We take a look at common industry problems facing production geologists and the innovative ways that Seequent is planning to make mining easier.
Product Manager for Mining Operations – Seequent
<v Peter>Welcome everyone, and thanks for joining us here</v>
at PDAC 2021.
I hope that you’re having a good conference
and making lots of good connections.
My name is Peter Oshust,
I am a senior project geologist with Seequent
based in Vancouver.
I will be your moderator for this presentation
of the future of mining operations workflows at Seequent.
And it is also my pleasure to introduce our speaker,
Ryan is the product manager for production geology
and mining operations
on the Seequent production management team.
He holds a master of science in geology
from the University of Waikato at Hamilton, New Zealand.
Ryan began his professional career working
on mineral exploration projects in New Zealand
before joining Seequent in Christchurch
to become a software developer.
He is an expert user in Leapfrog Geo and Seequent Central.
And has contributed to the development
of many key features across both products.
And with that, I welcome Ryan.
The floor is yours.
<v Ryan>Thanks Peter.</v>
So today I’m going to be talking to you about
what Seequent is doing to better support you
in your mine operations.
And I’ll be covering many of the new exciting features
that are coming up.
So before we get started, I just want to point out
that this presentation is about the future.
And so we are making some forward looking statements
and what you see here today may change.
So, Seequent has a range of solutions across
the mining value chain,
spanning from discovery
through to recovery of the resource
and through to restoration.
And we’re working to create an interconnected ecosystem
of solutions between all our products.
In the mining operation space,
we have Leapfrog Geo
or as market leader in geological modeling,
Leapfrog Edge for its estimation capability,
and then a whole host of data management solutions,
including central, depth, and it mesh deposit.
For geotechnical analysis we have GeoStudio,
and typically we’ve been really strong
in the exploration space.
And we’re now committed to investing
into production geology,
and ensuring that you have that same great user experience
when it comes to your daily mine operations.
So Seequent’s been in the mining industry
for many years now,
and over that time, we’ve observed several industry trends
and many of the pin points that our users have.
The first one, which is the biggie, is data management.
More operational data is being captured every day.
And this is rapidly increasing
as data capture and creation becomes easier.
It is going to be crucial for operations
to effectively manage that data
and to ensure that value is being captured from the data.
As teams get bigger and remote work becomes more prevalent,
it is going to be really, really important
that collaboration and being able to work together
in parallel on that same geoscience data
needs to be made more possible.
And with multiple teams working on that same data,
versioning becomes important.
Being able to track who did what and what they changed.
And it is quite hard
to track conversion geoscience data today,
and more importantly,
to see how that data is changing and evolving through time.
What we see is that there’s quite often that version control
is not existent, or it’s done manually.
As you all know,
in mining operations,
it’s the time and speed of the workflow which is crucial.
That needs to be fast and repeatable.
And this often means that scripts and macros are created
to cater for that workflow.
And that workflow probably cumbersome to begin with.
And the problem is that those scripts
become harder to maintain or understand over time.
And they become a bit of a black box as to how they work.
And that becomes a problem when it gets to auditing
and understanding how decision was made
or how a particular value came to be.
In terms of reporting,
most operational reports are still done using Excel
and compiled from manually into data,
which can be prone to error.
And finally integrations.
We know that it takes a lot of software to operate a mine
and the software needs to be able to communicate
and exchange data and work together seamlessly
to ensure your operation is as productive as it can be.
So our objective is to address these challenges
by building new software that makes mining geology easier.
And enables you to understand the results
and to create workflows that ensure the maximum value
from your whole body is being captured.
So our approach to addressing these problems
is with Seequent Evo,
and that is connecting together
our powerful desktop applications
with a whole suite of cloud capability.
While also integrating with other products and partners
through open APIs.
And that will form an ecosystem of connected solutions.
If you want to learn more about Seequent Evo,
there’s a presentation on it yesterday by Penny,
and you’re able to watch the recording.
So we’ve been working really hard on improving
the capability of Leapfrog for mining operations,
and we have a bunch of new features coming out very soon.
I’ll go through each one of these points in more detail
on the following slides.
But what we have coming out is a new octree sub block model.
The ability to import sub block models,
multiple drillhole databases, and grouped mesh evaluations.
Following on from that release,
we’re working on introducing slicer sets,
new block model visualization options,
proportional weighting on block models,
and upgrading the polyline tool.
And looking further out to the future,
supporting the importing of block models
in Leapfrog and Central and opening up more of our APIs
for additional integrations and partnerships.
So these next few features that are coming soon,
it’s not everything coming soon,
in the next three Leapfrog.
These are just the, a few of the highlights
stand out features that will really help you
in your mining operations.
And you can expect these to come out
in about May this year.
So we have a brand new block model,
which is an octree style block model.
Now this new block model in Leapfrog
is much more efficient than an existing sub block model,
and it will create field sub blocks
along geological context.
And this makes it faster for processing.
It also now supports variable block size.
So you can have different size blocks
in the X, Y, and Z axis.
And with this,
we’re also supporting the input of sub block models
into this new format.
And I’ll talk to that in a sec.
So what I have here is
a video of the new block model in action.
So on the release upgrade,
you will find a new menu option
for our new octree block model.
Only create dialogue,
you’ll see that as quite similar
to the existing block models.
However, the minimum block size must be an equal subdivision
of the parent block size.
So here you can see that the sub block size
can be as small as 164th of the parent block.
When it comes to adding an evaluation
or triggering sub-blocks,
you now have one tab instead of two.
Anything that has a trigger
will also be added as an evaluation.
So how do I look at the blocks in the scene?
You can see the sub blocks
of minimum block size around those contexts.
And finally turn on the mesh.
