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AMS

STOPE SHAPE OPTIMISER

VERSION 3.0.1
REFERENCE MANUAL

AMS Document Version 1.0


September 2016
Alford Mining Systems
Stope Shape Optimiser Version 3.0.1

PURPOSE

This manual documents the methods for generating stope-shapes using Version-3 of the
Stope Shape Optimiser developed by Alford Mining Systems.

The Stope Shape Optimiser engine (also referred to as "SSO" in this manual) is
available in commercial products that are marketed and supported by the mining
software suppliers - Datamine, Maptek and Deswik have an established client base and
several new suppliers will be added with the release of Version 3. The look and feel of
the Stope Shape Optimiser product on each vendor platform will conform to the interface
standards and functionality available in each environment. Additional capabilities may
have been added by the vendor to fully integrate the Stope Shape Optimiser with the
proprietary platform.

This manual does not describe the user interface, data conventions, proprietary input
and output file formats, or mechanisms for maintaining scenarios and processing
capabilities for single or multiple scenario execution. For further information on these
supplier package specific topics, please consult the User and/or Training manuals
supplied by your preferred vendor.

This reference manual aims to explain the optimisation techniques and clarify the input
parameters for the optimisation methods, and provide guidelines for effective and
efficient processing of data sets.

In some cases, the XML parameter file formats will be referenced to highlight the options
available. For a complete description of the XML format and parameters used, consult
the separate document “Version 3 Parameter Summary”. The parameter summary will
be of more interest to interface builders and expert users who manipulate XML
parameter files in a text editor.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Peter Mokos (AMC Consultants), one of the researchers on the AMIRA P1037 project
"Optimization of Stope Designs and Stope Layouts", prepared the initial drafts of this
manual. Ian Glover (AMS) prepared the graphics and Shane Clauson (AMS) edited
earlier Version 2 drafts.

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CONTENTS

PURPOSE

1 STOPE SHAPE OPTIMISER ................................................................................. 1


1.1 Introduction ................................................................................................... 1
1.2 Block Model .................................................................................................. 2
1.3 Stope Optimisation Overview ........................................................................ 3
1.4 Slice Method ................................................................................................. 3
1.4.1 Seed-Shape Generation and Stope-Shape Annealing ..................... 3
1.4.2 Seed-Slice Orientation and Seed-Slice Interval ............................... 5
1.5 Prism Method ................................................................................................ 6
1.6 Optimisation Methods – Relationship to Mining Methods. ............................. 6
2 SLICE METHOD .................................................................................................... 9
2.1 Stope-Shape Frameworks General ............................................................... 9
2.2 Stope Frameworks ...................................................................................... 12
2.2.1 Vertical Orientation Frameworks ................................................... 13
2.2.2 Horizontal Orientation Frameworks ............................................... 14
2.2.3 Transverse Section Orientation Frameworks ................................. 15
2.3 Framework Optimisation ............................................................................. 16
2.3.1 Framework Iteration ...................................................................... 16
2.3.2 Zone Iteration ................................................................................ 17
2.4 Control Strings ............................................................................................ 19
2.4.1 Vertical Orientation Frameworks ................................................... 20
2.4.1.1 GRADIENT ................................................................. 20
2.4.1.2 OREDEV ..................................................................... 20
2.4.1.3 OREDEV-GRADIENT ................................................. 22
2.4.1.4 SECTION .................................................................... 22
2.4.2 Horizontal Orientation Frameworks ............................................... 22
2.4.2.1 CONTOUR .................................................................. 22
2.4.2.2 HORIZON ................................................................... 22
2.4.2.3 HORIZON-CONTOUR ................................................ 22
2.5 Rotated Frameworks ................................................................................... 23
2.5.1 General Introduction ...................................................................... 23
2.5.2 Rotated Framework Combinations ................................................ 23
2.5.3 Rotation Parameters ..................................................................... 27
2.6 Stope-Shape Framework Extents Guidelines .............................................. 29
2.7 Stope-Shape Geometry .............................................................................. 30
2.7.1 Dip and Width Parameter Convention ........................................... 30
2.7.2 Relationship between Stope Frameworks and Stope-shapes ........ 31
2.7.3 Vertical Orientation Stope-Shape Tubes........................................ 31
2.7.3.1 (VR) Vertical Regular Framework (Rectangular Stope-
Shape Tubes) ............................................................. 32
2.7.3.2 (VIL VIS VILS) Vertical Irregular Framework
(Rectangular Stope-Shape Tubes) .............................. 33
2.7.3.3 (VIVSG, VIFSG) Vertical Irregular Framework
(Trapezoidal Stope-Shape Tubes)............................... 34
2.7.3.4 (VUR, VUT) Vertical Irregular Framework (User Defined
Rectangular or Trapezoidal Stope-Shape Tubes)........ 35

2.7.4 (HR) Horizontal Orientation Stope-Shape Tubes ........................... 36


2.7.4.1 (HR) Horizontal Regular Framework (Rectangular
Stope-Shape Tubes) ................................................... 37
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2.7.4.2
(HIW, HIS, HIWS) Horizontal Irregular Framework
(Rectangular Stope-Shape Tubes) .............................. 38
2.7.4.3 (HIFSC, HIVSC) Horizontal Irregular Framework
(Trapezoidal Stope-Shape Tubes)............................... 39
2.7.4.4 (HUR, HUT) Horizontal Irregular Framework (User
Defined Rectangular or Trapezoidal Stope-Shape
Tubes)......................................................................... 40
2.7.5 Transverse Section Orientation Stope-Shape Tubes ..................... 41
2.7.5.1 (TIL, TISL) Transverse Section Irregular Framework
(Rectangular Stope-Shape Tubes) .............................. 41
2.7.5.2 (TIFS, TIVS) Transverse Section Irregular Framework
(Trapezoidal Stope-Shape Tubes)............................... 42
2.7.6 Shape Types ................................................................................. 43
2.7.6.1 Sub-Stopes ................................................................. 43
2.7.6.2 Sub-Stopes with Varying Strike Length ....................... 45
2.7.6.3 Automatic Sub-Stope Edge Sequences ...................... 47
2.7.6.4 Overlapping Sub-Stopes ............................................. 48
2.7.6.5 Sub-Stope Polygons ................................................... 48
2.7.6.6 Sub-Stope Optimisation .............................................. 49
2.7.6.7 Pillar Locations ............................................................ 50
2.8 Seed-Slice Interval Selection ...................................................................... 51
2.8.1 Use of Control Surface for Lenses with Different Orientations ....... 54
2.9 Shape Parameterisations ............................................................................ 55
2.9.1 Minimum Stope Width ................................................................... 57
2.9.2 Maximum Stope Width .................................................................. 58
2.9.3 Narrow Ore.................................................................................... 58
2.9.4 Dilution ELOS/Skin ........................................................................ 59
2.9.5 Minimum Pillar Width ..................................................................... 60
2.9.6 Strike Angle ................................................................................... 61
2.9.6.1 Strike Angle Range ..................................................... 61
2.9.6.2 Strike Angle Maximum Change ................................... 61
2.9.7 Side Length Ratio .......................................................................... 62
2.9.7.1 Side Length - vertical_side_length_ratio,
top_bottom_maximum ................................................. 62
2.9.7.2 Side Length - vertical_side_length_ratio,
front_back_maximum .................................................. 63
2.9.8 Waste Inclusion Control................................................................. 63
2.9.9 Exclusion Control .......................................................................... 64
2.10 Stope-Shape Framework Angles ................................................................ 65
2.10.1 Apparent Specification Method for Angle Conventions .................. 65
2.10.2 True Specification Method for Angle Conventions ......................... 72
2.10.3 Stope Wall Angles (Equal or Different) .......................................... 73
2.10.4 Geological and Geometric Stope Wall Definitions.......................... 73
2.10.4.1 Geometric (previously called Local)............................. 73
2.10.4.2 Geological (previously called Global) .......................... 73
2.11 Additional Control Surfaces ......................................................................... 75

2.11.1 Structure Surface .......................................................................... 75


2.12 Shape Refinement ...................................................................................... 79
2.12.1 Vertical .......................................................................................... 79
2.12.2 Horizontal ...................................................................................... 80
2.12.3 Choice of parameters .................................................................... 81
2.13 Post-Processing Options............................................................................. 81
2.13.1 Smooth.......................................................................................... 81
2.13.2 Split. .............................................................................................. 83
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2.13.3
Merge ............................................................................................ 86
2.13.3.1 Merge on Grid ............................................................. 86
2.13.3.2 Merge on Interval ........................................................ 86
2.14 Advanced Optimisation Controls ................................................................. 88
2.14.1 Do Not Force Full-stope Sub-Stope Pillars .................................... 88
2.14.2 Do Not Force Stope Split Sub-Stope Pillars................................... 88
2.14.3 Stope Sequence Subset Optimisation ........................................... 88
2.14.4 Disable Structure Test on Seed ..................................................... 88
2.14.5 Force Different Dip Case Corner Width Tests................................ 89
2.15 Good Practice - Tips and Procedures ......................................................... 90
2.15.1 Discretisation................................................................................. 94
2.15.2 Stope Control Surface ................................................................... 95
2.15.3 Stope String Types ........................................................................ 96
2.15.4 Wireframe Types ........................................................................... 96
2.15.4.1 Stopes......................................................................... 96
2.15.4.2 Verification .................................................................. 98
2.15.5 Gradient Control Strings ................................................................ 98
3 PRISM METHOD ................................................................................................. 99
3.1 General Stope-Shape Framework ............................................................... 99
3.2 Prism Method Framework ......................................................................... 101
3.3 Stope-shapes............................................................................................ 104
3.4 Trough Undercut ....................................................................................... 105
3.5 Shape Refinement - Crown Shape Annealing ........................................... 105
3.6 Waste Pillar Separation............................................................................. 106
3.7 Advanced Parameters .............................................................................. 106
3.7.1 MIP Solvers ................................................................................. 106
3.7.2 Rectangular and Shaped Stopes ................................................. 107
3.7.3 Stope Sublevel Constraints ......................................................... 107
3.7.3.1 Stope Sublevel – “common_base_sublevel”.............. 108
3.7.3.2 Stope Sublevel – “common_mine_sublevel” .............. 108
3.7.3.3 Stope Sublevel – “common_local_sublevel” .............. 108
3.7.3.4 Stope Sublevel – “variable_stope_height” ................. 108
3.7.4 Validation Test Cell ..................................................................... 110
3.7.5 Prism Optimisation Exceptions .................................................... 110
3.8 Good Practice - Tips and Procedures ....................................................... 110
4 OPTIMISATION OPTIONS (SLICE & PRISM) ................................................... 112
4.1 Model Discretisation.................................................................................. 112
4.2 Cut-off and Head-grade ............................................................................ 114
4.2.1 Cut-off Grade using Curve Table ................................................. 117
4.3 Evaluation Methods .................................................................................. 118

4.3.1 Exact Evaluation.......................................................................... 118


4.3.2 Approximate Evaluation............................................................... 118
4.4 Comparing Results from Exact and Approximate Evaluation ..................... 119
4.4.1 Interaction of Evaluation Methods with Reporting ........................ 119
4.5 Reporting Options ..................................................................................... 122
4.5.1 Optional Model Fields .................................................................. 123
4.5.2 Report Codes .............................................................................. 124
4.5.3 Waste Reporting.......................................................................... 128
4.5.4 File Field Names ......................................................................... 128
4.5.5 Rename Mass Field .................................................................... 130
4.5.6 Mined Out Model ......................................................................... 130
4.6 Stope Naming ........................................................................................... 131
4.6.1 Reporting Field ............................................................................ 131
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4.6.2 Internal Field ............................................................................... 131


4.6.3 Fixed String ................................................................................. 132
4.6.4 Position Counter .......................................................................... 132
4.6.5 Expression List ............................................................................ 133
4.7 Model Fields - Exclusion, Exclusion-Distance, Inclusion, Report Exclusion
and Mixing ................................................................................................ 133
4.8 Multiple Optimisation Criteria .................................................................... 134
4.8.1 Filter Text .................................................................................... 134
4.8.2 Relational Expression .................................................................. 134
4.8.3 Pattern Matching Expression ....................................................... 135
4.8.4 Concatenation of Expressions ..................................................... 136
5 GEOLOGICAL RISK (SLICE & PRISM) ............................................................. 137
5.1 Accuracy vs Precision in Estimation and Simulation.................................. 138
5.2 Conditional Simulation .............................................................................. 138
5.3 Multiple Indicator Kriging ........................................................................... 138
5.4 Risk Evaluation ......................................................................................... 139
5.4.1 Comparison with Pit Optimisation Techniques ............................. 139
5.5 Optimisation Field ..................................................................................... 140
5.6 Reporting .................................................................................................. 140
5.7 Using CONF-PER in Post-SSO Activities .................................................. 140
6 RUNNING STOPE SHAPE OPTIMISER EXTERNAL TO VENDOR INTERFACES141
6.1 XML and Log files ..................................................................................... 141
6.2 Batch Files ................................................................................................ 141
6.2.1 Datamine - Datamine Studio or 5DP............................................ 142
6.2.2 Maptek – Vulcan.......................................................................... 142
6.2.3 Deswik - Deswik.CAD ................................................................. 142
6.3 Multiple Scenario Runs (Sequential or Parallel Processing) ...................... 143
6.4 XML and XML Editor ................................................................................. 143

TABLES

Table 1.1 Stope Shape Optimiser Method Applicable to Various Orebody


Geometries and Mining Methods .............................................................. 8
Table 2.1 Rotation Parameters............................................................................... 27

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Table 2.2 Stope-Shape Framework Orientation and Extents Summary (with NX, NY,
NZ supplied for the regular framework case) .......................................... 29
Table 2.3 Vertical Orientation Stope-Shape Tubes Summary................................. 31
Table 2.4 Horizontal Orientation Stope-Shape Tubes Summary ............................ 36
Table 2.5 Transverse Section Orientation Stope-Shape Tubes Summary .............. 41
Table 2.6 Apparent Strike and Dip Angle Conventions ........................................... 65
Table 4.1 Detail Report Codes ............................................................................. 126
Table 4.2 Summary Report Codes ....................................................................... 127
Table 4.3 File Field Names .................................................................................. 129

FIGURES

Figure 1-1 Stope Shape Optimiser Process Flow ...................................................... 1


Figure 1-2 Orebody Classifications ............................................................................ 7
Figure 2-1 Tube Definitions ..................................................................................... 10
Figure 2-2 Slice Method Stope - Shape Framework Hierarchical Structure.............. 11
Figure 2-3 Slice Method Framework - Vertical XZ.................................................... 13
Figure 2-4 Slice Method Framework - Vertical YZ.................................................... 13
Figure 2-5 Slice Method Framework - Horizontal XY ............................................... 14
Figure 2-6 Slice Method Framework - Horizontal YX ............................................... 14
Figure 2-7 Slice Method Framework - Transverse Section XZ ................................. 15
Figure 2-8 Slice Method Framework - Transverse Section YZ ................................. 15
Figure 2-9 Zone Iteration - Sectional Orientation Example....................................... 17
Figure 2-10 Zone Iteration - Horizontal Orientation Example ..................................... 18
Figure 2-11 Gradient Control-String Example ............................................................ 20
Figure 2-12 OreDev Control-String Example ............................................................. 21
Figure 2-13 Model - Framework Combinations .......................................................... 24
Figure 2-14 Rotated Framework Parameters - Vertical XZ Orientation Plane ............ 26
Figure 2-15 (VR) Vertical Regular – Rectangular Stope-Shape Tubes ...................... 32
Figure 2-16 (VIL, VIS, VILS) Vertical Irregular - Rectangular Stope-Shape Tubes ..... 33
Figure 2-17 (VIVSG, VIFSG) Vertical Irregular - Trapezoidal Stope-Shape Tubes..... 34
Figure 2-18 (VUR, VUT) Vertical Irregular – User Defined Rectangular or Trapezoidal
Stope-Shape Tubes ............................................................................... 35
Figure 2-19 (HR) Horizontal Regular – Rectangular Stope-Shape Tubes .................. 37
Figure 2-20 (HIW, HIS, HIWS) Horizontal Irregular - Rectangular Stope-Shape Tubes38
Figure 2-21 (HIFSC, HIVSC) Horizontal Irregular - Trapezoidal Stope-Shape Tubes 39
Figure 2-22 Definitions for Rectangular and Trapezoidal Shapes .............................. 40
Figure 2-23 (HUR, HUT) Horizontal Irregular – User Defined Rectangular or
Trapezoidal Stope-Shape Tubes ............................................................ 40
Figure 2-24 (TIL, TISL) Transverse Section – Irregular Rectangular Stope-Shape
Tubes ..................................................................................................... 41
Figure 2-25 (TIFS, TIVS) Transverse Section – Irregular Trapezoidal Stope-Shape
Tubes ..................................................................................................... 42
Figure 2-26 Sub-Stopes for Regular and Irregular Vertical Frameworks Example ..... 44
Figure 2-27 Sub-Stope Fractional Proportion Example .............................................. 45
Figure 2-28 Sub-Stope UV Fractions ......................................................................... 46
Figure 2-29 Automatic Sub-Stope Edge Sequences (U divisor set to four) ................ 48
Figure 2-30 Sub-Stope Polygon Example (fraction) ................................................... 49

