- The Software Centre is developing the next generation of decision-support tools for mining with an emphasis on underground mine ventilation and life-of-mine schedule optimization. These two areas of research are key in maximizing the profitability of a mining operation.
AREAS OF EXPERTISE
MIRARCO is developing underground mine planning software that will ensure:
- stope sequences are geotechnically feasible,
- ventilation scenarios supporting the optimized plan are identified, and
- life-of-mine schedules are robust to mineral prices and ore grades.
Discrete Fracture Network (DFN) Modelling
MIRARCO’s new software tool, MoFrac, is a state-of-the-art DFN generation tool.
Proper planning and operation of underground mine ventilation systems can:
- Minimize both capital and operating costs
- Ensure that underground workers are provided with a safe and healthy work environment
Natural Heat Exchange Engineering Technology (NHEET) Project
MIRARCO’s NHEET project aims to leverage previous collaborative research between MIRARCO and Vale on the natural heat exchange system at Vale’s Creighton Mine to determine how the benefits of this system can be replicated at other mine sites. You can find more information on this project in this CIM Magazine article.
The SOT+ project has developed three new modules that increase the scope of SOT capabilities to take into account a broader range of constraints important to the mine planner. The modules are Advanced Valuation, Ventilation Constraints, and GeoSequencing. Industry partners participating in the SOT+ project include Vale Canada, Newmont, Agnico Eagle, Datamine and Deswik.
Click here to learn how your mining company can participate in the next phase of the SOT+ consortium project that will build on the success achieved to-date. Case study opportunities are currently available exclusively to prospective participants.
Extending the Benefits of the Natural Heat Exchange Area
MIRARCO is developing software to optimize the use of the existing natural heat exchange area system at Vale’s Creighton mine. This will allow Vale to avoid or postpone the significant capital and operating costs of mechanical refrigeration, while providing a healthier work environment for miners as deeper levels of the mine come into operation.
Rock masses contain discontinuities at different scales, such as cracks, joints, shears and faults, forming discrete fracture networks (DFNs). The geometry of these fracture networks and the fracture surface conditions control the strength and deformation behaviour of rock masses, and the geometry and interconnectivity of a DFN can influence groundwater flow and contaminant mobility. This research program is developing a new software tool called MoFrac implementing the novel techniques of R. Mohan Srivastava for the application of rule-based geostatistical methods to generate realizations of site-specific DFNs that explicitly honour fracture network geometry and spatial characteristics. The project will:
- develop improved algorithms, novel interface paradigms and novel workflows to allow geotechnical engineers to generate visually realistic and geologically plausible fracture networks;
- investigate how rock engineering in fractured rock masses can be enhanced with the aid of better-characterized DFNs;
- transfer knowledge to the industry by means of embedding algorithmic and methodological improvements in the MoFrac software tool and
- train highly qualified professionals.
The approach to be adopted is a combined application of experimental observation, field monitoring, and numerical modeling. This research is intended to advance DFN generation and materially improve the safety, productivity and profitability of underground engineering projects.
Please visit MoFrac website for more information about the project.
- Blayne Teddy, Project Manager – NHEET Project.
- Scott McGarvey, Lead Developer – MoFrac.
- William Junkin, Research Assistant – Mining Engineering.
- Marko Terzic, Developer – MoFrac.
- Patrick Gareau, Senior CFD Modeller – NHEET Project.
- David Cerantola, Senior CFD Modeller – NHEET Project.
- Bryan Maybee, PhD, MBA, MAusIMM, Associate Professor, Curtin Graduate School of Business, Curtin University; Centre for Exploration Targeting, The University of Western Australia.
- José Saavedra-Rosas, PhD, Senior Lecturer, Curtin Graduate School of Business, Curtin University; Adjunct Senior Lecturer, Centre for Exploration Targeting, The University of Western Australia.
- Chris M. Mangiardi, R. Meyer, 2017. A hybrid algorithm for parallel molecular dynamics simulations, In Computer Physics Communications, Volume 219, 2017, Pages 196-208, ISSN 0010-4655. doi
- Junkin, WR, Ben-Awuah, E and Fava, L. 2019. Incorporating DFN Analysis in Rock Engineering Systems Blast Fragmentation Models. ARMA 2019, The 53st US Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium, New York. 19–346.
