The topography, current phase designs and block model at Minera Corner Bay’s Alamo Dorado open pit silver mine in Mexico – as presented by MineSight. The MineSight Project Assist Team recently solved Alamo Dorado’s difficulties reconciling long and short range planning, capturing an additional 9% of project value.
From the Arctic to the South Pacific, Mintec technical support is on-site, partnering with clients to get the most from MineSight. Senior MineSight specialist, Ernesto Vivas, recently returned from Sonora, Mexico, where Minera Corner Bay is using MineSight at the Alamo Dorado open pit silver mine. Minera Corner Bay is a subsidiary of Vancouver company, Pan American Silver.
Commercial production at Alamo Dorado began on April 1, 2007. Production from Alamo Dorado generates most of its revenue from silver with the remainder from gold. When Ernesto visited the site for the first time in 2009 the cutoff grade strategy was to stockpile the low grade material. Four years later in 2013, they are blending that material with high grade from the pit to meet the plant quality specifications.
“The last time I worked with the client was in November of 2011,” says Ernesto. “After we analyzed the schedule we found opportunities to mine in different areas to improve the value of their plan.”
The improvement captured an additional nine percent of project value and justified operational changes to allocate the mine resources in the newly identified areas.
Senior MineSight specialist, Ernesto Vivas, is a member of Mintec’s Project Assist Team. Pictured here in Seattle at SME-2012, Ernesto is in his element helping clients solve their problems with MineSight.
During Mintec’s 2012 seminar in Hermosillo, Mexico, Ernesto met Pan American representatives to discuss Alamo Dorado. That meeting led to April’s MineSight Project Assist visit. MineSight Project Assist is part of Mintec’s consulting services. Clients can enlist the help of the project assist team’s professional geologists and mining engineers on-site or remotely.
During April’s visit, Ernesto met with Alamo Dorado’s mine manager and short range engineer, as well as Pan American Silver’s corporate long range engineer. Ernesto was asked to address Alamo Dorado’s difficulties reconciling long and short range planning. MineSight Strategic Planner was being used for the mine’s budget and life of mine plan. An in-house OCS was being used for daily plans and MineSight Interactive Planner for weekly plans. MineSight Strategic Planner uses full/partial bench reserves while the daily and weekly plans are based on polygon cuts.
“To bridge the gap between long and short range planning and improve their reconciliation issues, I suggested that we used MineSight Schedule Optimizer to complete an integrated mine plan,” says Ernesto.
“We started by preparing the cuts and excavations paths using operational minable widths,” says Ernesto. “The cuts were designed to meet tonnage targets equivalent to one day’s worth of production.”
The cuts were imported into the MineSight Planning Database and the corresponding attributes were populated accordingly. The first year (April through December 2013) was set up monthly, the second year quarterly and the remaining periods yearly.
“Over the life of the project they have been stockpiling low grade ore and currently are using that stockpile to blend it with the run of mine ore to meet the tonnage/grades required by the plant,” says Ernesto. “Certain mining considerations had to be implemented into the mine plan in order to make the schedule practical.”
Fortunately, MineSight Schedule Optimizer has the functionality to reflect such constraints. For example, the number of open benches helped prevent the shovel from moving from one bench to another. Ernesto had to ensure that the excavators available were allocated properly and could move from one area to another, from period to period, subject to their excavation rates and other operational constraints. Similar examples of additional mining rules are shown in the picture below.
“We executed MineSight Schedule Optimizer period by period, checking the schedule graphically and analytically to make sure that the objectives were satisfied,” says Ernesto. “We completed the life of mine plan and made the following movie. It was so well-received, the clients gave us permission to share here.
“After we completed the integrated mine plan we took the results from April and created a weekly plan that included the haulage,” says Ernesto. “At first we tried using MineSight Interactive Planner-Material Manager. However, in order to achieve the blending and meet the tonnage and grade requirements, it was actually easier and faster to do it with MineSight Schedule Optimizer.”
The project assist was completed with a custom Mine Planning Guide document prepared for the engineers at Alamo Dorado.
“The documents are very good with excellent presentation and detailed data,” writes mine manager, Rogelio Martinez. “There is nothing left to do but to thank you for your professionalism and the quality of person that you have always demonstrated.”
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