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Figure 2-31 Irregular Rib Pillar or Stope Example ...................................................... 50


Figure 2-32 Influence of Slice Interval on Stope Seed-Shape and Pillar Geometry ... 52
Figure 2-33 Impact of Control Surface ....................................................................... 54
Figure 2-34 Key Geometry Parameters (Sectional Orientations) ............................... 56
Figure 2-35 Minimum Mining Width ........................................................................... 57
Figure 2-36 Narrow Ore Positioning Example ............................................................ 59
Figure 2-37 Impact of Dilution on the Final Stope Shape ........................................... 60
Figure 2-38 Edges Tested With Strike Angle Maximum Change................................ 61
Figure 2-39 Top-Edge to Bottom-Edge Ratio (V-axis pairing) .................................... 63
Figure 2-40 Front Edge to Back Edge Ratio (U-axis pairing) ..................................... 63
Figure 2-41 Strike Convention - Vertical XZ (Plan View) ............................................ 66
Figure 2-42 Strike Convention - Vertical YZ (Plan View) ............................................ 67
Figure 2-43 Strike Convention - Rotated Vertical XZ ................................................. 68
Figure 2-44 Dip Convention - Vertical XZ .................................................................. 68
Figure 2-45 Dip Convention - Vertical YZ .................................................................. 69
Figure 2-46 Dip Convention - Transverse Section XZ ................................................ 69
Figure 2-47 Dip Convention - Transverse Section YZ ................................................ 70
Figure 2-48 Dip Conventions - Horizontal YX ............................................................ 70
Figure 2-49 Dip Conventions - Horizontal XY ............................................................ 71
Figure 2-50 Dip Convention - Vertical Rotated XZ ..................................................... 71
Figure 2-51 True Dip and Dip Direction Example ....................................................... 72
Figure 2-52 Specifying Stope Wall Angles - True Dip ................................................ 73
Figure 2-53 Geological and Geometric Wall Definitions – Vertical Frameworks ......... 74
Figure 2-54 Geological and Geometric Wall Definitions – Horizontal Frameworks ..... 75
Figure 2-55 Structure Function Example ................................................................... 77
Figure 2-56 Expand vs Snap To Example ................................................................. 78
Figure 2-57 Shape Refinement - Vertical Example .................................................... 80
Figure 2-58 Middle Length Ratio Tests ...................................................................... 80
Figure 2-59 Smoothing Function Example ................................................................. 83
Figure 2-60 Split from HW, Split from Centre and Split Equal .................................... 85
Figure 2-61 Split Equal Applied to Rotated Framework with Irregular Section Spacing
using Sub-Stope Function ...................................................................... 85
Figure 2-62 Merge Examples - Grid vs Interval.......................................................... 87
Figure 2-63 “Do Not Force a Pillar between the Full-stope and Sub-stope” Example88
Figure 2-64 Discretisation Plane vs Cell Fill Plane Issue ........................................... 95
Figure 3-1 Prism Method Stope-Shape Framework Hierarchical Structure ............ 100
Figure 3-2 Prism – Total Framework, Region Increment and Grid Increment
Examples ............................................................................................. 103
Figure 3-3 Shape Library or Defined Discrete Shapes ........................................... 104
Figure 3-4 Prism Shapes with and without Trough Undercut ................................. 105
Figure 3-5 Prism Crown Anneal Example .............................................................. 106
Figure 3-6 Strings for Undercut Trough Shaped Stopes ........................................ 107
Figure 3-7 Prism – Sublevel Constraints for Stope-Shapes ................................... 109
Figure 4-1 Block Model Discretisation Example ..................................................... 113
Figure 4-2 Effect of Model Discretisation Plane on Rotated Frameworks ............... 114
Figure 4-3 Simplified Cut-off, Head-grade Maximised Metal-Value Concept .......... 116
Figure 4-4 Comparison of Evaluation Methods ...................................................... 122
Figure 5-1 Stope-Shapes with Geological Risk Confidence Percentage ................ 137

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APPENDICES

APPENDIX A COMMON TERMS USED


APPENDIX B EXAMPLE SLICE METHOD XML & DATA SETS
APPENDIX C EXAMPLE PRISM METHOD XML & DATA SETS

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1 STOPE SHAPE OPTIMISER


1.1 Introduction
The Stope Shape Optimiser by AMS (also referred to as "SSO" in this manual) is used
to produce stope-shapes and stope inventories from a block model that spatially
represents the location of the mineralisation. The SSO algorithms rely on a sub-cell
block model to define the spatial location of mineralisation (usually defined from a
geological wireframe). The SSO is not applicable for regularised block-models that use a
percentage-populated field for contained metal (grade) or value (dollars).

The SSO application mimics what an engineer would do, generating strings on sections,
linking these to create a wireframe shape and then evaluating the wireframes against a
block model. The SSO provides a stope-shape that maximises recovered resource
value above a cut-off while also catering for practical mining parameters such as;
minimum and maximum mining width, anticipated wall dilutions, minimum and maximum
wall angles, minimum separation distances between parallel and sub-parallel stopes,
minimum and maximum stope heights and widths, etc.

Figure 1-1 summarises the general process flow for the SSO.

Figure 1-1 Stope Shape Optimiser Process Flow

This document discusses the Stope Shape Optimiser methods, the typical optimisation
applications and clarifies the input parameters for the optimisation methods.

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1.2 Block Model


The following discusses the general block model requirements and good practice.

The block model must spatially represent the location of the mineralisation. Regularised
models that use a percentage populated field are not applicable for SSO. These models
however can be converted by over-printing cells filled within the mineralisation
wireframe(s) over the regularised model to create a sub-celled model. The cell size and
the level of sub-celling used in the block model will determine the precision of the
orebody representation.

For mining software vendor packages that use a cell filling plane for populating a block
model (i.e. the following is not applicable to say Maptek models), the cell filling plane
should ideally be aligned with the strike plane of the orebody such that sub-celling
occurs perpendicular to the proposed mining width. For example, if the orebody is
tabular and the strike plane is generally YZ then the filling plane should ideally also be
YZ so that sub-cells terminate exactly at the orebody X-axis extents. The cell filling
orientation has implications regarding the SSO accuracy for optimising and evaluating
the stope-shapes.

Models should ideally have an enclosing envelope of waste cells modelled around the
mineralisation. The surrounding waste is required for cases where a sub-stope may be
mined adjacent to a full stope using waste pillar criteria (a SSO function requirement). If
sub-stopes are not required, then unmineralised waste cells can be filtered from the
block model to reduce run times.

Models should ideally avoid absent data (for example ’-‘in Datamine Studio models),
especially for the density field, the cut-off evaluation field or any other reported field(s).
For the situation where cells have “absent” values or where cells are missing from within
the stope-shape, the default value supplied for each field is applied. Careful
consideration is required regarding the default values selected, especially regarding the
optimisation field. For example if the optimisation field is a metal grade field then zero
may be appropriate, but if the optimisation field is a value field (e.g. net smelter return
dollar value) then a negative number representing the cost to mine (and process) waste
may be more appropriate than a zero value.

The block model cell size should ideally correlate with the definition of the mineralised
zone such that several cells define the stope width (XZ/YZ strike orientation) or stope
height (XY/YX plan orientation). One or two cells representing the stope width/height
would generally be too coarse to represent the ore-body grade distribution.

The model must have definitions for the size and number of cells, origin and optional
rotation (if applicable) and be able to be expressed with the Datamine Studio model
definition conventions. The model definitions used internally by the SSO are the set of
fields [IJK, XC, YC, ZC, XINC, YINC, ZINC, NX, NY, NZ, XMORIG, YMORIG, and
ZMORIG]. For rotated models, the optional rotation fields [X0, Y0, Z0, ANGLE1,
ANGLE2, ANGLE3, ROTAXIS1, ROTAXIS2, and ROTAXIS3] are also used internally
by the SSO. The rotation point [X0, Y0, Z0] used is at the origin of the model. If a

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Maptek Vulcan model is supplied, the SSO rotation point is recalculated from the
Maptek Vulcan rotation point and offset distance.

1.3 Stope Optimisation Overview


There are two mutually-exclusive optimising methods available within the Version 3
optimiser engine. These are;

 Slice Method and,


 Prism Method.

These methods are briefly explained here, and described in more detail in Section 2 and
3 respectively of this manual.

Stope-shape frameworks generally prescribe the orientation and three-dimensional


constraints for determining stope-shapes, their allowable dimensions and the manner in
which they are optimised.
The stope-shape frameworks are initially categorised by the optimisation technique
used, being:
 Slice. This method optimises strike-by-height/width projections of stope-shapes
in the transverse orebody direction (width/thickness), depending on its
orientation (vertical or horizontal).
 Prism. This method optimally combines a set of shapes from a library of stope-
volumes within regions without allowing overlapping of the generated stopes.

1.4 Slice Method


The Slice Method is typically applicable to narrow to wide tabular-like ore bodies that
may be sub-vertical to sub-horizontal dipping and is also well suited to multiple parallel
to sub-parallel ore lenses and/or splays. (See Figure 1-2)

The Slice Method generates and evaluates thin slices across the mineralised zones that
are aggregated into seed-shapes (looking at all possible permutations) that satisfy stope
and pillar width constraints. The seed-shapes are then annealed to the final optimised
stope-shape satisfying the stope and pillar width, stope geometry constraints (e.g. wall
dips angles, strike twist, etc.), and other miscellaneous constraints (e.g. zone mixing,
exclusion zones, etc.). The result is a set of stope-shapes constrained to the basic
limitations of the envisaged mining method.

1.4.1 Seed-Shape Generation and Stope-Shape Annealing

The following overview discussion is limited to the Slice Method.

At a high-level there are four stages in the SSO process that are described as follows:
1) Seed-slice : Analogous to sample intervals across the mineralisation in the
transverse direction.
2) Seed-shape : An aggregation of the seed-slices into seed-shapes that satisfy
stope and pillar width constraints and cut-off, and other miscellaneous

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constraints. The role of seed-shape generation is to correctly identify the number


and approximate location of stopes, with emphasis on predicting the correct
number.
3) Stope-shape : Seed-shapes that are annealed to form the optimised stope-
shape inclusive of internal dilution to form a practical stope-shape. Seed-shapes
may be discarded if they fail stope geometry or other stope criteria. In rare
cases the annealing process may eliminate a seed-shape to expand an adjacent
seed-shape.
4) Diluted stope-shape: (inclusive of wall skin dilution(s)). As annealing is applied
to the undiluted stope-shape, the addition of dilution may cause the stope-
shapes to be discarded at this stage if the skin dilution drops the head-grade
below cut-off. These marginally sub-economic stopes can also be output for
review.

The SSO process generates thin slices (seed-slices) across the mineralised zones that
are aggregated into seed-shapes that satisfy stope and pillar width constraints and cut-
off. The SSO looks at ALL possible combinations of seed-slices and selects the
aggregated seed-slices that yield the highest value above cut-off. SSO operates quite
differently to how many users anticipate a typical algorithm might work. A typical
heuristic could be to identify grade intervals, retain them if they meet the minimum
interval length, and then merge to carry short intervals with other acceptable length
intervals. These interval heuristics and similar strategies are not used by SSO as they
fail on a number of grounds: - they are not guaranteed to yield the optimal solution, and
cannot deal with more complex situations with multiple lenses and variable grade
distributions; or specific end-cases where it might be optimal to have waste added to
ore, or pillars containing ore; to meet the stope and pillar width parameters.

The seed-slices or aggregates of seed-slices are only added to the seed-shape(s) if the
cumulative value of the slice aggregate falls above the cut-off. The only exception
would be where the stope geometry or other miscellaneous constraints also had to be
satisfied. The grade or value for the aggregated slice-volumes above and below cut-off
must be equal-to or greater-than the nominated cut-off to allow inclusion to the stope-
shape. The cut-off concept is described in more detail under Cut-off and Head-grade .

The seed-shapes are annealed to form the optimised stope-shape (prior to the addition
of wall skin dilution(s)), that is inclusive of internal dilution to form a practical stope-
shape based on the geometry parameters applied. The final stope-shape wireframe
includes the dilution skin(s) - if applicable.

Stope-shape annealing adjusts the stope corners in an iterative fashion to progressively


improve the stope value from that obtained at the seed-shape generation stage. The
stope-shape wireframe is evaluated against the block model for each adjustment. To
generate the final stope-shape, thousands of adjustments might be tested. The overall
time taken depends largely on the stope wireframe evaluation procedure, which can be
relatively slow. Consequently, the better the initial seed-shape approximates the final
stope-shape, the fewer annealing iterations will be required, and the optimiser will
complete sooner.

The seed-slices, seed-shapes, and stope-shapes can all be exported to an optional


“verification-wireframe” file, described in more detail under Wireframe Types.

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1.4.2 Seed-Slice Orientation and Seed-Slice Interval

The seed-slice orientations can be defined by using one of (in increasing order of utility):
a) Default “dip and strike angle” settings (least preferred option).
b) Using “Dynamic Anisotropy” fields contained within the input block model.
"Dynamic Anisotropy" is a specialised interpolation technique that generates a
local strike and dip at each cell centre from the orientation of bounding
geological wireframes. It is typically used to deal with anisotropy in folded
orebodies and has some minor advantages over the "Stope Control Surface",
but has the possible disadvantage of being dependant on the model cell size.
c) A “Stope Control Surface” which is a simple wireframe to define the general
orientation expected for the stope-shapes in the mineralised zones of the
orebody. This is the most preferred option as it is customised to the specific
requirements of SSO, is quite efficient, and is independent of model cell size.

If the Stope Control Surface or Dynamic Anisotropy field data does not extend to all
areas, then the default dip and strike angle settings will be applied in the undefined
areas.

The seed-slice orientation and seed-slice interval are key parameters for the
successful generation of the seed-shape. A seed-shape cannot be formed without seed-
slice(s) above cut-off. A stope-shape cannot be generated without a seed-shape.

While a geology wireframe is often a good proxy for the stope orientation, the geology
wireframe is often far too detailed for the purposes of stope generation. Blindly using the
geology wireframe can sometimes lead to unexpected results or missing stopes that
arise from kinks and inflections in the geology wireframe surface.

In most cases, and in particular for narrow orebodies, a Stope-Control-Surface (i.e. a


surface representing the expected orientation of the stope-shapes) is the preferred
method for defining the seed-slice orientation. A complex surface is not required (and
generally no more than a few thousand triangles are usually needed even for irregular
orebodies). Digitising cross-section view strings that represent the general dip trend of
the orebody (and hence the general dip trend of the stope-shapes) and forming simple
wireframe surface from these strings is usually sufficient. Alternatively, decimating the
geology surface (i.e. reducing the number of triangles and hence smoothing) by typically
80% may achieve a similar simplified surface representing the intended dip trend of the
stope-shapes.

The seed-slice interval should ideally be a sub-multiple of the minimum stope width, the
dilution widths on both sides of the stope-shape (near/far or hangingwall/footwall) and
half of the minimum pillar width. This requirement at the seed-slice generation stage
becomes more important if there are many lenses that will form narrow stope-shapes
with a minimum pillar width between lodes. As a general rule, a seed-slice interval that
generates a minimum of 3-5 seed-slices for the minimum stope width is recommended.
Typically generating more will increase the run time for little benefit, and conversely,
generating less will reduce the result quality.

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1.5 Prism Method


The Prism Method is typically applicable to massive orebodies or wide/thick deposits
whose stopes tend to be designed by blocking out the orebody in a grid-like pattern.

The Prism Method allows the user to define a library of possible stope-volumes by using
permutations of stope length, width and height (as rectangular prisms). The library of
stope-volumes can be defined as rectangular-prisms or defined as prisms with a
centralised undercut-trough (i.e. a shape like an inverted “milk-carton”). The stope-
library can be developed quickly by using minimum, maximum and step increments for
each axis or the library can be explicitly defined giving specific axis dimensions for each
stope-volume.

The Prism Method optimally combines the stope-volumes within each framework
"region" with no overlapping of either regular or various irregular stope-volumes (i.e. it
selects the optimum non-overlapping combination of rectangular stope-volumes). The
goal of the optimisation is to select the set of non-overlapping stope-shapes that
maximises value for the material to be extracted by the selected stope-shapes. All
possible combinations of shapes and positions are considered in the optimisation.

As an example, a typical goal of optimally combining stope-volumes with different


dimensions (e.g. a small footprint stope adjacent to a large footprint stope) is to
determine the optimal orebody footprint.

1.6 Optimisation Methods – Relationship to Mining Methods


Figure 1-2 summarises the various orebody classifications (geometry and dip) that are
used in Table 1.1 to describe a range of mining methods and the corresponding Stope
Shape Optimiser method that is most applicable to that mining method. In certain cases,
some of the Stope Shape Optimiser method(s) could potentially be used for high-level
assessment (+/-30 to 50%) by applying modifying factors. These are noted where
applicable in the table.

