimistic end of the range. 

 

Prefeasibility Studies 

There are common reasons for carrying out Prefeasibility Studies: 

  • As a basis for committing to a major exploration program following a successful preliminary program. It is possible for commitments of tens of millions of dollars or more to be made for ongoing exploration and development based on a Prefeasibility Study, prior to decision to mine. For example, where ore reserves cannot be proven by surface drilling underground development may be required for exploration at an early stage of the project. 
  • To attract a buyer to the project or to attract a joint venture partner or as a basis for a major underwriting to raise the required risk capital. A Prefeasibility Study may also be prepared in full or in part by potential purchasers as part of the due diligence process. 
  • To provide a justification for proceeding to a final Feasibility Study. 

The results of a Prefeasibility Study may be the first hard project information which is seen by corporate decision makers and investors. 

Usually the findings are announced publicly so that it becomes difficult to change perceptions with subsequent information. In such cases, the Prefeasibility Study has become the real decision point, with the subsequent Feasibility Study being seen by management and investors as a necessary step along a path which has already been irrevocably committed. While undesirable, this sequence of events may occur due to modern reporting requirements. 

For these reasons the Prefeasibility Study must be prepared with great care by experienced people, and its conclusions should be heavily qualified wherever necessary. Assumptions should be realistic rather than optimistic because it is very difficult to bring management and markets back to reality in the event that the final Feasibility Study is significantly less favourable. 

 

Final Feasibility Studies 

The final Feasibility Study is usually based on the most attractive alternative for the project as previously determined. The aim of the study is to remove all significant uncertainties and to present the relevant information with back up material in a concise and accessible way. The final Feasibility Study has a number of key objectives: 

  • to demonstrate within a reasonable confidence that the project can be constructed and operated in a technically sound and economically viable manner 
  • to provide a basis for detailed design and construction 
  • to enable the raising of finance for the project from banks or other sources. 

The term bankable is sometimes used in connection with final Feasibility Studies. This just means that the study achieves a quality and standard that would be acceptable for submission to bankers. Whether a particular bank will actually lend against the project is another question, depending on many matters that are outside the control of the feasibility study team. 

Whether the project design has been optimised in the feasibility study will depend on the time and budget allowed. Often a sub-optimal but acceptable design is used as the basis of the feasibility study with further optimisation undertaken (or not) once the project has been approved. 

The feasibility study is only a step along the design path. Much more work must be undertaken during the detailed engineering phase which follows project approval. The engineering work is usually ongoing through project completion, commissioning and early production. 

 

Reporting Ore Reserves 

While reporting requirements vary around the world, a Prefeasibility Study is the minimum level of study that should be completed before reporting an ore reserve.  

 

– Carlos Freile

Implicit Modeling Command

Implicit Modeling Command

A New Efficient Way to Model Orebodies 

 

Promine releases a new tool for implicit modeling of geological features using radial basis functions. The command allows you to model in few simple steps, either the envelope that may represent an orebody or the surfaces representing the hanging wall and the footwall of a lithology. The command is integrated into the geological mapping module of Promine’s geology category.

Different radial basis functions and modelling parameters can be used to evaluate different scenarios. The time savings by using this command are very substantial.

 

See this new function in action with one of our experts and discover first-hand what this function can do for your mining & geology operations.

Request a Live Demonstration today!

 

For more information, please contact us at [email protected]

Uncertainty and Mining 

Mining is an industry that combines many disciplines with a primary objective: the extraction of mineral resources in an economically profitable, environmentally and socially sustainable way. Many of the risks associated with a mining project include financial, technical, social, environmental risks, among others. One of the risks that has become more relevant in recent years are social risks. Many large, medium and small-scale projects have been discontinued, postponed or cancelled because they are not approved by communities. Some mining companies have increasingly been working hand-in-hand with communities to highlight the benefits that responsible mining brings to the economic development of a community, region, and country. However, many efforts are still required to change the negative perception of an activity so vital to our modern way of life. 

 

Another major risk that has been extensively identified and studied from a technical perspective corresponds to the geological risk. The geological model for a mineral deposit is developed from the limited information obtained from techniques such as exploration drilling, channel samples or from outcrops, amongst others. It’s well known that the estimates in a geological model, such as those commonly used in the estimation of resources and reserves, are an approximate representation of  the mineral grade distribution. This leads to high incertitude regarding the distribution and variability of mineral grades within the deposit, commonly referred to as geological uncertainty.  Several studies have shown that a large percentage of projects do not meet production targets due to the differences between the mineral grade they had in the model with respect to the grade obtained in reality,  this being a result of the geological uncertainty previously mentioned. 

 

Another risk factor affecting all mining operations is the risk of over and under excavation of blocks, which results in dilution, operational losses of material, and possible geomechanical instability. In most cases, a mining operation assumes a dilution rate based on historical values, previous experiences or similar operations. However, this dilution rate can differ greatly in reality, compromising the profitability of the operation. 

 

From a financial point of view there are large risks related to the uncertainty in the price of metals and raw materials, operating costs, as well as taxes and regulations.  In a similar way we could list many more risks that arise from all the uncertainties that are  present in a mining operation.  

 

The question we have to ask ourselves is how to face this uncertainty. We can identify three working methodologies to deal with this uncertainty. The first option is to ignore the uncertainty, which is the traditional methodology along with the ensuing risks associated with that. The second option is to reduce uncertainty, which can be done up to some extent and can come at a great cost. This option can be considered for certain types of uncertainties, but in certain cases, such as geological uncertainties, the deposit is only fully known once it is extracted. The third option is to live with uncertainty and consider it in decision-making using stochastic methods. In this case, uncertainty is accounted for in the model and strong decisions have to be made, understanding that uncertainty will be present at the moment of making decisions. 

Stochastic solutions perform better than their deterministic counterparts in the presence of uncertainty. The challenge is to correctly model uncertainty and develop efficient stochastic methods. It’s in this direction that we must all work in the industry, academia and technology companies to be able to provide us with the tools that will allow us to reduce the risks associated with mining activities. 

 

Luis Montiel Petro, PhD.