IMPROVING RESOURCE CONVERSION USING OPTIMIZATION AND SIMULATION – AN OPEN PIT CASE STUDY

The focus for advanced exploration drill planning is to maximize the volume of ground that can be classified as indicated or, ideally, measured given a series of physical and financial constraints.  The current means of drill hole layout relies heavily on incrementally developing the drill plan by adding potential drill holes until an expected geometric coverage or budgetary limit is met. This process relies heavily on the human capability to integrate 3D spatial information with abstracted goals. Despite the development of interactive 3D geological modeling applications the layout process remains time consuming, mentally complex and varying greatly based on the geologists' individual experience.


Using an open pit case study this paper describes the use of DRX, a drilling layout optimizer, in conjunction with  a resource classification system to develop a workflow that dramatically improves the expected conversion rate from indicated to measured.  


In addition to improving the resource conversion rate by more than 35% the process also permits the development of a number of drilling plans based on increasing budgets.  The possibility of quickly developing a number of drill plans that meet all constraints provides management with a means of better aligning drilling with seasonal limits and corporate strategic priorities.
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