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Figure 1-2 Orebody Classifications

Geometry Classification Dip Classification

Flat or Horizontal
0

10

Vertical Dip
30

60

90 80

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Table 1.1 Stope Shape Optimiser Method Applicable to Various Orebody Geometries and Mining Methods

MINING METHODS OREBODY GEOMETRIES OPTIMISATION METHOD (Version2 Stope Optimiser Engine)
Caving Methods Typical Dip Typical Geometry SLICE VERTICAL SLICE HORIZONTAL SLICE SECTION PRISM
Block Caving Vertical to Sub-Vertical Massive to Pipe √ factorised #
Sub-level Caving Vertical to Sub-Vertical Massive to Lenticular √ splits W-axis & factorised #

Core and Shell Vertical to Sub-Vertical Massive to Lenticular √ sub-stope & factorised √ factorised #
Open Stoping Methods
Sub-level Open Stoping ** Vertical to Sub-Vertical Massive to Lenticular √ √ √
Longhole Open Stoping ** Sub-Vertical to Moderate Lenticular to Tabular √
Benching **/ Avoca / Modified Avoca Sub-Vertical to Moderate Tabular to Narrow Vein √ √ plunging orebody ##
Shrinkage / Vertical Retreat Sub-Vertical to Moderate Tabular to Narrow Vein √
Drifting Methods
Room and Pillar Flat to Sub-Horizontal Lenticular to Tabular √ sub-stopes √ factorised #
Post Pillar Cut and Fill * Sub-Horizontal to Moderate Lenticular to Tabular √ sub-stopes
Mechanised Cut and Fill * Flat to Vertical Lenticular to Narrow Vein √ narrow orebody ^
Drift and Fill * Flat to Vertical Lenticular to Narrow Vein √ splits W-axis

Notes:
* Indicates backfill is incorporated into the mining method.
** Indicates backfill can be used to increase ore recovery.
#
Indicates conceptual planning accuracy.
##
Indicates special case suited to plunging moderate orebody (dip and geometry).
^
Indicates suited to narrow orebody, requires factors for moderate geometry.

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2 SLICE METHOD
2.1 Stope-Shape Frameworks General
The Slice Method frameworks are sub-categorised as:
 Vertical; XZ or YZ orebody orientations.
 Horizontal; XY or YX orebody orientations.
 Transverse; special case of XZ or YZ orebody orientations, that optimise
shapes in both the transverse and vertical directions.

The Slice Method XZ|YZ|XY|YX framework orientations can also be mapped or


visualised with a generic naming convention related to the axis direction:
 U-axis is the primary “strike” direction of the stope-shapes (i.e. length),
 V-axis is the secondary “vertical” direction of the stope-shapes (i.e. height for
vertical / width for horizontal),
 W-axis is the tertiary “transverse” direction (i.e. width for vertical / thickness for
horizontal). This is the stope-shape axis that the annealing process optimises for
the Slice Methods.

The first letter of the framework orientation is the U direction and the second is the V
direction. So for example with the XZ orientation, X is the U-axis and Z is the V-axis.

Slice frameworks for Vertical and Horizontal orientations are further sub-categorised as:
 Regular frameworks, where both axes use fixed intervals (the U-axis intervals
and V-axis intervals are fixed) – like having fixed section spacing and fixed level
spacing for vertical orientations or fixed strike sections and fixed wall spacing for
horizontal orientations.
 Irregular frameworks; where either or both of the U and V-axis intervals is
variable. For example like having 4x25m levels and 1x15m sill pillar level for a
mine block covering 115m vertical extent which is repeated, or like having 15m
primary and 20m secondary stopes along strike (for vertical orientations).
 User Defined frameworks; where coordinates are provided to define long
section (U, V) dimensions of the stope-shape geometry. The coordinates can
represent either rectangular shapes (orthogonal), or trapezoidal or quadrilateral
shapes (non-orthogonal).

Irregular Slice Method frameworks can also use control strings for defining variable level
elevations (gradients for vertical orientations) or variable side-wall spacing – likened to
topographic contours (for horizontal orientations).

The framework and stope geometry are described in the following terms:

 stope orientation plane, a two dimensional plane defined by the framework


orientation (XZ, YZ, XY or YX)
 stope face, the (fixed) U and V dimensions of the stope-shape
 The tube, a three-dimensional volume defined by the stope face and the
framework extents in the W direction (transverse). The seed-slice, seed-shape

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and stope-shape are defined within the extents of the tube. The Slice Method
optimisation is applied within the individual tubes, independently, and each tube
is assigned a unique quadrilateral or QUAD number.

Figure 2-1 Tube Definitions


The following depicts the tube shape within regular and irregular stope-shape
frameworks for the Slice method. The controls for stope-shape geometry for each case
will be explored in more detail in subsequent sections.

Tube Definition
Regular Framework - XZ Stope Orientation Plane

Tube

Z(V)

Stope
Shapes

X(U)

Y(W)
Stope face
(rectangle for regular framework)

Tube Definition
Irregular Framework with Gradient Control Strings - XZ Stope Orientation Plane

Z(V)

Tube

Stope
Shapes
X(U)

Y(W)
Stope face
(trapezoid for gradient control strings)

The following figure summarises the stope framework hierarchical structure for the Slice
methods. The controls for stope-shape geometry for each case will be explored in more
detail in subsequent sections.

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Figure 2-2 Slice Method Stope - Shape Framework Hierarchical Structure

Vertical Horizontal Transverse


XZ orientation XY orientation XZ orientation
YZ orientation YX orientation YZ orientation

Regular (Rectangles) Regular (Rectangles)


(VR) Fixed U & V Axis Optimised Control Strings (HR) Fixed U & V Axis Optimised Control Strings
W
(VR-O) Optimise Origin (VR-D) OreDev V U
(HR-O) Optimise Origin (HR-D) Horizon W

(VR-O) Optimise Section, U (HR-O) Optimise Section, U V U

V
U (VR-O) Optimise Level, V (HR-O) Optimise Wall, V
W V
U
W

Irregular (Rectangles) Control Strings Irregular (Rectangles) Control Strings Irregular (Rectangles)
(VIL) Fixed U, Variable V (VIL-D) OreDev (HIW) Fixed U, Variable V (HIW-D) Horizon W
(TIL) Fixed U, Optimised V
W
V
V U Optimised W
U

V V V
U U
U
W W W

(VIS) Variable U, Fixed V (VIS-D) OreDev (HIS) Variable U, Fixed V (HIS-D) Horizon W
(TISL) Variable U, Optimised V
W
V
V U Optimised W
U

V V V
U U
W U
W W

(VILS) Variable U, Variable V (VILS-D) OreDev (HIWS) Variable U, Variable V (HIWS-D) Horizon W
W
V U
V U
V V
U U
W W

Irregular (Trapezoids) Irregular (Trapezoids) Irregular (Trapezoids) Control Strings (for V-axis)
Fixed U Control Strings (for V-axis) Control Strings (for V-axis) Fixed U Control Strings (for V-axis) Control Strings (for V-axis) Fixed U (TIFS) Section (Regular W)
(VIFSG) Gradient (VIFSG-D) OreDev-Gradient (HIFSC) Contour W (HIFSC-D) Horizon-Contour
V W
U
V U V

W U
V V
U U
W W
Variable U Variable U Variable U (TIVS) Section (Regular W)

V
Control Strings (for V-axis) Control Strings (for V-axis) Control Strings (for V-axis) Control Strings (for V-axis)
W U

(VIVSG) Gradient (VIVSG-D) OreDev-Gradient (HIVSC) Contour W (HIVSC-D) Horizon-Contour


V W
U
V U

User Defined V
U
V
U
User Defined
W W
(VUR) Rectangles (HUR) Rectangles

V W
U
V U
W

(VUT) Trapezoid (HUT) Trapezoid

V
U W
W V U

1 Degree of Freedom Frameworks - Optimising W Axis 2 Degrees of Freedom Frameworks


Optimising V & W Axis

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2.2 Stope Frameworks


The Slice Method can be applied in all four stope-shape framework orientations,
vertically for (XZ|YZ) and horizontally for (XY|YX). The correct framework orientation to
apply is dictated by the orebody orientation within the block model.

The stope sections (U-axis) may be regularly spaced or irregularly spaced. At the same
time, the stope levels (V-axis) may be regularly spaced, irregularly spaced or irregularly
spaced with variable gradient.

The faces of the stope-shapes produced are sectional outlines defined by four points.
For orebodies with vertical orientation this will be two on the floor and two on the back.
For orebodies with horizontal orientation this will be two on each of the stope end faces.

The points lay in the stope-shape UV-axis plane and the projection of the face is either a
rectangle or a trapezoid where the opposite sides are parallel. Rectangular and
trapezoidal shapes are special cases of 4 sided polygons. These are commonly referred
to as quadrilaterals in SSO. The quadrilaterals form a tube-shape when extruded in the
transverse direction representing the stope-shape W-axis.

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2.2.1 Vertical Orientation Frameworks

Examples of the Slice Method vertical orientation frameworks are depicted in Figure 2-
3 and Figure 2-4 Slice Method Framework - Vertical YZ

Figure 2-3 Slice Method Framework - Vertical XZ

Shape Framework - XZ Stope Orientation Plane

Orebody

Stope
Shapes Z(V)
Level Spacing

X(U)
Section
Y(W) Spacing

Transverse Direction

Pillar Width

Figure 2-4 Slice Method Framework - Vertical YZ

Shape Framework - YZ Stope Orientation Plane

Orebody

Level
Spacing

Z(V)
Pillar Width
Y(U)

Section
Spacing Stope
Shapes

X(W)
Transverse Direction

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2.2.2 Horizontal Orientation Frameworks

The Slice Method horizontal orientation frameworks are depicted in Figure 2-5 and
Figure 2-6. The selection of YX over XY will be dictated by the ability to have greater
control over roof and floor angles along the V-axis.

Figure 2-5 Slice Method Framework - Horizontal XY

Shape Framework - XY Stope Orientation Plane


Transverse
Section Spacing

Strike Section Spacing

Z(W)

Stope
Shapes

X(U)
Orebody

Y(V)

Pillar Width

Figure 2-6 Slice Method Framework - Horizontal YX

Shape Framework - YX Stope Orientation Plane

Strike Section
Spacing

Transverse
Section Spacing

Z(W)

Y(U)
Stope
Shapes

Orebody

X(V)
Pillar Width

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2.2.3 Transverse Section Orientation Frameworks

The Slice Method transverse section orientation frameworks are depicted in Figure 2-7
and Figure 2-8. The sublevel height and location are optimised independently between
sections. This method is suited to gentle/shallow dipping, thicker orebodies.

Figure 2-7 Slice Method Framework - Transverse Section XZ

Shape Framework - XZ Section Stope Orientation Plane

Level
Spacing
Z(V)

Stope
Shapes

Section Spacing

Y(W)
Orebody

X(U)
Transverse Direction

Pillar Width

Figure 2-8 Slice Method Framework - Transverse Section YZ

Shape Framework - Section YZ Stope Orientation Plane

Level Spacing

Z(V)
Orebody

Section
Spacing
Stope
Shapes

X(W)
Pillar Width
Y(U)

Transverse Direction

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2.3 Framework Optimisation


The selection of start location for levels or sections and spacing for levels and/or
sections are key design choices for mine planners. The following describes the options
available to optimise these.

2.3.1 Framework Iteration

The stope-shape framework can be floated in the stope orientation plane (using defined
step increments) to optimise the start location for both the level and section without
changing the dimensions of the level interval (V-axis dimension) or section spacing (U-
axis dimension). The stope-shape framework can then be further refined by also
changing the level and/or section spacing dimensions.

For framework optimisation the stope-shape minimum and maximum size and increment
are supplied for the axes specified by the stope orientation plane, and the step size for
the origin shift along the same axes.

The initial framework specification defines the extent of the volume to be considered. To
minimise the number of combinations to be considered, the stope-shape size
increment should be a sub-multiple of the stope dimension. The origin shift should be
a sub-multiple of the stope sizes. For example, the stope sizes might be 20-35 in
increments of 5 and the origin step size is set to 5. As the run-time for a large set of
increment combinations might be prohibitive, a single test scenario should be run to
estimate the likely runtime for all combinations. E.g. nominate a single stope size and no
origin step to ascertain the run-time for a single iteration.

The “output_best_case” option will only output the stopes for the single framework that
generates the best set of stopes. The “output_all_cases” option outputs all
combinations of the stope size and framework increment to the output files (if supported
by the vendor data store). The “output_all_cases” and “output_best_case” options are
mutually exclusive (i.e. one or the other may be selected, but not both at the same time).

For the Transverse Section method there is a more restricted optimisation procedure
whereby the user provides a set of alternative stope heights, and the best combination
of sublevel intervals and stope heights is chosen.

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2.3.2 Zone Iteration

If a zone iteration field is defined in the block model and each zone is spatially
separate, then the framework position and extent will be optimised for each zone. The
set of possible zones is nominated by a list. These zones can be different lodes, pods or
even independent mine areas.

Zone Iteration allows the flexing of the level start location, level interval, and level offset
and/or section start location, section interval, and section offset between multiple zones.

The “iterate” function evaluates all combinations of level spacing and offsets of the level
start location, and reports the results as a sorted list to guide the design choice. The
user has the option of outputting the best case.

Where the orebody is made up of discrete ore zones, each is evaluated independently,
and the sorted list is reported by ore zone. This feature can be useful when there are a
significant number of zones to be evaluated, for example where the orebody has many
pods.

The runtime for a large number of combinations can be prohibitive. A single scenario
with all required zones should be run to estimate the likely runtime for all combinations.
(I.e. a run without zone iteration)

Figure 2-9 shows the result of optimising (in the sectional orientation) the level location
for two different lodes with a fixed sublevel interval. This technique could be extended
to allow a range of sublevel intervals.

Figure 2-9 Zone Iteration - Sectional Orientation Example

With Zone Iteration,


the optimisation origin
can be independent
for different lodes

Z(V)
Origin
Y(W) Optimised origin for parallel lode

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Figure 2-10 shows the result of using zone iteration to optimise the section start location
for multiple lodes. The iteration is in the horizontal orientation and there is a fixed section
interval.

Figure 2-10 Zone Iteration - Horizontal Orientation Example

Optimised origin
for parallel lode

Z(W)

Origin
Y(V)

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2.4 Control Strings


Control-strings provide additional constraints on the shape or position of a stope. This
can be dictated in one of two ways:

(i.) Where the string projection in the UV plane is used to define the face shape, or
(ii.) Where the string position in the W dimension controls the position of the
stope.

An example of (i.) would be to allow gradients on levels, and an example of (ii.) would be
to control the position of stopes and pillars.

The best location for these control-strings will only be known after a preliminary run
without control-strings has been completed.

A multiple optimisation run approach should be used to guide the optimal placement of
the control-strings. In the first pass, a regular optimisation can be completed without the
control-strings. The first pass result is then used to guide the location of the control-
strings, and a second optimisation run is conducted to define the stope-shapes that
honour the control-strings. Alternatively in cases where level development data already
exists, control-strings may be created from that information.

Control-strings can be supplied for each of the framework orientation cases as detailed
below.

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2.4.1 Vertical Orientation Frameworks

Control-string functions for XZ|YZ orientation frameworks that extend along the U-axis.

2.4.1.1 GRADIENT

The gradient control-string is used to define the gradients of levels along the orebody
strike axis (variable V-axis). The strings would typically be used for orebodies with an
extensive strike length, such that the difference in elevation from the level access point
to the level strike extremity is significant. The gradient control-string will change the
framework geometry, as shown in Figure 2-11.

A stope face is created where a pair of gradient strings intersects adjacent sections.
Ideally the control-strings should have the same orientation as the stope-framework U-
axis.

Care is required to ensure that adjacent strings extend to intersect all sections. This will
avoid unintended trapezoidal shapes, or unintended gaps, as shown in Figure 2-12
OreDev Control-String Example.

Figure 2-11 Gradient Control-String Example

2.4.1.2 OREDEV

The OreDev control-string is used to define level layouts on fixed elevations (horizontal
gradient) using development centrelines. A stope cannot be created unless its’ floor is
located on a control-string, and a stope floor cannot be located on more than one
control-string.

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OreDev strings do not change the framework, and should be added as an option
to a second-pass run. The strings are typically used to control the location of stopes
and pillars from section to section. They define practical level layouts by constraining the
transverse lateral extents of stope-shapes for parallel lodes (i.e. W-axis direction). The
strings can also be used to constrain the strike extents (U-axis) to say remove strike
outliers.

The seed / annealed stope-section-ends lying at floor level must straddle the string in
order to be accepted. The strings ideally run along the floor of the stopes (but if above,
they will be projected to the floor position) and assume horizontal levels. The intent of
this control-string is to remove transverse pillars and transverse outliers. They may be
used for dropping out irregular pillars. This function may combine transverse stopes,
creating more practical but less optimal stope-shapes. An example is provided in Figure
2-12

Figure 2-12 OreDev Control-String Example

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2.4.1.3 OREDEV-GRADIENT

The OreDev-Gradient control-string combines both the GRADIENT and OREDEV


functions. Note however this function does not currently allow strings with different
gradients for the same long-section strike extent – hence only one string can be used.
Consequently, only one stope in the W-axis is possible.

