Metals X installs Cube Grade Control system across multiple sites


Metals X installs Cube Grade Control system across multiple sites

Metals X Limited is a diversified group exploring and developing metals and minerals in Australia, with a number of operating mines. The company has recently taken over the Nifty copper mine, is a top 10 Australian gold producer and a globally significant tin producer.

The Gold Business has three operating projects, currently producing at an annualised run-rate of approximately 250,000 ounces of gold, with a fourth project (Fortnum) due to start producing in 2017.

Challenge:

The challenge for Metals X was to provide a standard operating procedure for grade control in a multi-commodity business, across a number of sites both open cut and underground. The company required consistent processes and procedures, whilst maintaining the flexibility to manage any site specific requirements.

The company wished to streamline processes so that the geology team at each site could focus on being geologists rather than becoming computer experts – that is, they could spend minimal time in the office and more time understanding the geology in the mine. It was also important for senior staff to be able to check things like estimation parameters and make sure that appropriate values were used.

Solution:

After reviewing a number of solutions available on the market, Metals X engaged Cube Consulting to customise and install the GCX product into the Western Australian operations. GCX sits within the familiar Surpac environment and adds a step-by-step menu to follow when creating a grade control model.

The system has been installed across the region in both the open cut and underground mines, including the Central Murchison, South Kalgoorlie and Higginsville (open pits only) projects. The Fortnum project will be added, once operational, as new mines can be added easily utilising the Metals X standard template.

If one of the mines suggests an improvement, then this change can be applied across the existing installations. An example of this was a dilution function for digging and blasting in the open pit environment.  This function has now been rolled out to all operations for the benefit of the mine geology teams. This creates a continuous improvement environment in grade control which is really beneficial to the company. There are plans to incorporate other estimation routines  into the Metals X template in the near future.

Geologists do move from site to site and are more productive immediately, even when moving from open cut to underground. The product is familiar, although the focus is different for each production method.

The GCX system is fully auditable so Senior Geologists can be confident that an estimation run was completed using appropriate parameters. Any changes that are made with parameters are tracked and there are no code changes required, with the parameters kept in easy-to-read external worksheets.

Benefits:

GCX is customisable for new sites but maintains the same framework even when switching from open cut to underground. All geologists across the group are working in a single, familiar environment.

The system is really easy to use and processes quickly and efficiently.

Cube is able to adapt the system without fuss to meet the changing needs of Metals X.

Metals X case study