The Australian Technologies Competition (ATC) has shortlisted Elexon Mining’s Cave Tracker as a Semi Finalist – recognising it as one of thirty-eight of Australia’s most exciting technology companies for the ATC16 Business Accelerator.
These Semi Finalists are industry leading innovators with the capability to become game-changers across the sectors of energy, manufacturing, food & agritech, mining, medical technologies, cyber security and smart cities.
Now in its sixth year, the ATC finds, mentors and develops Australia’s best technology companies with the Greatest Global Potential.
The ATC16 Business Accelerator helps turn good technologies into great businesses. The judging panel features the country’s leading experts in commercialisation, finance, intellectual property and technology development from companies such as Deloitte, Bird&Bird and FB Rice.
With a focus on building global success stories, the judges are looking for not only the best technologies but also the best managers and the best business plans.
Winners will be announced at a Gala Awards Dinner in Sydney on 2 November. For further information on the Australian Technologies Competition visit www.austechcomp.com
MassMin 2016 is only a week or so behind us, and like you, we are back to work and remembering the many fantastic people and opportunities we experienced at this event. While the memories are still fresh, we want to share our impressions of this great conference.
Thank you AusIMM
Most of all, we want to congratulate the organisers of MassMin 2016 for their excellent work, and thank the sponsors for their support. It was highly beneficial to attend the conference, and the people we have spoken to since the show all agree with us that it was one of the most professional, effective and enjoyable industry events they have been to in recent times.
Shedding some light into the dark world of caving
Every few years, when the caving community gathers during conferences, a wealth of opinions and experiences is shared during presentations and networking events. These interactions enable the industry to continually improve best practices in caving.
Several people noted that figuring out caving is like putting together a puzzle with a few important pieces still missing. This conference has demonstrated that the number of missing pieces is getting smaller and the picture of the ‘caving puzzle’ is becoming clearer.
Collaboration leads to innovation
Elexon Mining is proud to be a part of this very active and enthusiastic community. We appreciate the collaboration with so many of you. Only through this partnership approach are we able to develop new technologies that improve vital insights into what is seen as a ‘blind’ mining method.
The development of the real-time cave flow monitoring system, Cave Tracker, was another important milestone on the industry’s journey to master cave mining. Thanks to these new monitoring technologies, the ability to plan and control caving has greatly improved.
Greater control over caving will lead to improved safety and higher performance. The benefits of these outcomes are far reaching; covering operators, engineers, site management, corporate management and investors.
Continued development and interaction
We look forward to continuing our contribution to the improvement of safety and performance in cave mining. We want to invite you to share your experience and opinions by interacting with us.
As a company focused on innovation that comes about through collaboration, we are interested in understanding how we can improve our collaboration with you and empower you in your work?
We welcome your input in the comments field below.
Elexon Mining is exhibiting at Massmin 2016. This once-every-four-years exhibition is the premier mass mining event. Our team will present a number of papers on the technologies we have developed, and our booth is set up to help attendees learn more about the benefits of our products.
It’s fantastic to see the growth in awareness of Smart Marker and Cave Tracker, and to also hear our collaboration partners include our products in their research papers.
The upcoming Cave Tracker paper to be delivered by Dylan Whiteman on Wednesday 11th May is generating a lot of excitement, especially as he has some ‘hot off the press’ data to share with the audience.
Read more about Massmin: http://www.massmin2016.com/
Reconciliation of the recovered resource is an important instrument for assessing the performance of sublevel caving mines. While the quality of reconciliation has improved significantly the method requires a significant period of production history in excess of 18 months before valid local conditions can be incorporated in recovery estimates. The introduction of computer models which allow processing of large datasets has greatly aided the process however the inability to measure post mining voids allows the effect of essential assumptions, made for recovery estimation, to have potentially significant impact.
Without other physical measure systems there is no possibility to either access production method improvements believed to benefit the operation or confirm that the recovery estimation process employed models the physical actuality sufficiently and with good confidence in the modelled result.
The introduction of Smart Markers has been a game changer to enabled mines to efficiently monitor ore recovery with minimal production impact and fast results.
The Reconciliation process and ore recovery monitoring are complementary methods focussed on optimising the sublevel caving system to the local geological and geotechnical conditions. Reconciliation indicates overall performance of the mining system. The understanding of ore recovery mechanisms identifies areas for improvement of ore recovery and reveals causes for under-performance in grade and tonnage. It also provides a guide to the maximum and minimum recovery estimation that any model should be bound by.