2.4.1.4 SECTION

The section control-string is used to define gradients of levels for the Transverse Section
XZ|YZ cases (special case of sectional frameworks). It should be used as a second pass
process to apply gradients to levels and would be used after the initial transverse
section optimisation identifies the approximate sublevel position and height for that
section.

2.4.2 Horizontal Orientation Frameworks

Control-string functions for XY|YX orientation frameworks, like the vertical orientation
frameworks, extend along the U-axis.

2.4.2.1 CONTOUR

This control-string is equivalent to GRADIENT for XY|YZ – it defines the stope-shape


side-wall positions (variable V-axis).

2.4.2.2 HORIZON

This control-string is equivalent to OREDEV for XY|YX – the floor and roof must straddle
the string (in the vertical sense i.e. W-axis) to be included.

2.4.2.3 HORIZON-CONTOUR

This control-string is equivalent to OREDEV-GRADIENT for XY|YX - where a string can


define both the gradient and the development centreline. The stope “connects” these
strings to locate the roof and floor.

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2.5 Rotated Frameworks


2.5.1 General Introduction

Frameworks, like the geological block models, can be defined as Un-rotated or Rotated.
For most cases, users deal with un-rotated frameworks which are easier to understand
and faster to process due to simpler geometric calculations.

An example of where a rotated framework may be utilised is where an orebody may


have a strike orientation of 300o/120o azimuth and dip sub-vertically 70o to the east. The
most logical un-rotated stope-shape framework orientation to select, in this example
case, would be the Slice Method Vertical XZ framework, such that stope annealing
occurs in the transverse W-axis direction (i.e. in the north-south azimuth with bearing of
0/180o). However, this stope-shape framework may be re-oriented to be more parallel
with the primary strike-axis of the orebody such that W-axis annealing occurs at right-
angles to the orebody (e.g. azimuth bearing of 30/210o). This example could also be
further complicated whereby the block model framework has also been rotated such that
its orientation is more favourable for geological interpolation purposes.

The block model rotations may be the same or different to the stope-shape framework
rotations. The rotated block model is defined in local coordinates and world coordinates
via rotation parameters. The following describes the various cases.

2.5.2 Rotated Framework Combinations

The orientation of the stope-shape framework is defined and operates independently of


the block model framework orientation.

It is always advised that the location and extents of a rotated framework be checked
visually against the mineralised portion of a block model to ensure that stopes can be
generated where they are expected.

The stope-shape framework and block model combinations (as illustrated in Figure 2.13)
are reported in the run-time logfile (with verbose output) as:

 Neither the block model nor the stope-shape framework are rotated
(MODROT=1)
 The block model and stope-shape framework are both rotated, and have the
same rotation definitions (MODROT=2).
 The block model and stope-shape framework are both rotated, and the axes are
parallel but offset (MODROT=3). Note that this case also requires the rotations of
model and framework to be identical
 One or both of the block model and stope-shape framework are rotated, but do
not have equal rotation angles (MODROT=4).

Block model and stope-shape framework rotations have impacts on runtime


performance (especially for the MODROT=4 case).

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Figure 2-13 Model - Framework Combinations

Block model and stope-shape framework are both unrotated

Block model
Stope-shape framework

Block model and stope-shape framework B l oc k m o d e l a n d s t o p e - s h a p e


are both rotated, but have the same framework are both rotated, and the axes
origin and rotation parameters are parallel but offset

Block model Block model


Stope-shape framework Stope-shape
framework

Origin

One or both of the block model and stope-shape framework are rotated,
but do not have equal rotation angles
Block model
Block model
Stope-shape
framework
Stope-shape
framework

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For un-rotated cases, the stope-shape frameworks implicitly use world coordinates [X,
Y, Z] i.e. both the level coordinates and section coordinates are defined in the world
coordinates.

For un-rotated cases, the world coordinates define the framework extents (minimum and
maximum) and the step sizes are entered directly to the user interface. This defines the
x, y and z extents and the number of steps based on the step size.

Rotated frameworks use local coordinates [X’,Y’,Z’] and world coordinates [X,Y,Z] to
specify the framework origin point (both local and world). The coordinates for the local
framework origin are typically set as [0, 0, 0] or even [0, 0, “mine_level_elevation”], and
use of the world coordinates for the local framework origin should be avoided for
simplicity. A specific requirement is that the rotation point and the origin of the
framework must be coincident.

There is no standard among mining software suppliers for conventions for specifying
block models. Specification of origins, rotations, angle conventions, cell and sub-cell
size and indexing, and even absent data values and modelling of undefined cells differ.
Each mining software supplier provides a software API (Application Programming
Interface) to AMS to directly and efficiently read the proprietary model formats.

The specification of the framework is equivalent to specifying a model origin, extent, cell
size and rotation for a block model.

The AMS Stope Shape Optimiser internally adopts the conventions of the Datamine
Studio software, and each vendor convention is mapped to the Datamine Studio
convention to run the engine. The goal of the vendor interface is to accept framework
parameters in conventions that are familiar to the user of that mining software and
convert these to the conventions used by the Stope Shape Optimiser. Inspection of the
XML parameter files supplied to the Stope Shape Optimiser will show that a conversion
has taken place to make the appropriate transformations between the mining software
conventions and those of the Stope Shape Optimiser.

The stope-shape framework reference point in the XML is defined in world coordinates
at the bottom left-hand-side corner of the stope-shape framework [x0, y0, z0]. The origin
and dimensions are then redefined in local coordinates [xr0, yr0, zr0]. The order of the
axes selected for rotation and the rotation angles are defined in Table 2.1.

The stope-shape framework orientation [U,V,W] axes correspond to the world [X,Y,Z] for
the un-rotated case. However, for the rotated case, the stope orientation [U,V,W] axes
correspond to the local framework grid coordinates [X’,Y’,Z’], not the world framework
coordinates [X,Y,Z]. The stope-shape framework is specified in the [U,V,W] grid.

With an irregular framework, parameters like section location and sublevel elevation
should be provided in local coordinates. If no stopes are output it is likely that the
coordinates were supplied in world rather than local coordinates.

If strings or wireframes are supplied to the Stope Shape Optimiser, then these will need
to be in world coordinates. All output from SSO is in world coordinates, but internally the
Stope Shape Optimiser works in local coordinates.

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The key elements to consider for rotated models are illustrated in Figure 2-14. The
world coordinates are identified as [X,Y,Z] and the local coordinates as [X',Y',Z']

Figure 2-14 Rotated Framework Parameters - Vertical XZ Orientation Plane

Shape Framework - XZ Rotated Stope Orientation Plane

Shape Framework
Section Spacing

Stope Orebody
Shapes

Z’ (V)

Y’ (W) X’ (U)
-15o

Framework Origin
(XR0 YR0 ZR0)
Block Model
Extent
X0 Y0 Z0

ROTAXIS1 = 3 ANGLE1 = -15


World Axes - XYZ ROTAXIS2 = 1 ANGLE1 = 0
Framework (Local Axes) - X’Y’Z’ ROTAXIS3 = 2 ANGLE1 = 0

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2.5.3 Rotation Parameters

The parameters entered for rotated frameworks are summarised in Table 2.1.

Table 2.1 Rotation Parameters


Parameter Description of Parameter
The first rotation angle clockwise in degrees, around axis
ANGLE1 ROTAXIS1. It must lie between ‐360.0 and +360.0. A value
of zero indicates no rotation.
The second rotation angle clockwise in degrees, around
ANGLE2 axis ROTAXIS2. It must lie between 360.0 and +360.0. A
value of zero indicates no rotation.

The third rotation angle clockwise in degrees, around axis


ANGLE3 ROTAXIS3. It must lie between ‐360.0 and +360.0. A value
of zero indicates no rotation.

The axis around which the first rotation angle will occur. 0
ROTAXIS1
for no rotation, 1 for X axis, 2 for Y axis, 3 for Z axis.

The axis around which the second rotation angle will


ROTAXIS2 occur. 0 for no rotation, 1 for X axis, 2 for Y axis, 3 for Z
axis.

The axis around which the third rotation angle will occur. 0
ROTAXIS3
for no rotation, 1 for X axis, 2 for Y axis, 3 for Z axis.

The X coordinate of known point in both systems, in the


X0
un‐rotated coordinate system.
The Y coordinate of known point in both systems, in the
Y0
un‐rotated coordinate system.
The Z coordinate of known point in both systems, in the
Z0
un‐rotated co‐ordinate system.
The X coordinate of known point in both systems, in the
XR0
rotated coordinate system.
The Y coordinate of known point in both systems, in the
YR0
rotated coordinate system.
The Z coordinate of known point in both systems, in the
ZR0
rotated coordinate system.

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Below is an example of the XML syntax for a rotated framework, located in the XML
<Control> Section. This specifies an XZ stope-framework that is rotated -30o and has
the effect of orientating the stope-framework’s primary strike axis azimuth to 60o :

<layout_framework>
<volume_specification xmorig="0" ymorig="0" zmorig="0"
xextent="2525" yextent="1410" zextent="800"/>
<rotation_specification rotaxis1="3" rotaxis2="0" rotaxis3="0"
angle1="-30" angle2="0" angle3="0"
x0="26829" y0="10733" z0="280" />
<model_evaluation_orientation plane="xz" />
</layout_framework>

Note in particular that the cell_specification number of cells [nx, ny, nz] can only be set
using whole integer values, decimal or fractional vales are not permitted.

It is good practice to visually confirm that the stope-framework has been oriented as
intended relative to the deposit block model using your specific vendor mining package.
For Datamine Studio, this can be done by creating an empty test block model using the
framework specification parameters, and viewing this test model in conjunction with the
deposit block model.

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2.6 Stope-Shape Framework Extents Guidelines


Table 2.2 provides guidelines for defining the stope-shape framework parameters for the
different orthogonal stope-framework orientations. The extent of the stope-shape
framework volume (xextent, yextent,zextent) is defined by [(nx*xinc), (ny*yinc), (nz*zinc)]
from a local origin [xmorig,ymorig,zmorig] for regular stope-frameworks.

For irregular stope-shape frameworks, where the stope dimension vary in the U and/or V
direction, the extent of the stope-framework volume is determined by the values
supplied for (xextent, yextent,zextent), and the notional intervals [xinc,yinc,zinc] for a
regular framework will be superseded by an irregular definition (either by supplying
control strings and/or user defined levels/section intervals and locations) when defining
the tube shapes (as illustrated in Figure 2-1).

N is the number of intervals in the primary “strike” direction (U, the stope-shape U-axis),
M in the number of intervals in the secondary “vertical” direction (V, the stope-shape V-
axis), and P is the number of intervals in the transverse “width” direction (W, the stope-
shape W-axis).

Table 2.2 Stope-Shape Framework Orientation and Extents Summary (with NX,
NY, NZ supplied for the regular framework case)
Framework Orientation U-axis V-axis W-axis NX NY NZ
“strike” “height” “width”

Vertical XZ X axis Z axis Y axis N 1 M

Vertical YZ Y axis Z axis X axis 1 N M

Horizontal XY X axis Y axis Z axis N M 1

Horizontal YX Y axis X axis Z axis M N 1

Transverse Section XZ X Z Y axis N P 1

Transverse Section YZ Y axis Z axis X axis P N 1

Prism XZ X axis Z axis Y axis N P M

Prism YZ Y Z X P N M

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2.7 Stope-Shape Geometry


2.7.1 Dip and Width Parameter Convention

Angles for dip and strike, and widths for stopes and pillars can be specified as either
Apparent or True. The True specification is added in Version 3 to allow stope width and
dip angles to be specified in a plane perpendicular to the stope strike, and independent
of the Framework rotation. If True specification is used then the equivalent Apparent
specification is calculated for internal processing based on the orientation of the seed
stope, so a good estimate of the seed stope strike and dip is required and this is best
controlled by the use of a Stope Control Surface.

Note that the easiest and most intuitive method of specifying the strike and dip angles is
to provide a Stope Control Surface wireframe over the full extent of the orebody where
stope shapes are to be generated. The Stope Control Surface is generated and
displayed in world coordinates, irrespective of the orientation of the model and the stope
shape framework. If required, the vendor software can be used to display true dip and
strike off this wireframe surface. The Stope Control Surface has priority over the default
dip and strike (Vertical XZ|YZ, Section XZ|YZ) and default strike dip and transverse dip
(Horizontal XY|YX ) angles.

Specification of strike and dip angles is not needed in the Prism method.

(1) Apparent Dip and Width Specification

The angle conventions are the same for the Vertical XZ|YZ methods and the Section
XZ|YZ methods. Strike is measured clockwise from the primary stope shape framework
axis (the long section view), looking along the axis in the positive coordinate direction.
Dip is measured from the horizontal left axis looking along the primary axis.

For the Horizontal XY|YX method, dip angles are measured downwards from the
horizontal on both the primary (the first axis in XY|YX) and secondary (the second axis
in XY|YX) axes, and are termed the ‘strike dip’ angle, and the ‘transverse dip’ angle
respectively.

For rotated stope shape frameworks the strike and dip are measured in the local
coordinate system. All angle values are specified in Degrees.

(2) True Dip and Width Specification

Angles for dip and strike are specified as true dip (TRDIP), and true dip direction
(TRDIPDIR) respectively. TRDIPDIR ranges [0..360] and TRDIP normally ranges [0..90]
but when specifying the stope dip angles the range is [0..180]. TRDIPDIR is found by
adding 90 degrees to the bearing of the TRDIP direction.

These angles have the angle conventions that the Datamine Dynamic Anisotropy
modelling functions provide in the TRDIP and TRDIPDIR fields, with dip measured
positive downwards, and the dip direction measured as a clockwise bearing, with north
being zero degrees.

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2.7.2 Relationship between Stope Frameworks and Stope-shapes

For the Slice Methods, the stope-shapes are constrained to the tube geometry (as
illustrated in Figure 2-1), when extruded in the transverse direction (W-axis). The face or
projected wall shape will be defined by the four corners in the wall plane (i.e.
hangingwall/footwall or near/far wall for vertical orientation, roof/floor wall for horizontal
orientation). The shape of the tubes can be rectangular or trapezoidal (and later
releases will be able to defined with full quadrilaterals).

The stope-shape tube volumes are defined by the framework options and optional
control-string combinations. These are generally described in the following sub-sections.

2.7.3 Vertical Orientation Stope-Shape Tubes

The vertical orientation is best suited to narrow vein, tabular and lenticular geometry with
narrow to moderate thickness and moderate to sub-vertical dip. For an overview
diagram of deposit morphology, see Figure 1-2 . Option codes are used to identify the
various stope-shape types, a summary of vertical codes appears in Table 2.3 below.

Table 2.3 Vertical Orientation Stope-Shape Tubes Summary


Stope-Shape Stope-Shape Framework Tube End-Face
Code

VR (VR-O, VR-D) Vertical Regular Rectangular

VIL, VIS, VILS Vertical Irregular (Level, Rectangular


section)

VIVSG, VIFSG Vertical Irregular Trapezoidal

VUR, VUT Vertical Irregular User Rectangular or


Trapezoidal

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2.7.3.1 (VR) Vertical Regular Framework (Rectangular Stope-Shape


Tubes)

The regular stope-shape tubes are rectangles having a fixed section spacing (U-axis)
and a fixed level interval (V-axis). The option code for regular stope-shape tubes is VR.

Special case optimisation options (with option code VR-O) are available that can:

 Optimise the stope framework origin (Optimise Origin – U|V origin) whereby the
U|V origin is floated on axes step increments.
 Optimise the section spacing (Optimise Section – U dimension). The U
dimension (a single optimised dimension) can also be optimised independently
by ZONE (e.g. a different U dimension for each independent lode, pod or mine
area).
 Optimise the level interval (Optimise Level – V dimension). The V dimension (a
single optimised dimension) can also be optimised independently by ZONE (e.g.
a different V dimension for each independent lode, pod or mine area).
 Combinations of all of the above.

The control-string case (with option code VR-D) can be used to constrain the stopes in
the W and U axes. It is typically applied as a secondary run refinement to remove
impractical stopes such as strike outliers and/or impractical stopes in the transverse
extents i.e. W-axis direction (e.g. where the mineralisation is erratic for parallel lodes
which results in stopes jumping across from one lode to the other or randomly bridging
the parallel lodes). This control-string option does not change the U|V dimensions, and
cannot be used with the optimisation options.

The regular framework rectangle stope-shape tube options (with option codes) are
depicted in Figure 2-15 below:

Figure 2-15 (VR) Vertical Regular – Rectangular Stope-Shape Tubes


Regular (Rectangles)
(VR) Fixed U & V Axis Optimised Control Strings
(VR-O) Optimise Origin (VR-D) OreDev
(VR-O) Optimise Section, U
V
U (VR-O) Optimise Level, V
W V
U
W

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2.7.3.2 (VIL VIS VILS) Vertical Irregular Framework (Rectangular


Stope-Shape Tubes)

The irregular rectangle framework can have either:

 Framework with regular section spacing (U-axis) and irregular level intervals (V-
axis – option code VIL).
 Framework with regular level interval (V-axis) and irregular section spacing (U-
axis – option code VIS).
 Framework with irregular level interval (V-axis) and irregular section spacing (U-
axis – option code VILS).

