COSMO Laboratory reports successful Technical Day

2015-07-27
2014 Annual Technical Day of the COSMO - Stochastic Mine Planning Laboratory

The 2015 Annual Technical Day of the COSMO - Stochastic Mine Planning Laboratory displays new research and establishes tools for mine planning and mineral value chain optimization under uncertainty

MONTREAL – More than 60 industry professionals and academics from different countries and six continents gathered at McGill University in Montreal on June 24-25, 2015, to hear about the latest findings of the COSMO Laboratory’s researchers at COSMO’s biannual Technical Day. “Another outstanding show of the highest end advances and developments in mine planning, design and production scheduling, from the world leading University research lab in this fields,” said Brian Baird of BHP Billiton, chair of the COSMO industry advisory board.

This year was the ninth COSMO Technical Day at McGill University. “This year’s Technical Day was larger than previous years,” commented professor Roussos Dimitrakopoulos, director of the Stochastic Mine Planning Laboratory. He went on to say that the 2015 Technical Day represented the “most advanced technology we’ve ever had, particularly on the topic of simultaneous optimization of mining complexes and mineral value chains under uncertainty, with major issues addressed with respect to big data and data analytics and substantial outcomes of our NSERC Collaborative Research and Development grant of the last five years.”

The laboratory was established in 2006 by Dimitrakopoulos, who is a Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Mineral Resource Development and Optimization under Uncertainty, with the support of six mining industry partners: AngloGold Ashanti, Barrick Gold, BHP Billiton, De Beers, Newmont Mining and Vale. This year, Kinross Gold joined the consortium, becoming its seventh partner. “We are impressed with COSMO’s leading value- and risk-based approach to optimizing business plans,” said Scott Hicks, vice-president of mine planning and project studies at Kinross. “These core efforts fit well with Kinross’ disciplined ‘Way Forward’ approach to building value and we look forward to contributing to the consortium.”

The lab aims to change current paradigms, advance concepts and generate new technologies to optimize mineral resource development under uncertain conditions by developing new mathematical models and risk-inclusive technologies to mine planning, design, production scheduling, processing alternatives and integration of all aspects of mineral value chains.

One of the highlights from 2015 Technical Day was the full field testing of new technologies in Newmont’s mines in Nevada, documenting the outstanding advantages of the simultaneous optimization of mining complexes composed of several mines and ore processing streams. “This year the technical day presentations clearly showed that stochastic mine planning is no longer just the aspiration of a group of keen mining companies,” said Marcelo Godoy, a Denver-based executive of Newmont Mining. “COSMO’s researchers have developed methodologies and algorithms that make stochastic mine planning applicable to complex mining systems. This is a major technological breakthrough allowing mining companies to explicitly deal with ore body, mining and processing uncertainties as part of their business planning process.”

Similar were the comments from all mining industry COSMO consortium members.

At the end of this ninth technical day and on behalf of the COSMO industry members, Baird praised the 22 researchers of COSMO and their “outstanding” contributions, and concluded that “all industry members appreciate the originality, maturity and contribution of the research outcomes from the COSMO lab over the past nine years.”

COSMO’s second, travelling Technical Day will be hosted by Vale and held in Brazil in November 2015. Papers from COSMO Technical Day 2015 will be available later this year on the COSMO website for COSMO consortium industry members and in 2016 for the public.