Together they enable mining to be engineered and optimised to maximise projects’ performance and economics. For example: Reconciliation may indicate that primary ore recovery is lower than predicted leading to potentially lower recovered grade and higher unit costs. It will not reveal the reason for the poor system performance. Drill and blast practices, suboptimal in the local conditions, are one likely cause for this shortcoming. Drill and blast may fail to mobilise ore in the targeted burdens and therefore achieve lower than estimated primary recovery. Drill and blast improvements, targeted with recovery monitoring systems, can increase primary recovery and therefore delay grade dilution. Potentially, this may reduce the need for low grade overdraw late in the mine life in attempts to recovery remnant resources believed to be remaining in the cave.
Small improvements in primary recovery over several recovery levels will have significant effects on project economics, reducing unit costs, improving margins and raising NPV.
Source: Mining Magazine, September 2013
Sub-level caving is a highly efficient, top-down, underground bulk mining method. Recent developments in sub-level cave mining have advanced the understanding of the technique and its production performance, which allow it to now be considered as a highly viable alternative to open stoping and, in some cases, even to block caving. In addition to a low unit cost, sub-level caving offers the following advantages over open stoping and block caving:
- Less up-front capital expenditure;
- Earlier access to the ore means revenue is generated early in the project;
- It can target bulk ore bodies more precisely;
- It is more flexible to adapt to metal value, production and scheduling requirements; and
- It presents opportunities for improvements in local geotechnical conditions
Historically, mining companies have been deterred from using sub-level caving because it involved significant uncertainties around cave propagation and ore flow.
Read the rest of the article published in the September 2013 edition of the Mining Magazine.
China’s exponential growth has been driving the growth in the resource industry, but the country’s consumption of minerals is slowing. The resource industry is moving from a price driven expansion strategy to a cost driven business approach.
Controlling costs and risks is gaining importance during this cycle of the resource industry. This in effect is resulting in mining companies looking into innovative ways in which it can improve its extraction efficiency – especially in the underground mining sector. There is usually a higher cost involved in underground mining, when compared to surface mining. In order to replace low-cost surface operations, large-scale underground mass-mining methods are gaining importance. Underground mining, however, comes with its own set of technical challenges and uncertainties, as it is not easy to see what you are doing.
“We know that the ore body is there, but the question is, how are we going to extract it in a cost efficient manner and are we extracting the targeted ore body? Leaving ore behind and extracting low-grade material which originates from outside the targeted ore body, can have a massive impact on short-term profits and the mine’s net present value,” Elexon Product Manager Simon Steffen says. “Excessive ingress of low grade material is an important reason for underground mines being shutdown as operations have become uneconomical,” he adds.
The team at Elexon have identified the potential of maximising revenues and the issue of uncertainty, which exists in the sector. They have since been working on solutions to improve extraction predictability and efficiency. Underground extraction in low-cost caving operations is a field where decisions are based mainly on experience and intuition, as the rock mechanics are still not fully understood.
“The data that our solutions provide these mines enables the operators to make decisions based on facts and measurements, while improving and streamlining its processes,” Steffen says. “We are focusing on developing solutions for improving extraction efficiencies and economies which are based on rugged electronic systems that can survive the underground mining environment.”
The team at Elexon’s mission is to provide solutions, which will give the mines the right information at the right time necessary to exercise a large degree of control over the extraction process. The technology solutions Elexon has developed and are currently developing include, the Smart Marker, the Network Smart Marker, 3-D Smart Marker and the Cave Tracker. Over the next 6-months, Elexon is due to release its Networked Smart Marker System. Meanwhile, the Cave Tracker and 3-D Smart Marker System which is undergoing development, is set for release in about two-years. This growing suite of solutions will be highly complementary and will provide measured feedback about the critical areas of cave mining.
The Smart Marker System measures blast efficiency and reveals ore flow post-extraction, while the Networked Smart Marker System focuses on measuring real-time cave development and propagation. The 3-D Smart Marker System will allow for real-time, micro flow tracking, Steffen says, while the Cave Tracker will be able to provide the mine operator with real-time data about macro ore flow in an underground mine.
“These technology solutions are essential to the future of mining to ensure that operations remain feasible,” concludes Steffen.