The control-string cases (with option codes VIL-D, VIS-D and VILS-D) are used to
constrain the stopes in the W and U axes. It is typically applied as a secondary run
refinement to remove impractical stopes such as strike outliers and/or impractical
transverse extents in the W-axis direction (e.g. where the mineralisation is erratic for
parallel lodes which results in stopes jumping across from one lode to the other or
randomly bridging the parallel lodes). This control-string option does not change the U|V
dimensions.

The irregular framework rectangular stope-shape tube options (with option codes) are
depicted in Figure 2-16 below:

Figure 2-16 (VIL, VIS, VILS) Vertical Irregular - Rectangular Stope-Shape Tubes

Irregular (Rectangles) Control Strings


(VIL) Fixed U, Variable V (VIL-D) OreDev

V V
U U
W W

(VIS) Variable U, Fixed V (VIS-D) OreDev

V V
U U
W W

(VILS) Variable U, Variable V (VILS-D) OreDev

V V
U U
W W

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2.7.3.3 (VIVSG, VIFSG) Vertical Irregular Framework (Trapezoidal


Stope-Shape Tubes)

Control-strings with variable gradient (and lateral extents in the U-axis direction) are
used to form the irregular level intervals (in the V-axis). The irregular trapezoid
framework can either have:

 Framework with regular section spacing (U-axis) and irregular level intervals
defined by variable gradient control-strings (V-axis – option code VIFSG), or
 Framework with irregular section spacing (U-axis) and irregular level intervals
defined by variable gradient control-strings (V-axis – option code VIVSG).

In addition to irregular level intervals (using the variable gradient control-strings) the
control-strings can optionally be used to remove impractical stopes such as strike
outliers and/or impractical transverse extents in the W-axis direction (e.g. where the
mineralisation is erratic for parallel lodes resulting in stopes jumping from one lode to the
other or randomly bridging the parallel lodes). Note that the OreDev-Gradient control-
string for Version 3 only allows defining one long section trace per level in the stope
orientation plane projection. As such, for multiple parallel orebodies it can only produce
one stope in the W-axis direction (unlike the OreDev control strings for option codes VR-
D, VIL_D, VIS_D or VILS_D which can allow multiple parallel lodes but for a horizontal
plane only (i.e. multiple stopes in the W-axis for each horizontal level).

The irregular framework trapezoidal stope-shape tube options (with option codes) are
depicted in Figure 2-17 below:

Figure 2-17 (VIVSG, VIFSG) Vertical Irregular - Trapezoidal Stope-Shape Tubes


Irregular (Trapezoids)
Fixed U Control Strings (for V-axis) Control Strings (for V-axis)
(VIFSG) Gradient (VIFSG-D) OreDev-Gradient

V V
U U
W W
Variable U

Control Strings (for V-axis) Control Strings (for V-axis)


(VIVSG) Gradient (VIVSG-D) OreDev-Gradient

V V
U U
W W

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2.7.3.4 (VUR, VUT) Vertical Irregular Framework (User Defined


Rectangular or Trapezoidal Stope-Shape Tubes)

Specification of the stope-shape dimensions can be individually specified within the


extents of the framework. This may be of particular use for orebodies that require
irregularly located/shaped crown, rib or sill pillars or mines that require exclusion zones
around say an irregular surface feature such as a meandering river, variable depth lake,
and irregular pit excavations or require exclusion zone around a key piece of
infrastructure such as shafts, workshop, etc.

Stope-shapes can be specified with coordinates for a set of Rectangular or quadrilateral


shapes, as depicted in Figure 2-22. A rectangle stope-shape is defined by coordinates
(umin, umax, vmin, vmax). A trapezoid stope-shape has two opposite parallel sides and
is defined by the coordinates (umin, umax, v1min, v1max, v2min, v2max).

Both methods define the stope-shape in long section, and the projection of this shape in
the W-axis direction (i.e. transverse direction) forms the face of the stope-shape "tube".

The irregular framework user-defined rectangular or trapezoidal stope-shape tube


options (with option codes) are depicted in Figure 2-18 below:

Figure 2-18 (VUR, VUT) Vertical Irregular – User Defined Rectangular or


Trapezoidal Stope-Shape Tubes

User Defined
(VUR) Rectangles

V
U
W

(VUT) Trapezoid

V
U
W

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2.7.4 (HR) Horizontal Orientation Stope-Shape Tubes

The horizontal orientation is best suited to narrow vein, tabular and lenticular geometry
with narrow to moderate thickness and moderate to sub-horizontal dip. For an overview
diagram of deposit morphology, see Figure 1-2. Option codes are used to identify the
various stope-shape types, a summary of horizontal codes appears in Table 2.4 below

Table 2.4 Horizontal Orientation Stope-Shape Tubes Summary


Stope-Shape Stope-Shape Framework Tube End-Face
Code

HR (HR-O, HR-D) Horizontal Regular Rectangular

HIW, HIS, HIWS Horizontal Irregular (Wall, Rectangular


Section)

HIFSC, HIVSC Horizontal Irregular Trapezoidal

HUR, HUT Horizontal Irregular User Rectangular or


Trapezoidal

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2.7.4.1 (HR) Horizontal Regular Framework (Rectangular Stope-


Shape Tubes)

The regular stope-shape tubes are rectangles having a fixed section spacing (U-axis)
and a fixed width interval (V-axis). The option code for regular stope-shape tubes is HR.

Special case optimisation options (with option code HR-O) are available that can:

 Optimise the stope framework origin (Optimise Origin – U|V origin) whereby the
U|V origin is floated on axes step increments.
 Optimise the section spacing (Optimise Section – U dimension). The U
dimension (a single optimised dimension) can also be optimised independently
by ZONE (e.g. a different U dimension for each independent lode, pod or mine
area).
 Optimise the wall interval (Optimise Wall – V dimension). The V dimension (a
single optimised dimension) can also be optimised independently by ZONE (e.g.
a different V dimension for each independent lode, pod or mine area).
 Combinations of all of the above.

The control-string case (with option code HR-D) can be used to constrain the stopes in
the W and U axes. It is typically applied as a secondary run refinement to remove
impractical stopes such as strike outliers and/or impractical steps in the W-axis direction
(e.g. where the mineralisation is erratic for parallel lodes and resulting in stopes jumping
up and down from one lode to the other or randomly bridging the parallel lodes). This
control-string option does not change the U|V dimensions, and cannot be used with the
optimisation options.

The regular framework rectangle stope-shape tube options (with option codes) are
depicted in Figure 2-19 below:

Figure 2-19 (HR) Horizontal Regular – Rectangular Stope-Shape Tubes


Regular (Rectangles)
(HR) Fixed U & V Axis Optimised Control Strings
W
V U
(HR-O) Optimise Origin (HR-D) Horizon W
V
(HR-O) Optimise Section, U U

(HR-O) Optimise Wall, V

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2.7.4.2 (HIW, HIS, HIWS) Horizontal Irregular Framework


(Rectangular Stope-Shape Tubes)

The irregular rectangle framework can have either:

 Framework with regular section spacing (U-axis) and irregular wall intervals (V-
axis – option code HIW.
 Framework with regular wall interval (V-axis) and irregular section spacing (U-
axis – option code HIS).
 Framework with irregular wall interval (V-axis) and irregular section spacing (U-
axis – option code HIWS).

The control-string cases (with option codes HIW-D, HIS-D and HIWS-D) are used to
constrain the stopes in the W and U axes. It is typically applied as a secondary run
refinement to remove impractical stopes such as strike outliers and/or impractical steps
in the W-axis direction (e.g. where the mineralisation is erratic for parallel lodes and
results in stopes jumping up and down from one lode to the other or randomly bridging
the parallel lodes). This control-string option does not change the U|V dimensions.

The irregular framework rectangle stope-shape tube options (with option codes) are
depicted in Figure 2-20 below:

Figure 2-20 (HIW, HIS, HIWS) Horizontal Irregular - Rectangular Stope-Shape


Tubes

Irregular (Rectangles) Control Strings


(HIW) Fixed U, Variable V (HIW-D) Horizon W
W
V U
V U

(HIS) Variable U, Fixed V (HIS-D) Horizon W


W
V U
V U

(HIWS) Variable U, Variable V (HIWS-D) Horizon W


W
V
U
V U

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2.7.4.3 (HIFSC, HIVSC) Horizontal Irregular Framework (Trapezoidal


Stope-Shape Tubes)

Control-strings with variable strike direction (and lateral extents in the U-axis direction)
are used to form irregular wall intervals (in the V-axis). The irregular trapezoid
framework can either have:

 Framework with regular section spacing (U-axis) and irregular “contour-like”


intervals defined by variable strike-direction control-strings (V-axis – option code
HIFSC), or
 Framework with irregular section spacing (U-axis) and irregular “contour-like”
intervals defined by variable strike-direction control-strings (V-axis – option code
HIVSC).

In addition to irregular wall intervals (using the variable strike-direction control-strings)


the control-strings can optionally be used to remove impractical stopes such as strike
outliers and/or impractical steps in the W-axis direction (e.g. where the mineralisation is
erratic for parallel lodes resulting in stopes jumping up or down from one lode to the
other or randomly bridging the parallel lodes). Note that the Horizon-Contour control-
string for Version 3 only allows defining one plan trace per level in the orientation axis
plane. As such, for multiple parallel orebodies it can only produce one stope in the W-
axis direction (unlike the Horizon control-strings for option codes HR-D, HIW_D, HIS_D
or HIWS_D which can allow multiple parallel lodes but for a constant strike plane only
(e.g. multiple stopes in the W-axis for each constant strike plane).

The irregular framework trapezoidal stope-shape tube options (with option codes) are
depicted in Figure 2-21 below:

Figure 2-21 (HIFSC, HIVSC) Horizontal Irregular - Trapezoidal Stope-Shape


Tubes
Irregular (Trapezoids)
Fixed U Control Strings (for V-axis) Control Strings (for V-axis)
(HIFSC) Contour W (HIFSC-D) Horizon-Contour
W
V U
V U

Variable U

Control Strings (for V-axis) Control Strings (for V-axis)


(HIVSC) Contour W (HIVSC-D) Horizon-Contour
W
V U
V
U

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2.7.4.4 (HUR, HUT) Horizontal Irregular Framework (User Defined


Rectangular or Trapezoidal Stope-Shape Tubes)

Specification of the stope-shape dimensions can be individually specified within the


extents of the framework. This may be of particular use for orebodies that require
irregularly located/shaped pillars or require an irregular exclusion zone around say a
shaft, workshop, and development access or require irregular stopes with say variable
section end-walls so that they are at right-angles to the “contour”.

Stope-shapes can be specified with coordinates for a set of Rectangular or quadrilateral


shapes, as depicted in Figure 2-22. A rectangle stope-shape is defined by coordinates
(umin, umax, vmin, vmax). A trapezoid stope-shape has two opposite parallel sides and
is defined by the coordinates (umin, umax, v1min, v1max, v2min, v2max).

Figure 2-22 Definitions for Rectangular and Trapezoidal Shapes

User Defined Rectangle User Defined Trapezoid

Vmax V2max
V1max

V1min
Vmin V2min
Umin Umax Umin Umax

Both methods define the stope-shape in plan and the projection of this shape in the W-
axis direction (i.e. transverse direction) forms the face of the stope-shape "tube".

Figure 2-23 (HUR, HUT) Horizontal Irregular – User Defined Rectangular or


Trapezoidal Stope-Shape Tubes
User Defined
(HUR) Rectangles

W
V
U

(HUT) Trapezoid

W
V U

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2.7.5 Transverse Section Orientation Stope-Shape Tubes

The transverse section orientation is best suited to moderate plunging orebodies with
lenticular, pipe or massive geometry and moderate to wide thickness that are amenable
to benching type mine methods where the stopes walls for adjacent sections abut. It is
typically a “special case” vertical orientation option. For an overview diagram of deposit
morphology, see Figure 1-2. Option codes are used to identify the various stope-shape
types, a summary of transverse codes appears in Table 2.5

Table 2.5 Transverse Section Orientation Stope-Shape Tubes Summary


Stope-Shape Code Stope-Shape Framework Tube End-Face

TIL, TISL Transverse Irregular Rectangular

TIFS, TIVS Transverse Irregular Trapezoidal

2.7.5.1 (TIL, TISL) Transverse Section Irregular Framework


(Rectangular Stope-Shape Tubes)

The rectangle transverse section framework can have:


 Regular width (equal) transverse-section spacing (U-axis) with the position of the
horizontal levels (V-axis) optimised within each transverse section and the
transverse section length (W-axis) also optimised (potentially with angled walls
but typically vertical). The option code for this option is TIL.
 Irregular width transverse-section spacing (U-axis) with the position of the
horizontal levels (V-axis) optimised within each transverse section and the
transverse section length (W-axis) also optimised (potentially with angled walls
but typically vertical). The option code for this option is TISL.

Figure 2-24 (TIL, TISL) Transverse Section – Irregular Rectangular Stope-Shape


Tubes

Irregular (Rectangles)
(TIL) Fixed U, Optimised V

W U

(TISL) Variable U, Optimised V

W U

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2.7.5.2 (TIFS, TIVS) Transverse Section Irregular Framework


(Trapezoidal Stope-Shape Tubes)

The trapezoid transverse section framework can have:


 Regular width (equal) transverse-section spacing (U-axis) with the position of the
levels (V-axis) defined by section control-strings (with gradient) within each
transverse section. The transverse section length (W-axis) is not optimised. Its
length is defined by the lateral extent of the section control-string or the step-size
specified for the W-axis. The step-size could typically be the blast hole ring
burden. The option code for this option is TIFS.
 Irregular width transverse-section spacing (U-axis) with the position of the levels
(V-axis) defined by section control-strings (with gradient) within each transverse
section. The transverse section length (W-axis) is not optimised. Its length is
defined by the lateral extent of the section control-string or the step-size
specified for the W-axis. The step-size could typically be the blast hole ring
burden. The option code for this option is TIVS.

Figure 2-25 (TIFS, TIVS) Transverse Section – Irregular Trapezoidal Stope-Shape


Tubes

Irregular (Trapezoids) Control Strings (for V-axis)


Fixed U (TIFS) Section (Regular W)

W U

Variable U (TIVS) Section (Regular W)

W U

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2.7.6 Shape Types

Three different shape types are recognised:

(1) Full-shapes (often referred to as "full-stope"). This is the entire framework


trapezoid / rectangle shape in the U and V axes. A full stope-shape is defined as
one that covers one full interval in the U-axis and V-axis (i.e. one section-spacing
and one level spacing for the vertical orientation frameworks, or one strike-
interval and one contour- interval for horizontal orientation frameworks).
(2) Sub-shapes (often referred to as "sub-stope"), a regular or irregular sub-interval
of the full-shape.
(3) Development-shapes, with dimensions of width and height (typically equivalent
to the ore development profile).

In the stope optimisation run, full-shapes are processed first in a tube, and then sub-
shapes (from the remaining ore not mined with a full-shape), and lastly development-
shapes (from the ore that cannot be taken in either full-shapes or sub-shapes).

Any combination of these shapes can be selected in an optimisation run, and some
overlap in definition is possible. A sub-shape having the same dimension as the full-
shape could be specified, but there would not be any value in this if the full-shape had
also been selected, as the full-stope would have already formed stopes of that
dimension.

2.7.6.1 Sub-Stopes

Full-shapes (full-stopes) can be sub-divided in either and/or both of the shape’s U-axis
and V-axis, to create sub-shapes (sub-stopes). Defining sub-stopes helps maximise
resource recovery into stopes, especially at the orebody strike extents or where the
mineralisation may be patchy or irregular.

A maximum of 25 sub-shapes can be specified in any one run (i.e. 25 different sub-
shape U|V dimensions).

Sub-stope geometries can be regular, irregular rectangular or irregular trapezoid to


identify full and partial sub-stope shapes, and optimal combinations of sub-stopes.

Note that sub-stoping requires a model with cells defined in waste/pillar areas in order to
honour stope geometry rules for the minimum pillar width between stopes and sub-
stopes, and between sub-stopes (in the W-axis). The “minimum pillar width” function
requires model cells to be present in order to flag what has already been mined in earlier
passes of stopes and sub-stopes. This is necessary so that the minimum pillar width can
be maintained between "mined" material and the new sub-stope.

Sub-shapes are defined by one of several techniques:

a) Divisor - specifying the number of sub-shapes along the U and/or V axes. The
sub-shapes are strictly non-overlapping.

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b) User Defined – The user can specify a list of sub-shapes using proportions as
fractions. Later entries in the list can be overlapping and/or non-overlapping.
c) Automatic Function - this will automatically generate a list of over-lapping sub-
shapes relative to a face position based on a selected divisor. There are three
options being; [edge, forward edge, and backward edge].

The following two examples show the parameters for two equal half stopes along strike
for a sectional orientation where U is along the primary horizontal strike-axis and V is
along the vertical axis. The first example uses the (a) integer divisor approach and the
second uses the (b) user defined fractional proportion approach.

