Micromine takes a leap forward in mine design
Having acquired two cutting-edge technologies before revamping its suite, software company Micromine now covers all the bases of geology, mine planning, design and scheduling, with many more to come.
Micromine has started 2021 off with a bang, revealing significant enhancements to its software that have streamlined the complex process of geological modeling, mine planning and mine design.
A year later, the company has expanded into seven distinct products in an end-to-end digital ecosystem with Micromine Origin and Micromine Beyond.
The former is a 3D exploration and modeling solution that integrates and interprets exploration data, while the latter controls the further development of the mining asset – the actual planning and exploitation of a resource.
Micromine Origin includes all of the technologies the company has always been known for in the field of exploration, making it as easy as possible to discover, understand and act on new assets.
But the company was hungry to serve more than this initial exploration phase.
Micromine’s head of product strategy, Jeremy Hanrahan, joined the company in mid-2021 and recognized a growing business.
“The really exciting thing for me when I joined Micromine was that they recognize where the growth opportunity lies and strive to take a leadership position in mine planning and operations,” Hanrahan said. australian mining.
Having worked as an electronics engineer and mining engineer for the past 20 years, Hanrahan has seen the best and the worst in mine design technology.
Although Micromine’s competition is tough globally, it has what it takes to grab a significant share of the market in Australia and overseas, according to Hanrahan.
“There aren’t many companies working at both ends of the process, in terms of geological assessment and in mining operations. So that certainly sets Micromine apart,” he said.
“In terms of the life cycle of a resource – from finding a new resource deposit, proving there’s something out there, creating and leveraging a model, putting it into to market, building and designing an operation, and then operating that asset – Micromine is one of the few that has this end-to-end offering.
Rounding out this comprehensive suite are Micromine’s 2021 acquisitions of Spry and Alastri in June and September, respectively.
Both technologies have come with their own respected reputations – Spry is recognized as a leader in planning and simulation for soft rock operations, while Alastri specializes in intuitive mine planning and production planning with a clear strength in open pit hard rock operations.
After years of doing these jobs “by hand”, Hanrahan was equally excited and exasperated by the capabilities of these technologies.
“I used to see problems and get frustrated that something took two days for me,” he said. “So it was amazing when I heard about Alastri, because it took maybe 10 seconds to reprocess a reserve block model. I thought, ‘if only I had this years ago ‘.
“Likewise, everything you wanted to see happen, every tool you wanted to have at the time was fulfilled by Spry.
“It evolved collaboratively and cooperatively from the people there and learning from all the experiences, products and planning approaches that came before it.”
Micromine Beyond was then released in November when the larger sequel was unveiled. This suite now includes Micromine Nexus, Geobank, Origin, Beyond, Alastri, Spry and Pitram, each with their own place in a mine’s life cycle.
And while there’s some crossover in their abilities, Hanrahan said the Micromine sequel is something of an evolution.
“The fact that we have multiple options has opened up some exciting opportunities for us and our customers,” he said.
“Micromine Beyond is really the intersection point between geology, mine design and the initial sequence that guides a mining schedule.
“It’s the natural strength it has to complement products like Spry and Alastri and why we’re interested in further integrating with them to deliver each of their best features.”
And, of course, not all Micromine customers will be suitable for all Micromine products.
A company specializing in the discovery and modeling of undeveloped mineral resources, for example, will not be particularly interested in Spry’s transportation planning. And an active mine operator may not need Origin’s exploratory assets much.
Hanrahan explained the process of connecting customers with Micromine products.
“A key part of deploying these tools is the hands-on experience, where software and mining engineers can tailor the program to the customer and deliver it directly to the customer,” he said. “This allows the workflow to best adapt to the needs of the customer’s site.
And in the unlikely event that a customer’s needs reveal a gap in the Micromine ecosystem, Hanrahan said such occurrences are constantly considered as the company considers opportunities for expansion.
“It will be an ever-expanding portfolio that will involve the acquisition, development and integration of new technologies,” he said.
“We are actively committed to improving our capabilities in mining against our proven strength in geological modeling.”
This article also appears in the March issue of Australian mining.