- Junkin, WR, Ben-Awuah, E and Fava, L. 2019. DFN Variability Analysis through Voxelization. ARMA 2019, The 53st US Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium, New York. 19–345.
- Junkin, WR, Fava, L, Ben-Awuah, E and RM Srivastava 2018. Analysis of MoFrac-Generated Deterministic and Stochastic Discrete Fracture Network Models. DFNE 2018, 2nd International Discrete Fracture Network Engineering Conference, Seattle, Washington. 18-114.
- Junkin, WR, Janeczek, D, Bastola, S, Wang, X, Cai, M, Fava, L, Sykes, E, Munier, R and R.M. Srivastava 2017. Discrete Fracture Network Generation for the Äspö TAS08 Tunnel using MoFrac. ARMA 2017, The 51st US Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium, San Francisco, California. 17-339.
- Whittier, M, Hauta, R & Fava, L 2017. Robust mine schedule optimisation. in M Hudyma & Y Potvin (eds), Proceedings of the First International Conference on Underground Mining Technology, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 533-545. https://papers.acg.uwa.edu.au/p/1710_43_Whittier/
- Hauta, R, Whittier, M & Fava, L 2017. Application of the GeoSequencing Module to ensure optimised underground mine schedules with reduced geotechnical risk. in M Hudyma & Y Potvin (eds), Proceedings of the First International Conference on Underground Mining Technology, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 547-555. https://papers.acg.uwa.edu.au/p/1710_44_Hauta/
- Zhang, H, Hauta, R & Fava, L 2017. Mine schedule optimisation with ventilation constraints: a case study. in M Hudyma & Y Potvin (eds), Proceedings of the First International Conference on Underground Mining Technology, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 145-152. https://papers.acg.uwa.edu.au/p/1710_11_Zhang/
- Saeidi, N, Romero, A, Fava, L & Allen, C 2017. Simulation of large-scale thermal storage in fragmented rock modelled as a discretised porous medium – application to the Natural Heat Exchange Area at Creighton Mine. in M Hudyma & Y Potvin (eds), Proceedings of the First International Conference on Underground Mining Technology, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 153-165. https://papers.acg.uwa.edu.au/p/1710_12_Saeidi/
- Saeidi, N., Millar, D., Fava, L., & Cai, M., 2014. Towards mining schedule optimization constrained by geomechanics. 7th International Conference on Deep and High Stress Mining, September 16-18, 2014, Sudbury, Canada.
- Fava, L., Saavedra-Rosas, J., Tough, V. & Haarala, P., 2013. Heuristic Optimization of Scheduling Scenarios for Achieving Strategic Mine Planning Targets. 23rd World Mining Congress, August 11-15, 2013, Montreal, Canada.
- Schafrik, S., Fava, L., Allen, C., O’Connor, D. & Millar, D., 2013. Verification of a CFD code used for air flow simulations of fractured and broken rock. 23rd World Mining Congress, August 11-15, 2013, Montreal, Canada.
- Fava, L., Millar, D., Anderson, B., Schafrik, S., O’Connor, D. & Allen, C., 2012. Modeling of the Natural Heat Exchange Area at Creighton Mine for Operational Decision Support. 14th US/North American Mine Ventilation Symposium, June 17-20, 2012, Salt Lake City, Utah.
- Fava, L., Maybee, B. & Millar D.L., 2012. Decision support for an underground gold mining operation: a case study using the Schedule Optimization Tool. AusIMM Conference on Project Evaluation, May 24-25, 2012, Melborne, Australia.
- Fava, L., Millar, D. & Maybee, B., 2011. Scenario Evaluation through Mine Schedule Optimisation. Second International Seminar on Mine Planning, June 8-10, 2011, Antofagasta, Chile.
- Maybee, B. & Fava, L., 2011. Risk-Based Evaluation for Underground Mine Planning. Second International Seminar on Mine Planning, June 8-10, 2011, Antofagasta, Chile.
- Journal Papers