Example 1

Divisors would be
unumber = 2 vnumber = 1

Example 2

Fractions would be (umin, umax, vmin, vmax)


(0.0, 0.5, 0.0, 1.0) and (0.5, 1.0, 0.0, 1.0)

More complex sub-stopes could be half of the section and half of the level spacing –
potentially forming 4 sub-stopes. Figure 2-26 depicts examples of situations with 2 sub-
stopes in both the strike (U-axis) and elevation (V-axis) directions for (1) a regular U|V
framework and also for (2) a regular U and irregular V framework.

Figure 2-26 Sub-Stopes for Regular and Irregular Vertical Frameworks Example

Regular U/2 & Regular V/2 Regular U/2 & Irregular V/2
V V

0.5 sub-stope sub-stope sub-stope sub-stope


0.5
sub-stope
sub-stope
0.5
sub-stope sub-stope
0.5

U U
0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5

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2.7.6.2 Sub-Stopes with Varying Strike Length

The sub-divisions to form sub-stopes may be regular divisors (e.g. 2 for halves, 3 for
thirds, 4 for quarters, 5 for fifths, etc.) or they can be variable divisors based on
fractional proportion (e.g. {0.3 and 0.7}, {0.2 and 0.4 and 0.4}, etc.)

The following set of values would create 3 sub-stopes with a full-stope height of 20m but
with varying strike lengths of 10m, 15m, and 25m based on a full-stope dimension of
50m strike by 20m height. This is achieved by using fractional proportions of 0.2, 0.3
and 0.5 for the U-axis, as illustrated in Figure 2-27.

(0.0, 0.2, 0.0, 1.0)


(0.2, 0.5, 0.0, 1.0)
(0.5, 1.0, 0.0, 1.0)

Figure 2-27 Sub-Stope Fractional Proportion Example


50m strike

Level
Height

10m 15m 25m


Split fraction in U 0.2 0.5 1.0

The simplest sub-stope could be half-of either the section or level spacing (vertical
orientation framework) – potentially forming 2 sub-stopes (either in the strike direction or
in the vertical direction). Both sub-stopes could be produced, especially if the orebody
geometry is erratic but still carries acceptable grade within the full-stope interval.
Alternatively, either sub-stope could be produced, especially if the orebody extents or
mineralisation extents do not cover the full-stope extents (e.g. mineralisation that “falls-
short” of a level interval or strike interval).

Variable divisors (using fractional proportion) can be used to replicate repeating regular
patterns, such as for the Room-and-Pillar mining method layout (using a Horizontal
framework).

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Up to 25 sub-stopes can be specified and will be processed in the sequence supplied.


The sub-stope-shapes considered can overlap. If you wanted SSO to attempt the
creation of a stope-shape using 80% of the section spacing (starting from the lower-
coordinate section), then attempt 60% if the 80% doesn’t succeed, then 40% if the 60%
doesn’t succeed, then 20% if the 40% doesn’t succeed (e.g. used for maximising mining
at the lode strike extremities) with the (umin,umax,vmin,vmax) fraction values would be:

(0.0, 0.8, 0.0, 1.0)


(0.0, 0.6, 0.0, 1.0)
(0.0, 0.4, 0,.0 1.0)
(0.0, 0.2, 0,.0 1.0)

The SSO can be visualised as working in sequence from top to bottom in Figure 2-28
until a successful stope-shape was found.

Figure 2-28 Sub-Stope UV Fractions

0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1


1

0
1

1 0

0 1

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2.7.6.3 Automatic Sub-Stope Edge Sequences

The 2.7.6.1 Sub-Stopes (c) “automatic function” option enables irregular shapes to be
defined (e.g. the stope and drive shapes, or the primary and secondary stope-shapes)
and would be used without full shapes being specified. A number of automatic
configurations of sub-shapes can be supplied where the interval dimension is given on
the U or the V-axis (but not both at the same time), and where sub-shapes abut the
framework cell boundary. The largest sub-shape is chosen first. These automatic
methods have the goal of identifying how stope sub-shapes might be used to find a sub-
shape contiguous with an adjacent full shape (or sub-shape).

The following automatic function examples (depicted in Figure 2-29) assume the U
divisor number is 4 and the sub-shape dimensions are umin, umax, vmin, vmax.

1) Edge sequence (sub-stope-shape must abut with the adjacent shape)


(0.00, 0.75, 0.0, 1.0)
(0.25, 1.00, 0.0, 1.0)
(0.00, 0.50, 0.0, 1.0)
(0.50, 1.00, 0.0, 1.0)
(0.00, 0.25, 0.0, 1.0)
(0.75, 1.00, 0.0, 1.0)
2) Forward sequence (abuts with adjacent shape wall advancing from near
side)
(0.00, 0.75, 0.0, 1.0)
(0.00, 0.50, 0.0, 1.0)
(0.00, 0.25, 0.0, 1.0)
3) Back sequence (abuts with adjacent shape wall retreating from far side)
(0.25, 1.00, 0.0, 1.0)
(0.50, 1.00, 0.0, 1.0)
(0.75, 1.00, 0.0, 1.0)

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Figure 2-29 Automatic Sub-Stope Edge Sequences (U divisor set to four)

Edge sequence Forward sequence Back sequence

0 0.25 0.5 0.75 1 0 0.25 0.5 0.75 1 0 0.25 0.5 0.75 1


1 1 1

0 1 0 1 0 1

1 0 1 0 1 0

0 1 0 0

1 0

0 1

2.7.6.4 Overlapping Sub-Stopes

By default, sub-shapes are processed in the order supplied (either from a user supplied
list or an automatically generated list), and ore will be mined in the first economic sub-
shape encountered in the list. In the case where there are multiple orebody
lodes/lenses and potentially multiple stopes transversely across strike, if one lode/lens is
successful with a full stope, but not the others, the others will still be considered for sub-
stopes.

With overlapping sub-shapes it is logical to supply the largest first, otherwise a smaller
sub-shape may remove the opportunity to mine a larger shape in the same position.

The sequential order of evaluation does not guarantee the best combination of sub-
shapes is found.

Note that the Stope Shape Optimiser does not check the combination of full-stopes and
sub-stopes simultaneously for the set that optimises the objective (grade / value /
calculated value). E.g. It could be the case that two solutions exist, one with a full-shape
and another with sub-shape(s). Even though the sub-shape solution may have a higher
grade/value/calculated value, the full-shape solution will always be generated as the
evaluation sequence terminates with the earliest solution found.

2.7.6.5 Sub-Stope Polygons

For sub-stope polygons a closed string is supplied to define a non-rectangular shape. A


smaller model discretisation interval should be considered for more accurate
approximate stope evaluation, or else the exact evaluation method should be used.

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Figure 2-30 Sub-Stope Polygon Example (fraction)


0 0.6

0.6
Level
Height
(V)

0 0
Strike (U)
0 1

2.7.6.6 Sub-Stope Optimisation

Sub-stope Optimisation evaluates all the sub-stopes, and finds the best combination of
non-overlapping sub-stopes. The processing time overhead should not be any higher
than evaluating a list of sub-stopes.

If the option to optimise sub-stopes is selected, then an optimal choice of sub-shapes is


made to maximise the value (or metal). This option can only have an effect when the
supplied list of sub-shapes is overlapping. In the earlier Edge sequence example
(Figure 2-29) the optimal combination might be one that leaves intermediate waste in a
different position to that found by exploring the sub-shapes in the sequence given e.g.
with a result (0.00, 0.25, 0.0 1.0) and (0.50, 1.00, 0.0, 1.0) rather than (0.00, 0.50, 0.0,
1.0) and (0.75, 1.00, 0.0, 1.0) to better isolate the higher grade ore.

If sub-stopes are optimised, a set of non-overlapping sub-stopes will be selected, and


these are the only shapes that will be used on each lens. Without sub-stope optimisation
each shape in the list is run in turn, and any lens that can form stopes from that shape
will do so at the first opportunity. In the sub-stope optimisation case, SSO is looking for
the best overall solution with a subset of the shapes, whereas in the non-optimisation
case it is like a greedy algorithm that will apply a sub-stope at the first available
opportunity, and consequently the sub-stopes from one lens might overlap the sub-
stopes from another adjacent lens (which cannot occur by definition in the sub-stope
optimise case).

If a full stope-shape is included in the sub-shape list then optimisation can assess
whether a sub-stope captures more value than a full-stope (that is otherwise forced to
mine more included waste).

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If you evaluate a list of overlapping sub-stopes on parallel lenses (without sub-stope


optimisation) you might get overlapping stope-shapes from one lens to the next and also
potentially get a higher value. Note also that if there are multiple lenses and multiple
stopes transversely across strike, the lenses are not checked individually for the choice
of full stope and sub-stope combinations – the full stope-shape is applied to all lenses,
and where a full stope does not create an economic stope, a sub-stope will be
considered.

2.7.6.7 Pillar Locations

Irregular U or V axes “pillars” can be defined by specifying the position co-ordinate and
size. Typical pillar examples are:

 Defining primary and secondary (pillar) stopes,


 Defining rib pillars between stopes along strike
 Defining sill pillars between mining blocks on dip.
 Analysing frameworks to define the optimum U, V dimensions combination e.g.
assessing the best combination of level interval combined with section interval.

An example of alternating 10m and 20m definitions is provided in Error! Reference


source not found.:

Figure 2-31 Irregular Rib Pillar or Stope Example

Coordinate Size

55500 10
55510 20
55530 10
55540 20

10 20 10 20

U
55500 55510 55530 55540 55560

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2.8 Seed-Slice Interval Selection


Although the seed-slice interval definition is not specifically a stope-shape geometry
parameter, its selection has implications regarding the accuracy of the stope-shapes
and processing speed.

The slice interval ideally should be an integer divisor of:

 the minimum mining width,


 half the pillar width between transverse stopes, and
 the dilution widths for near/far or hangingwall/footwall surfaces.

The seed-slice interval should typically be set to get a minimum of 3 to 5 intervals in the
minimum stope width.

If the slice interval is not an integer divisor then inaccuracies may occur at the seed
stage because the seed-shape and pillar shape can only be multiples of the seed-slice
intervals. If ore lenses are widely spaced, the choice of slice interval will be less critical.
However if the ore lenses are closely spaced and the optimal pillar width is close to the
minimum pillar width, then the choice of slice interval will be more critical. If there is a
single lens then the choice is less critical.

The number of seed-slice intervals across the orebody can be up to a maximum of 4096
in Version 3. The seed-slice generation process gets proportionately slower as the
number of slice intervals increases. Hence careful selection of seed-slice interval,
minimum stope width, minimum pillar width between stopes and dilution skin intervals is
required to not exceed this limit and/or to keep the processing time reasonable. The
maximum number of seed-slice intervals allowed is not constrained by the W dimension
of the framework, but it is constrained by the maximum distance along the tube (W-axis)
that would contain the slices.

As an example, a 1m slice interval would be appropriate for:

 5m minimum mining width,


 6m minimum pillar width,
 2m hangingwall dilution,
 1m footwall dilution,

In Error! Reference source not found., the results of using different seed-slice
intervals are illustrated where the orebody has 2 lenses and the lenses are either both
high grade, or a combination of high and marginal grade. In case (A) a1.0m interval is
modelled which is optimal for the stope and pillar geometry. In case (B) a 1.5m slice is
used and while a larger seed-shape must be modelled so that multiples of the interval
satisfy the stope and pillar geometry, two stopes are still generated. In case (C) the
lower grade lens does not meet cut-off for the larger seed-shape and only one seed-
shape is (incorrectly) found.. A slice interval of 1.5 is not an integer divisor, and hence
the seed-shapes chosen differ. If both seed-shapes remain economic then nothing is
lost because the seed-shapes will be refined in the annealing process, and both slice
intervals should return the same final stope-shapes. If the seed generation returned

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only one seed-shape (because the other was found to be sub-economic) then a seed-
slice interval of 1.5 would have been a poor choice.

Figure 2-32 Influence of Slice Interval on Stope Seed-Shape and Pillar Geometry

A 1.0 m slice interval with high grade

HW

High High
Grade Pillar Grade

FW

2m 5m 1m 6m 2m 5m 1m

B 1.5 m slice interval with high grade

HW

High Pillar High


Grade Grade

FW

3m 6.0m 1.5m 6m 3m 6m 1.5m

C 1.5 m slice interval with marginal grade

HW

High Marginal
Grade Grade

FW

3m 6.0m 1.5m
High Grade
Dilution Pillar Stope Seed-Shape
Marginal Grade

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As a second example, a 0.75m slice interval would be appropriate for:

 7.5m minimum mining width,


 9m pillar width,
 1.5m hangingwall dilution,
 0.75m footwall dilution

In the second example, if the lenses above cut-off were always greater than 11.25m (i.e.
9+1.5+0.75) apart, or the seed-shapes were further apart than 11.25m, then a choice of
1.0 would also suffice. If the dilutions were small, say 0.25m each and the seeds were
greater than 9.5m (i.e. 9+0.25+0.25) then using 0.25m as the seed-slice interval would
be the most accurate, but would add significant runtime overhead to seed generation.

If in doubt, then running a test area for a range of slice intervals would be sensible.

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2.8.1 Use of Control Surface for Lenses with Different Orientations

If the ore lenses have different orientations across the orebody, then no single default
dip and strike would be satisfactory for generating slices for seed generation. This is
illustrated in Figure 2-33. A vertical slice is a compromise orientation but for the right-
hand lens, sampling the orebody with vertical slices yields sub-economic slices because
of the waste carried, so no seed-shape is generated, and consequently no stope-shape
is generated. If a Stope Control Surface that is roughly oriented to the expected stope-
shape is added (as indicated by the red lines on the section), then the slices carry little
waste. The slices will be economic and a seed-shape will be generated for both lenses.
Note that the seed-shape includes the hangingwall and footwall dilution parameters.

Figure 2-33 Impact of Control Surface

Slice Orientation - Default Dip and Strike

Stope Stope
Seed-Shape Seed-Shape
Successful Failed

2m 5m 1m 2m 5m 1m

Slice Orientation - Wireframe Control Surface

Wireframe control

Stope Stope
Seed-Shape Seed-Shape
Successful Successful

2m 5m 1m 2m 5m 1m

Control surfaces are best as open surfaces, as a closed surface will have triangles that
close the shape but do not reflect the stope wall orientation. A closed surface might be
the geological wireframe but you have to be careful, especially if there are sharp twists
and bumps that do not reflect a good overall wall angle for stope design. SSO does do
some smoothing to try and avoid this problem but it may not be enough. If the control
surface does not extend right along the extent of the orebody then the default values for
dip and strike will be used beyond the control surface.

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Multiple surfaces are good for different orientations, and the dip angle is interpolated
between surfaces, but otherwise uses the outer surface dip for stopes beyond the outer
surface.

2.9 Shape Parameterisations


The following sub-sections describe the key parameters to control the Slice Method
stope-shape. Figure 2-34 illustrates the a number of the key geometry issues.

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Figure 2-34 Key Geometry Parameters (Sectional Orientations)

Section View - VW Axis

V-axis Wall (skin) dilution: is added to the stope-shape


as an equivalent linear-overbreak. The dilutions
are added after the optimised stope-shape is formed.
W-axis
Minimum waste pillar width: e.g. this example 5.0m.
This can alternately create 2 “parallel” stope-shapes
separated by a waste pillar, 1 larger stope-shape
Stope-shapes are simple 4-point carrying the waste between the lenses, or 1
trapezoids i.e. using straight 5m stope-shape around the higher contained-metal lens.
lines between the levels.

3m Minimum mining width: e.g. this example 3.0m.


Note that width represents horizontal trace
(i.e. not the true mining width).

90-120 deg Wall dip angles: defines the min/max angles


for each independent wall (i.e. near/far, hw/fw).
The min/max range is defined as 0 degrees
SSO stope-shape LHS horizontal, 90 degrees vertical down and
180 degrees RHS (e.g. this example 90-120
degrees) .

Plan View - UW Axis


U-axis
SSO stope-shape

W-axis
Smoothing: stope-shape
end-walls are “smoothed”
Strike angle change: the maximum when the gap is less than
relative angle between the stope-shape defined target e.g. this
top/bottom wall edges e.g. this example example <6m.
30 degrees. It typically represents
wall (hw/fw, near/far) “twist”.
Smoothing: stope-shape
>6m end-walls not “smoothed”
Top-edge of fw face.
when the gap is greater
Bottom-edge of fw face. than defined target
30 deg e.g. this example >6m.

45 deg
max

Maximum strike angle: the min/max


angle (+/- range) relative to the
stope-framework U-axis
(i.e. the strike direction) e.g. this
example +/-45 degrees.

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2.9.1 Minimum Stope Width

The minimum mining width parameter is defined as distance in the horizontal plane
on the framework section along the W-axis (and consequently measures the apparent
width). If the orebody dip is moderate or the strike deviates from the framework axis,
then it would be appropriate to make a correction to the width specified to better
approximate the intended true width. As an example, if the minimum stope width in the
true-width dip-direction was intended to be 10m and the orebody was dipping at 45o,
then setting the minimum stope width to 14.1m (horizontal distance) would approximate
the intended minimum stope width. See Figure 2-35. Note that the true width is a
function of both strike and dip orientation in three dimensions for the general case.

