Innovations in mine planning and design utilizing virtual reality

CIM Vancouver 2002
Peter K. Kaiser, John G. Henning, Luigi Cotesta,
Abstract Planning and design of deep underground mines involves a process of complex three-dimenisonal data integration utilizing information from explorations (geology, rock mass characteristics), engineering (mining method, excavation geometry, stress) and operations (time, in the form of
sequencing). As new logging and monitoring technologies are being developed, the amount and complexity of data becomes overwhelming and decisions are often made based on only a small part of the available data.

This year, Laurentian University officially opened a state-of-the-art Virtual Reality Laboratory (VRL), a Mining Exploratorium that is unique in the world for mining and offers an exceptional data interpretation environment for mine planning and design. The VRL combines a large format
spherical stereoscopic projection system, equipped with high definition projectors providing the highest resolution of active stereo in the world today, with advanced features of earth modeling software. Combined, this creates the first virtual reality facility geared specifically to the interpretation of mine geometry, geology, geochemistry, geomechanics and mining datasets. The facility builds on technologies developed and proven in such fields as oil and gas exploration, plant design and climatic/environmental modelling. The scale of the screen combined with the
depth perception provides an immersion that increases the participants' overall understanding of spatial data relationships and accelerates data comprehension as well as transfer of experience and knowledge.

This paper will demonstrate how value can be added to the mine planning and design process by utilizing this unique tool in the mining decision-making process. On one or two case studies, it will be demonstrated, that value can be derived by comprehending the spatial relationship of data and by interpreting the data in a collaborative, virtual reality environment. The presentation will build on experience of a recent case study involving operational and geomechanics constraints and considerations in the sill pillar process.
Keywords: Virtual Reality, Geomechanics, data immersion, Mine design, three-dimension, Data integration
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