50 years of MinePlan – looking back and ahead

In 2020, Hexagon celebrated a golden anniversary of powerful innovation and partnership as HxGN MinePlan turned 50. In this episode of Mining Matters, portfolio manager, Marc Poualion, product manager, Seth Gering, and principal mine planning specialist, Ernesto Vivas discuss the history and change within the portfolio

Q: Seth, what was your first experience with MinePlan like?

SG:  My first experience using MinePlan was working for a different company. I was a contractor, and we were working on a geophysics project at a mine in Mexico. We really needed to get some data from the leach pad where we were working with the surveyors. So, we went to go find the surveyor office. We found the surveyors, and they were using MinePlan at the time, so we sat down with them. I explained what we needed, what we were trying to achieve, and they were able to get the information to us that we needed, the three-dimensional profiles of the leach pad where we were working, plus some other information that was important for the project.

At that time, I was using the GIS systems, which have some limitations. They’re only 2D, and they’re not always very strong on the processing side. I was really impressed with the 3D visualization and the modeling capabilities of that software. About a year later, I applied to work at MineSight, now a part of Hexagon, to work on the MinePlan platform, and I’ve been using the tools for the past 10-plus years, and I still really enjoy working on new challenges with customers and working with the platform and learning what we can do with the tools.

Q: Ernesto, describe some of your more memorable interactions with customers where you realized the difference that MinePlan can make on productivity and profitability?

EV:  When you start working with the clients and you realize we’re working on a budget plan or we’re working on a life-of-mine plan. Either way, these plans, they have a value, and they have some key indicators and parameters which have a lot of ramification downstream, not just for the mine-planning team, but for everybody else, from the plan to environmental, legal, etc. So, I started to realize the importance of that, that when we say that you were going to produce X amount of tons or grade, that there was a value, a cost, associated with all of that, that has to be met.

I started to realize that the reason that I was with them was to help them improve that, improve that plan, improve the value, improve the profiles of the truck hours, of the quality parameters, etc. So, I started to write about it and make note about it.

I can tell you, for example, in the case of Peña Colorada, that was one case that was published in the Mining Engineering magazine. They were able to save $35 million by improving the haulage routes and by having an optimized dump discharge plan. But that was one of many factors because there was other technology that they were applying from Hexagon, like the fleet management system, slope monitoring, because everything must be done safely. So, there are other things that come into play which will help you achieve that value.

Q: Marc, how will MinePlan develop and improve?

MP: For our customers and just for the industry in general, the future looks bright. Over the next year, within the planning portfolio at Hexagon, we’re developing a number of different technologies that are going to enable integration with other parts of our Mining division to deliver really seamless interaction between our geological modeling, mine design, scheduling, operations products that we’ve got in the mine-planning portfolio, but also those in the operations portfolio, like the fleet management systems, as well as business-intelligence reporting and analytics and equipment-automation systems. So, on a number of fronts, our customers are going to see us bring really robust products and integrations that deliver market-leading and really industry-changing functionality that are all going to be built on cutting-edge technology. That is where we are right now.

Listen to the full interview here.

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