You can see how those sub blocks have been triggered
around the ore body.
So, like I mentioned earlier,
what this new block model structure
we’ve also improved our interoperability
with mine planning softwares
such as (Indistinct) and Surpac, et cetera.
You can now import block models
right into Leapfrog as a CSV.
And we’re looking at
how we can still import other block model formats
going into the future.
We’re also introducing multiple drillhole databases
to give you grade control and flexibility
around your drilling data sources.
You can now have as many holes as you like.
And we have enabled the ability to remap
between different drilling data sources easily.
you can now remap from ODBC to CSV and vice versa.
In future, we’ll be supporting merging
between multiple drillhole sets
to make it easier for you to work with your drilling data.
And finally, for that May release
we have the grouped mesh evaluation.
This is a really important feature as it breaks
that existing paradigm in Leapfrog
where a geological model is needed to be created
to work with the block model.
And that is no longer the case.
And so we now support going directly
from the mesh to the block model
in the new tool,
which is faster and less prone to errors.
So this is what it looks like in action.
I’ve got a group of three stops
that I want to evaluate onto the block model.
Under the combined models folder,
you’ll find an option to create a new grouped mesh.
And to this, I can add those same three meshes.
Here, I can choose whether or not
I’m classifying all the blocks
that fall inside or outside the mesh.
I’ll select inside.
I can rename what I want the category to be called as.
Here, I’ll rename it to stone 1
and I can choose a custom color.
Now there is a background value,
so I can optionally classify all blocks therefore,
outside those mesh volumes
and set the custom category value.
Here, I’m also editing that as well.
So mining is a progressive process and there are overlaps.
So we allow you to control the hierarchy
of those overlapping relationships between meshes.
So this will create a new object in the project tree,
which can then be used to evaluate other objects
like block models and points.
Here, I’ll now apply the evaluation onto the sub blocks
of the block model.
So now visualizing a result,
you can see that all the blocks centroids
that fell inside that start volume
will have been classified,
and this will allow you to easily undertakes
greater for reporting.
So that’s what’s coming out very, very soon
and something you can look forward to.
But what’s coming up next with Leapfrog,
a little bit later on,
And these are again, just some of the feature highlights
that will really help you in mining.
And there’s obviously a lot more coming out
than just what was talked about here today.
So we’re adding the ability
to import block models from Central,
allowing you to work from that single shared block model
across multiple Leapfrog projects.
So there’ll be no need to pass a block model
as a file between different users of Leapfrog.
And you’ll be able to read and update only the block model
subsets that you require,
spin up your workflows as you don’t have to work
with the full block model every time.
And we know that in operations,
you need to visualize the area of interests
quickly and easily.
So we add a new features that help you quickly navigate
the scene to that (indistinct) or level plane.
And so slicer sets will allow you
the creation of safe slice planes
that cut the scene view at specified edibles.
And we’re going to be improving
how we visualize block models
to better support decision-making from the block model.
And this will enable you
to have all information you need, easily displayed,
to make an informed production decision.
We’ll be adding features such as text labels on block models
and showing blocks as an outline.
And this feature of proportional weighting
will allow for accurate reports of mining volumes
to reproduce without the need to create any sub blocks.
And you can see in the figure there,
it works by calculating the proportion of the mesh boundary,
there is a distinct in each block,
and we’ll add a new column to the block model
that can then be used to weight values in reports.
And finally, we’re improving our polyline tool.
Adding new snapping options,
the ability to copy and move the polyline
and to extrude the 2D lines to form closed meshes
So that brings us to the end.
Thank you all for joining.
And look out in the next couple of months
for that new Leapfrog release
with some of those new features.
Please continue to let us know your feedback and insights
as it helps inform how we make your job easier
and what we work on next.
So, yeah, I’ll now hand over to Peter
to open the floor for any questions.
<v Peter>Thank you very much, Ryan</v>
for taking us through the roadmap
for mining operation workflows.
There’s a lot of really cool stuff there,
and I am really excited
to start testing them and using them for real.
As Ryan mentioned,
it’s now time for questions and answers.
If you could either, you could put your questions
into the questions box there in the webinar.
I’ll go to webinar panel and I’ll read them.
You have a moment while questions come in.
It looks like we have a question.
Can you remind us, please Ryan,
when can we expect the first of the new features
to be released.
<v Ryan>In May, May this year.</v>
So that’s the new block model importing sub-block models,
the grouped mesh evaluation tool, and others.
<v Peter>Sounds good, all right.</v>
And another question is about the exchange formats.
We support OMF, can you tell us what that is please?
<v Ryan>So the open mining format is as a format</v>
that has come from a committee of different software vendors
and the GMG committee.
And so it’s enabling better interoperability
between software packages
and so making it easier to exchange their geoscience data.
So that sort of format that can hold a range of data,
block models, drillholes, lines, points,
there’s just one full extension that you can pass around.
<v Peter>Great, I am familiar that we’re using</v>
that currently at Leapfrog Geo to interface
with Oasis Montaj for a geophysical grids
and the like, so.
<v Peter>There is a another question her.</v>
I’m having trouble reading it in the panel
because it shrunk.
When do you think OMF will include sub-blocked models?
This is from Richard Inglis.
<v Ryan>So then you, if your block model has</v>
the same block size in the X, Y, and Z axis
all may have full support the transfer of these new
octree style grids.
By the moment OMF doesn’t support variable
octree block models.
So you want to be able to transfer for the rest.
<v Peter>Thank you.</v>
Okay, there aren’t any more questions,
and I guess we don’t want to have too much dead air,
so I guess we could wrap it up.
Thank you again, Ryan.
And thank you everyone for attending this presentation.
I hope you found it as interesting as I did and worthwhile.