Figure 2-35 Minimum Mining Width


Z(V)
Minimum mining width = Apparent width

True width (10m) 45o

Apparent width (14m)

Y(W)

If the stope wall angle ranges are the same for both the hangingwall and footwall, or roof
and floor, then the minimum stope width is checked at the stope corners.

If the stope wall angle ranges are different, then the minimum stope width is checked at
the wall centre, because the optimal seed-shape is measured at the wall centre, and the
annealing shape must be measured in the same manner to ensure that a feasible
annealing shape is available at the start of annealing.

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2.9.2 Maximum Stope Width

The maximum mining width parameter is defined as distance in the horizontal plane
(in a similar manner to Figure 2-35) on the framework section along the W-axis (and
consequently measures the apparent width).

An example use for the maximum stope width is to restrict the transverse dimension for
geotechnical purposes (e.g. not to exceed the stable hydraulic radius for the crown face
or the strike-face walls).

There is also the option in post-processing to split the stope width into smaller intervals
without pillars (see Split 2.13.2). The maximum stope width should be interpreted as
maximum stope width between pillars. The post-processing approach is preferred over
the now discouraged approach of specifying a small (non-zero) pillar width, and a
maximum stope width equal to the interval sought, as was used with Version 1 by some
users.

2.9.3 Narrow Ore

Where the ore grade material is confined to a sharp boundary, surrounded by host rock
with zero grade the stope optimisation engine has no way to locate the stope walls
relative to that sharp boundary - all positions of the stope about the boundary have an
equal optimised value .

A way to resolve this issue is to (slightly) penalize the optimised stope value for those
waste cells that fall between the ore and the preferred wall position. If the ore is to be
centred in the stope then the penalty for one wall should be balanced by the penalty for
the other.

The penalty that is calculated is subtracted from the stope optimised value that
otherwise would be evaluated in the annealing phase but the penalty is not included in
the reported value for the stope. The penalty is calculated as tonnes by a supplied
penalty grade (or value).

Three parameters control the penalty:

waste threshold - a cutoff to identify "waste" for which a penalty should be calculated

waste threshold grade - a grade (or value) to be used in the penalty calculation for all
cells below the waste threshold. This parameter should be non-zero, or else the penalty
will have zero value. The penalty should not be so large that the subtraction of the
penalty renders the stope sub-economic. If the cutoff was 5.0 for example then the
waste threshold grade might be 2.0 (or even the full cutoff of 5.0 for a sharp boundary
on a high grade orebody) and the threshold grade of 0.5 (or higher if required to improve
the penalty to force the narrow ore effect).

position - the required position for the ore, with allowed values being
near|far|centre|roof|floor

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The penalty value that is calculated is weighted by a decreasing quadratic function of


the ratio of the distance of the "waste" discretized cell from the selected wall position to
the stope width. The penalty will be calculated using the waste threshold grade, and
then a weighting of one is applied if the waste if located at the selected position, and the
weighting reduces to zero if located at the opposite wall. Increasing the waste threshold
grade will increase the penalty. For 6 and 8 point outlines the narrow ore shape is first
found by annealing 4 point outlines, and then this shape is used as the seed when
annealing the 6 and 8 point outlines.

The technique has been termed "narrow ore" because this would be the primary
application, the width of the material above cutoff is typically less than the minimum
stope width. As shown in the figure below, if there is material below the cutoff, but above
the threshold, and this material falls within the economic stope then that material can be
considered part of the "narrow ore". Note that internal waste within a stope shape will
also be penalized.

Narrow ore processing requires a block model for the below waste threshold material to
be able to calculate the penalty. The penalty is calculated using approximate evaluation
techniques.

Figure 2-36 Narrow Ore Positioning Example

2.9.4 Dilution ELOS/Skin

Dilution refers to material below cut-off grade that gets blended with ore, thus reducing
the grade of excavated material. Dilution in general is impossible to avoid in stoping due
to geometries of the orebodies and it is therefore divided into planned and unplanned
dilution. The annealed stope shape includes planned dilution which is the waste material
necessary to extract the ore. Unplanned dilution is material that originates outside the
stope boundaries. To factor in unplanned dilution that originates from outside the stope
boundaries from the HW/FW or Near/Far a dilution ELOS/Skin can be specified.

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A switch is provided to evaluate if dilution will make the stope shape uneconomic, and
only consider shapes that are economic with dilution. The default mode is to optimize
the undiluted shape and then add dilution, but with this control a smaller undiluted
shape will be produced and the dilution will include more above cutoff material.

Figure 2-37 Impact of Dilution on the Final Stope Shape

2.9.5 Minimum Pillar Width

A pillar will separate seed-shapes or stope-shapes if the maximum stope width would
otherwise be exceeded, or low grade/waste can be isolated from stope shapes.

Waste cells (representing mineralisation below cut-off, or rock without mineralisation)


surrounding the ore cells are required for runs with sub-stopes, as the location of the
mined-out cells is used to force the pillar width between stopes and sub-stopes, and
between sub-stopes and sub-stopes.

If the stope wall angle ranges are the same for both the hangingwall and footwall, or roof
and floor, then the minimum pillar width is checked at each corner. If the stope wall
angle ranges are different, then the minimum pillar width is checked at the wall centre.

Note that the pillar width parameter is defined as the distance in the horizontal plane
i.e. the apparent pillar width (in a similar manner to Figure 2-35).

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2.9.6 Strike Angle

The strike angle is the angle of any one of the four stope wall edges (measured relative
to the U axis of the stope orientation plane).

Ideally the strike angles would be loosely defined (i.e. using broad tolerance range) in a
preliminary test SSO run in order to give a reasonable upper limit on the number of
stopes produced or to maximise the stope dimensions. The strike angle parameters
would then be progressively refined as required.

One example application would be where stope-shapes are formed in a criss-crossing


pattern between “parallel” lenses which have discontinuous mineralisation, and the user
wanted to force the stopes to not criss-cross between the lenses.

Another example would be the formation of stope-shapes that have rapid or chaotic
changes in wall angles, giving the appearance of being “malformed” (but are actually
not).

The above examples may be considered to be impractical stope-shapes to implement,


and hence the wall strike angle changes are “smoothed” out to better approximate a
mineable set of stope shapes.

The following sub-sections describe the strike angle parameters in more detail.

2.9.6.1 Strike Angle Range

This defines the strike angle range of either edge (i.e. top or bottom) of either wall of the
stope-shape (i.e. near/far wall or hangingwall/footwall wall) relative to the framework’s
strike axis (i.e. the U-axis). The range can be independently defined as positive and/or
negative relative to the stope shape framework strike axis.

2.9.6.2 Strike Angle Maximum Change

Controls the parallelism tolerance of the near and far edges. The edges are tested
independently at the top and bottom i.e. bottom near vs bottom far and top near vs top
far. The skew between the top and bottom of a stope shape is controlled with maximum
dip angle change.

Figure 2-38 Edges Tested With Strike Angle Maximum Change

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2.9.7 Side Length Ratio

The ratio is defined by the end-face wall lengths and the axis direction pairing being
considered, described further in the following sub-sections.

Ideally the side length ratios would be loosely defined (broad range) on a preliminary
SSO run to maximise the number of stopes produced or to maximise the stope
dimensions. The side length ratios would then be progressively refined as required.

An example use of the side length ratio is to force walls (i.e. near/far walls or
hangingwall/footwall walls) to be parallel to each other (i.e. a sectional parallelogram) so
that all production hole drilling is parallel for a narrow tabular orebody. This is achieved
by using a 1:1 ratio, but this ratio should only be used in a final run to ensure that all the
required shapes are generated in the annealing phase. Likewise, in the U-axis direction
plan view parallelograms can also be specified.

2.9.7.1 Side Length - vertical_side_length_ratio,


top_bottom_maximum

For either top-edge divided by bottom-edge or bottom-edge divided by top-edge) and


applies to either end-wall face (i.e. front or back). The upper limit for the ratio
(longer/shorter) of the top and bottom edges of the front and back strike-face of a stope-
shape as defined in Figure 2-39

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Figure 2-39 Top-Edge to Bottom-Edge Ratio (V-axis pairing)

Top Face

U
Bottom Face
W

Example 1:1 Top-Bottom edge

2.9.7.2 Side Length - vertical_side_length_ratio,


front_back_maximum

The upper limit for the ratio (longer/shorter) of the front and back edges of the top and
bottom face of a stope-shape as defined in Figure 2-40.

Figure 2-40 Front Edge to Back Edge Ratio (U-axis pairing)

V Back Face

Front Face U

Example 1.5:1 Front-Back edge

2.9.8 Waste Inclusion Control

The maximum waste fraction of stope-shapes can be defined (i.e. proportion of rock with
mineralisation values below specified cut-off included within the stope-shape).

The waste inclusion is defined as

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(volume of material inside diluted stope_shape below cut_off)


(volume of diluted stope_shape)

A default fraction value of 1.0 means any waste proportion is acceptable.

It is good practice to:


 Start with a test value of 1.0 and gradually refine this in subsequent runs to
monitor the impact.
 If you have back-fill in the “voids” located within stope-shapes, then do not
associate this material with the “report_exclusion_field”, as it should have a
density and grade, and effectively be in one of the three waste categories (as
described in Section 4.5.3 Waste Reporting).

2.9.9 Exclusion Control

The exclusion control can be used to avoid the creation of stope-shapes within say
deleterious-processing material or in poor rock-mass zones as a few examples of its
use. The material in the model is flagged with a (numeric or alphanumeric) field and a
value.

Up to two exclusion fields can be defined in a run. Each exclusion field permits a certain
maximum tolerance of inclusion within a stope-shape.

The exclusion control is defined as the maximum fractional proportion of material (by
volume) in the stope-shape that is flagged as either “exclusion1” or “exclusion2”
material.

The tolerance for each exclusion field “exclusion1” and “exclusion2” is set
independently, and allows for a maximum fractional proportion of the respective
exclusion material to be incorporated into the stope-shape. As an example, you may be
mining a secondary pillar stope and the shape of the adjacent primary backfilled stopes
may bulge into the secondary, so for practical purposes you may allow say up to 5%
(0.05 fraction) of backfill material within the secondary stope-shape.

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2.10Stope-Shape Framework Angles


The following discussion regarding angles relates only to the Slice Method frameworks..

2.10.1 Apparent Specification Method for Angle Conventions

All angle values are specified in degrees. Angles are defined relative to the selected
framework orientation (i.e. XZ|YZ|XY|YX). Table 2.6 summarises the permitted values.

For rotated stope-shape frameworks the strike and dip parameters are measured in the
local co-ordinate system

The Strike angle conventions are the same for the various Slice frameworks (i.e.
XZ|YZ|XY|YX). Strike is measured positive clockwise from the primary strike-axis (U-
axis positive direction) of the selected stope-framework orientation/plane (i.e. 0 degrees
= looking along the strike-axis in the positive co-ordinate direction, +90 degrees =
looking clockwise at right-angles from the positive strike-axis plane, -90 degrees =
looking anti-clockwise at right-angles from the positive strike-axis plane). The strike
angle range is [-90 to + 90] degrees.

The Dip angle for XZ|YZ frameworks is measured as 0 degrees from the left-hand-side
horizontal axis as you look along the primary strike-axis (U-axis) and increases
anticlockwise to +90 degrees vertically down and +180 for the right-hand-side horizontal
axis. The dip angle range is [0 to 180] degrees.

The dip angle for XY|YX frameworks is measured positive downwards from the
horizontal (and negative upwards) on both the primary axes (the first axis in XY|YX
orientation i.e. U-axis) and the secondary axes (the second axis in XY|YX orientation i.e.
V-axis) and are termed the ‘strike dip’ angle, and the ‘transverse dip’ angle respectively.
The dip angle range is [-90 (upwards) to +90 (downward)] degrees.

Table 2.6 Apparent Strike and Dip Angle Conventions


All Angles in Degrees XZ, YZ XY, YX
Strike
[-90 ..0.. +90] [-90 ..0..+90]

Dip

[0..+180] [-90..0..+90]

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Strike and dip convention examples are illustrated in Figure 2-41 to Figure 2-50 for each
framework orientation.

Figure 2-41 Strike Convention - Vertical XZ (Plan View)

Strike Angle Convention - XZ Stope Orientation Plane


Y(W)

-90

30o
+90

Orebody

-25o

X(U)
Shape Framework

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Figure 2-42 Strike Convention - Vertical YZ (Plan View)

Strike Angle Convention - YZ Stope Orientation Plane

Y(U)

-90 +90

Orebody

50o
30o

Shape Framework
X(W)

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Figure 2-43 Strike Convention - Rotated Vertical XZ

Strike Angle Convention - Rotated Framework


XZ Stope Orientation Plane
Shape Framework

-20O

Y’ (W)

12 O

Orebody
X’ (U)

-15o

Block Model Extent

Block Model Origin Framework Origin Rotation Angle

Figure 2-44 Dip Convention - Vertical XZ

Dip Angle Convention - XZ Stope Orientation Plane

180
Z(V)
90
85o
130o

X(U)

Y(W)
Transverse Direction

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Figure 2-45 Dip Convention - Vertical YZ

Dip Angle Convention - YZ Stope Orientation Plane

180

Z(V) 0

90
Y(U) 100 o
110o

X(W)
Transverse Direction

Figure 2-46 Dip Convention - Transverse Section XZ

Dip Angle Convention - Section XZ Stope Orientation Plane

180

90
Z(V)

90o

100o

Y(W)
X(U)

Transverse Direction

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Figure 2-47 Dip Convention - Transverse Section YZ

Dip Angle Convention - Section YZ Stope Orientation Plane


180

90

Z(V)

120o

90o

X(W)

Y(U)
Transverse Direction

Figure 2-48 Dip Conventions - Horizontal YX

Dip Angle Convention - YX Stope Orientation Plane

-90

+90 -90
Z(W)
0
Y(U)
-15o
+90
-25o Transverse Direction

Strike Dip Angle


X(V)
Transverse Dip Angle

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Figure 2-49 Dip Conventions - Horizontal XY

Dip Angle Convention - XY Stope Orientation Plane

-90

0
-90
Z(W)
0
+90
Transverse Direction

+90
25o -25o X(U)

Y(V)
Strike Dip Angle
Transverse Dip Angle

Figure 2-50 Dip Convention - Vertical Rotated XZ

Dip Angle Convention - Rotated Shape Framework


XZ Stope Orientation Plane

180
Z’ (V)
90

110o

Y’ (W) X’ (U)
Y -15o

X
Z
Transverse Direction

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2.10.2 True Specification Method for Angle Conventions

The True specification method is added in Version 3 to allow stope width and dip angles
to be specified in a plane perpendicular to the stope strike, and independent of the
Framework rotation, and Stope Orientation Plane.

Angles for dip and strike are specified as true dip (TRDIP), and true dip direction
(TRDIPDIR) respectively. TRDIPDIR ranges [0..360] and TRDIP normally ranges [0..90]
in geological applications. The strike direction is found by adding 90 degrees to the
bearing of TRDIPDIR.

These angles have the angle conventions that the Datamine Dynamic Anisotropy
modelling functions provide in the TRDIP and TRDIPDIR fields, with dip measured
positive downwards, and the dip direction measured as a clockwise bearing, with north
being zero degrees.

Figure 2-51 True Dip and Dip Direction Example

When specifying the stope dip angles, the dip range is extended to [0..180] because a
single true dip direction is specified for vertical plane in which the stope dip angles are
measured.

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Figure 2-52 Specifying Stope Wall Angles - True Dip

Dip Direction

105 75

Orebody

2.10.3 Stope Wall Angles (Equal or Different)

Stope walls are referred to as the near or far, and hangingwall or footwall sides for
XZ|YZ oriented stopes and roof or floor sides for XY|YX oriented stopes.

There are two wall-angle range cases as follows:

 Equal - using the same angle range for both walls (e.g. 45-90o).
 Different – using independent angle ranges for each wall. For example, this
allows setting say a minimum rill dip for the footwall side (e.g. 45-90o) and
allowing a flatter minimum dip for the hangingwall side (e.g. 30-90o) – a typical
requirement for flat-dipping orebodies.

Note that the default dip value for seed-slices cannot fall outside of the near wall and far
wall (hangingwall and footwall) range. This requirement also applies to the default strike
angle and the strike angle range.

2.10.4 Geological and Geometric Stope Wall Definitions

2.10.4.1 Geometric (previously called Local)

It is possible for the hangingwall and footwall to tip over and back again over the vertical
extent of an orebody. This behaviour is typical of “banana-shaped” lodes (viewed as a
vertical transverse section). The geometric-dip orientation defines whether it is the
hangingwall or the footwall.

The stope wall-angles, dilution intervals and structure orientation are variable using the
geometric hangingwall and geometric footwall dip orientation definitions in the geometric
case.

2.10.4.2 Geological (previously called Global)

In the Geological case, the overall hangingwall and footwall sides are fixed over the
vertical extent of the orebody. The stope wall angles, dilution interval and structure

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orientation are constant “geological hangingwall” side and constant “geological footwall”
side using Geological case definitions.

