Generating a geological model is a key but time-consuming job for any geologist. Now, the new MineSight Implicit Modeler is helping to drastically reduce the time it takes to perform this task.
The geological model is an interpretation of the sub-surface geology and is usually based on a small, incomplete dataset from field mapping, geophysics and drillhole logging. Traditional explicit modeling techniques, where a geologist manually digitises and wireframes the geological contacts, can take weeks or even months.
In an ideal world, the geologist would build several models and test them by collecting more data until they were confident that the model was representative. In reality, the time pressures of mining usually mean the geologist only has time to build a single model. Rarely is there time to test it, until it’s too late.
Applying implicit modeling techniques to geology can greatly accelerate the modeling process and allow multiple models to be created quickly. Multiple realisations of the original data can show that there is uncertainty in the models created, which is usually a bad thing in mining. If there is uncertainty you have a choice: take the risk and accept the consequences; or invest more money to reduce the uncertainty until investors and managers are happy. One of the criticisms levelled at implicit modeling processes in the past is that it can be seen as a “black box” system. The MineSight Implicit Modeler is designed to allow you to control and manage the modeling process as much or as little as you need.
The amount of user interaction depends on several factors, including the amount of original data and the complexity of the deposit. The benefit of using the Implicit Modeler is that you can quickly run an unconstrained model (seconds to minutes, typically) on the raw data, visually validate the results and, if required, add some manual control and repeat. This process is far quicker than traditional sectional interpretations while still allowing the geologist to do geology.
MineSight Implicit Modeler was released in 2013 and it is already making a big impression on clients.
“Implicit Modeler was actually one of the best things that ever happened to us,” says Raza Parvez, Senior Geologist with Atrum Coal in British Columbia, Canada. “Our project is unique in the sense that it’s a big area with small seams that are close together with partings in them. So we are constantly updating our model, and the traditional way of doing footwalls and then doing sections and then creating surfaces would have taken so long. With the Implicit Modeler, we just update those points and our drillhole database, and get a new surface very quickly.”
In future blogs, we will walk through practical examples of how MineSight Implicit Modeler is being used to model geology in a way that’s shaping smart change.
Product Manager, Operations
Guest Blogger Profile:
Mark spent eight years as an exploration and mine geologist, becoming Senior Mine Geologist at Newmont’s Groundrush operations in Australia’s Northern Territory. Mark has since worked in mining software as a technical services manager and regional business development manager. He is now the product manager for MineSight’s Operational products and a senior advisor for Geological products.