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We take a look at common industry problems facing production geologists and the innovative ways that Seequent is planning to make mining easier.



Ryan Lee
Product Manager for Mining Operations – Seequent


18 min

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Video Transcript

(upbeat music)

<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 Lee.

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.

For example,

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 Ryan>Yeah.</v>

<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.

(upbeat music)