The Geological definitions are near for the lower co-ordinate and far for the higher co-
ordinate, along the W-axis relative to the stope shape framework origin in the local
coordinate system.

The geological and geometric stope-shape wall definitions for vertical frameworks are
depicted in Figure 2-53.

Figure 2-53 Geological and Geometric Wall Definitions – Vertical Frameworks

Geological vs Geometric Angle Definition


Vertical Slice

Orebody
Z(V)

Y(W)

X(U)

(0,0,0)
Geologic = NEAR / FAR (Global)
Geometric = Footwall / Hangingwall (Local)

The geological (global) and geometric (local) stope-shape wall definitions for horizontal
frameworks are depicted in Figure 2-54.

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Figure 2-54 Geological and Geometric Wall Definitions – Horizontal Frameworks

2.11 Additional Control Surfaces


Control surfaces are wireframe surfaces that are used to guide the orientation and
shape of stopes.

2.11.1 Structure Surface

The structure function is applicable to both full-stopes and sub-stopes.

The structure function results in the stope-shape either snapping-to the structure
surface (e.g. include “waste” that would “normally” fall into the stope-void due to the
presence of the structure) or standing-off from the structure surface (e.g. leaving a skin
of “ore” against the structure for dilution control i.e. ore loss). The Stope Shape
Optimiser assesses both options in generating the seed-shape, and applies the same
rules to the annealed shape. If the snapping-to shape is sub-economic, then the Stope
Shape Optimiser will still consider the “standing-off” option. This will depend upon the
relative position of mineralised material and the structure surface.

Where a stope-shape wall corner falls within a nominated minimum distance of the
structure wireframe, the stope projects the stope-shape to that structure surface. If one
or more corners are within the minimum distance, the remaining corners are tested
against the maximum distance.

The stope wall is snapped-to the structure position if it falls within the set criteria
(minimum - target, maximum - range). This can result in a dip angle that is flatter or
steeper than set in the stope geometry parameters.

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Where snapping to the structure wireframe causes angle tests to fail, these stopes
would not be output unless the “output_subeconomic_stopes” parameter is set. Stopes
that do not meet the stope geometry settings are reported as a failed stope (i.e. with
RESULT=0).

Figure 2-55 depicts the operation of the structure surface function.

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Figure 2-55 Structure Function Example

1. Before processing

Annealed Stopes
(Optimised Stopes)

Structure

2. First Pass

Adjusted Stope Shapes


after first pass

Gap between
stope shape and
structure greater
than that specified
for first pass

3. Second Pass

Final Stope Shapes


after second pass

Gap between stope


shape and structure
greater than that
specified for second
pass

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Figure 2-56 Expand vs Snap To Example

No influence Expand option Snap To option


Min near - 1m Min near - 1m
Max near - 3m Max near - 3m

2m

Near Far Near Far Near Far

V V V

W W W

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2.12Shape Refinement
In Version 3, the stope geometry is no longer restricted to 4 point outlines. Either 4, 6 or
8 point outlines are available. The number of points is specified by defining the number
of points on each wall, being either 2, 3 or 4 points. For the Version 3 release the
outlines are restricted to 2+2 (=4), 3+3 (=6) or 4+4 (=8) points. Future releases will
allow other combinations eg 2+3, 2+4 etc.

2.12.1 Vertical

The position of the additional points is defined relative to the original 4 points. The
position is defined by a vertical range, as shown in the diagram, where a range fraction
of 0.2-0.8 is depicted.

A special case where a zero range fraction interval is specified and recognized in the
annealing process is the 6 point shape where the additional points are constrained to
the mid-height by specifying the range 0.5-0.5.

The lateral position of the points can be constrained relative to a line joining the stope
corners (see dotted lines). The lateral position can be constrained to an outwards limit
(the "convex" distance), and/or to an inwards limit (the "concave" distance). In this way
each wall (near, far, hangingwall or footwall) can be constrained to be either concave
only, convex only, or any position in between a convex/concave limit. A straight wall
would logically be specified with a 2 point wall, but until this is available, the
concave/convex distance can be specified as a small non-zero value to restrict the
lateral movement. The "convex" and "concave" distances cannot both be zero.

In the seed generation phase, no lateral or vertical adjustment is made to the additional
points so the seed shape remains effectively a 4 point shape. This means that more
complex shapes can be generated in the annealing phase, but no stope will produced if
an economic 4 point seed shape cannot be found. In this release the number of stopes
for a 6 or 8 point outline run cannot exceed the number of stopes found for an equivalent
4 point outline run. Future releases will have seed shapes with matching number of
points to the selected annealed shape to allow improved and more complex seed
shapes that would honour non-linear ore boundaries between levels.

The stope (and pillar) widths are evaluated at each vertex on the stope outline using a
horizontal projection to the opposite wall.

As with 4 point outlines it is possible to test the ratio of the stope widths at the additional
vertices against the top-bottom widths, and also the ratio of front-back widths.

The dip angle tests continue to be applied on the stope corners, but also to all the
triangles on the walls of the stope shape.

All of these tests are available to constrain the stope geometry to achieve a feasible
stope shape. Additional tests can be added in future releases as further experience is
gained.

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Figure 2-57 Shape Refinement - Vertical Example

Figure 2-58 Middle Length Ratio Tests

T-B Ratio Test


For Front and Back:
M1 vs Top +
M1 vs Bottom +
M2 vs Top +
M2 vs Bottom

V F-B Ratio Test


Front M1 vs Back M1 +
Front M2 vs Back M2
W

2.12.2 Horizontal

The horizontal case can be depicted by rotating the diagram by +90 degrees with the
Near wall then being the floor and the Far wall being the roof.

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2.12.3 Choice of parameters

The three new sets of parameters included to control the allowable stope shape are:

(1) The Concave/Convex projection distance

(2) The Middle Length Ratio tests

(3) The Dip angle of the triangles

Choose combinations of parameters that are consistent both at the seed stage, and at
the annealing stage. For example the Middle Length Ratio should probably have a
value similar to the Side Length Ratio, or exceed it. If the Ratio tests are not needed to
constrain the stope shape then use a large value eg 10.0. Always do test runs with
parameters that are loose, check the log file for failed stopes, and then tighten the
parameters to that required to produce the expected final design shape

2.13Post-Processing Options
The following post-processing options are only applicable to the SLICE METHOD
(section 2), and for Version 3 are only available for 4 point outlines. The options are
NOT available for 6-8 point outlines.

2.13.1 Smooth

The stope-shapes from the SSO are optimised on a tube-by-tube basis independently,
and consequently, the abutting stope walls will typically not match exactly in position.
This may be ideal for abutting stopes that can be mined independently of each other
(e.g. primary and secondary long-hole stopes) but commonly this does not occur for
geotechnical reasons and/or for the mining method practicalities. A typical example
would be a continuous retreat long-hole benching mining method.

Smoothing is an additional step using the same annealing algorithms. This optimises the
shapes not just in a single tube, but taking into account the adjacent tubes. The “gaps”
between the corners of adjacent stope-shapes will be eliminated / minimised from one
tube to the next in order to:
 Create a smooth transition vertically (V-axis) and/or horizontally (U-axis) for
vertical framework orientations, or
 Create a smooth transition in the U and/or V axes for the roof/floor for horizontal
framework orientations.

The additional smoothing is applied subject to:


 A maximum allowable gap tolerance between corners of abutting stopes,
 The smoothed stope-shape not falling below the designated cut-off
 The stope geometry rules not being violated.

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Smoothing does not “average”. It first tries to minimise the gap while maintaining each
of the user supplied stope geometry constraints. For example, if your stope-wall dip
range was tight, then it may not necessarily “close the gap” if the dip limit was violated.
It cannot make an economic stope sub-economic. It then tries to improve the value of
the resultant stope-shapes without significantly increasing the gaps. So in some runs,
only portions of the stope wireframes may be smoothed. Any gaps between stopes that
are greater than the maximum allowable tolerance will not be changed. Gaps below the
maximum may be partially or completely reduced to zero gaps.

Sub-stope corners are adjusted at the corners adjacent to a full-stope corner, however
sub-stopes are not smoothed with other sub-stopes.

Prior to smoothing the gaps are analysed and stopes with more gaps to adjacent stopes
and sub-stopes are processed first. i.e. stopes at the centre of the orebody are likely to
be smoothed first and stopes at the extremities will be smoothed last. All tubes are
processed in sequence in the first pass. As each tube is smoothed, up to 8 other
adjacent tubes (with stopes or sub-stopes) will be adjusted. The complexity of the
annealing in this additional step can be an order of magnitude greater, and consequently
the smoothing run can often take 5-10 times longer than an unsmoothed run, and
sometimes more, particularly if there are multiple lenses or parallel orebodies.

The first pass is usually enough to give a good result. There are no parameters to
control the time spent on the first pass. Any additional passes are optional, and under
user control. The parameters to control additional runs are either by number of passes
or by time limit (in hours).

Smoothing can be controlled by either comparing the "gaps" between stope corners, or
alternatively the "ratio" of stope edges. The first method has been found to be the most
effective.

An example of the smoothing function is illustrated in Figure 2-59. This is plan view
where the original stope-shapes (grey) are smoothed (red).

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Figure 2-59 Smoothing Function Example

Original stope shape

Smoothed stope shape

2.13.2 Split

This function subdivides stope-shapes according to user defined rules. It is generally


applicable for stope-shapes that are wider than their maximum stable wall span(s) or for
sub-setting very-wide ore bodies. It may also have some conceptual design application
for drift and fill and mechanised cut and fill type mining methods by setting split widths to
development width and using a minimum and maximum tolerance on the split width. It
may also be applicable for establishing shapes that correspond with blast ring
increments such as for the transverse SLC mining method.

Various rules are provided for splitting stope-shapes:


 Split in transverse direction (W-axis)
 Split in longitudinal direction (U-axis and/or V-axis). Note that longitudinal
splitting is equivalent to applying U-axis (and/or V-axis) sub-stopes from a “full”
stope.
 Split on a regular stope-framework grid (with optional annealing) to create a
checkerboard pattern (for abutting open stoping layouts).
 Offset the split wall positions between adjoining stopes (i.e. adjacent in the U-
axis sense) by using an offset from the stope-framework grid for a staggered
checkerboard pattern.
 Split from a centred stope. It places the first stope central to the transverse width
i.e. not on either side of the centre. The "centre" is defined as being at the mid-
stope height).
 Split equally.
 Split from the near wall with the final split adjusted to tolerance settings.
 Split from far wall with the final split adjusted to tolerance settings.

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 Split from hangingwall with the final split adjusted to tolerance settings.
 Split from footwall with the final split adjusted to tolerance settings.
 Vertical or angled internal split walls. The internal walls are either split vertically
or proportionally parallel to the near/far or hangingwall/footwall walls.
 Vertical or angled end walls (at the W-axis extremities).

Some notes on the parameters used follow:


 The dimensions of split stopes is determined by an "interval", a "minimum" and a
"maximum" length. In most cases the un-split stope length will not be an exact
multiple of the "interval", and so the "minimum" and "maximum" values will need
to be selected to take into account all possible split sizes. Two cases will need
to be considered depending on whether the "interval" value is also the
"maximum" value, or the "maximum" can exceed the "interval". As a guideline
the “minimum” should be less than half the “maximum”.
 The “transverse_offset” only functions for grid splitting.
 In the detailed output report, the average width field “SAVGWID” is calculated as
an apparent width using the stope volume divided by the UV face projection
area (i.e. the projection area of the quadrilateral/rectangle tube representing the
hangingwall/footwall faces). If the face walls dip, there will be a slight difference
from the geometric or true width.
 Splitting is applicable to sub-stopes.
 The increments, minimum and maximum distances are referenced from the
stope centroid position (i.e. not from the floor, roof/back/crown, or either
sidewall).
 To identify each split stope in the stope naming function you can concatenate
the output file fields QUAD, PASSNUM and STOPENUM to create
QUAD_PASSNUM_STOPENUM (i.e. individual split stopes in a primary pillar-
line or secondary pillar-line). The QUAD will be the same for both primary and
secondary as it is a subdivision of a “full” stope, the PASSNUM identifies which
sub-stope it is, either primary=2 or secondary=3 for example, and the
STOPENUM provides the split order (i.e. transverse counter) from lower co-
ordinate to higher co-ordinate (in this case footwall/near side to hangingwall/far
side).

Examples of various split cases are depicted in Figure 2-60 and Figure 2-61. Figure 2-
60 shows plan view examples for an orthogonal framework with regular section spacing.
Figure 2-61 shows “split_equal” result in plan and section view for a rotated framework
with irregular section spacing.

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Figure 2-60 Split from HW, Split from Centre and Split Equal

Splits from HW side Splits from Centre Splits Equal

HW Side

Figure 2-61 Split Equal Applied to Rotated Framework with Irregular Section
Spacing using Sub-Stope Function

Plan View Section View AA’

A’ Split Equal

Split Equal

Primary Pilar Line


A

Secondary Pillar Line Waste Pillar


Waste Pillar

Rotated Framework &


Irregular Section Spacing

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2.13.3 Merge

The “merge” function is only applicable for full-stope runs created with SSO Version 2 or
later.

Merge may be used for the following reasons:


 To define a maximum that is determined by geotechnical stability (e.g. not to
exceed a hydraulic radius criteria).
 To define a minimum that is determined by economics or mining practicalities
(e.g. combining stope-shapes that required small intervals due to variability of
the orebody)
 To define a regularised extraction sequence for stope-shapes (e.g. vertical
stacking of primary and secondary stopes)

Details of the two available merge options follow. Note that after applying a merge
option, the QUAD number remains the same as prior to the merge. The stope name and
stope number are changed to reflect the agglomerated stopes.

2.13.3.1 Merge on Grid

A grid interval, being a multiple of the full stope dimension in the U-axis or V-axis
direction, is selected where the framework U or V origin provides the reference “U” or
"V" value.

With the “grid” interval option, the interval is the grid spacing with stopes grouped to be
aligned on a grid. This is useful if merged (grouped) stopes must be aligned from level-
to-level or section-to-section. The “grid” option requires stopes to be bounded by grid
lines (unless the remaining pieces can be attached within the stope strike-length
min/max range for U or stope height min/max range for V).

The maximum length for the grid option must be less than twice the grid interval.

2.13.3.2 Merge on Interval

For the “interval” option, the interval is not constrained to be on a grid. i.e. shapes will
be grouped level by level but not conforming to a grid spacing, just to achieve the target
interval. The “interval” option aims to group the stopes at the interval size (regardless of
the grid position), but otherwise still work within the min/max stope strike-length limits.

With regards to minimum and maximum merge lengths, a whole integer multiple makes
good sense as no other outputs can be generated. For example if you have 5m stopes
and you want to group into 15m stopes, your only options are 5m, 10m, 15m for
minimum, and 15m, 20m, 25m for maximum. If you want the most stopes output you
would have minimum of 5 and maximum of 25 to pick up all the pieces that do not form
full 15m aggregations.

Figure 2-62Figure 2-62 depicts 10m strike-length full stopes, with examples of the grid
and interval merge approaches.

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Figure 2-62 Merge Examples - Grid vs Interval

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2.14 Advanced Optimisation Controls


Advanced options are provided to handle some special cases.

2.14.1 Do Not Force Full-stope Sub-Stope Pillars

Use this in situations where you would want to mine sub-stopes that are adjacent to full
stopes in the W-axis (where the normal practice is to require a pillar). An example of this
function is depicted in Figure 2-63.

Figure 2-63 “Do Not Force a Pillar between the Full-stope and Sub-stope” Example

Forcing to NOT include a


transverse pillar between
a full-stope and sub-stope

2.14.2 Do Not Force Stope Split Sub-Stope Pillars

In the Split post-process operation, there are no pillars between split stopes, but at the
end of a split sequence the pillar is still required. This switch removes the latter
requirement, much like the previous switch.

2.14.3 Stope Sequence Subset Optimisation

The complexity and hence the runtime for annealing can increase dramatically when
many lenses are optimised concurrently in the transverse direction. This option allows
the annealing to be decomposed into a number of smaller annealing steps if a
separation distance can be specified. Seed-shapes that are further apart than this
separation distance are annealed independently from others groups of seeds. It is
important to note that the pillar width separation test is only enforced within each subset
of seed-shapes, so the separation distance should exceed the minimum pillar width.

2.14.4 Disable Structure Test on Seed

If expanding the seed-shape to the structure surface makes the seed-shape sub-
economic, you don't otherwise know where a potential stope might have been (unless
you do a full run without structure post-processing), so this restricts the expand-to-
structure test to only the anneal phase.

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2.14.5 Force Different Dip Case Corner Width Tests

The different near/far or hangingwall/footwall seed generation and annealing functions


work on width tests at the stope centre, but this means the tests might fail at the corners.
This switch forces the tests to also be applied at the corners but the results are only
reliable when a single stope is generated for each quad.

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2.15 Good Practice - Tips and Procedures


Every orebody is different, and optimising stope-shapes to those orebodies to produce
realistic shapes is a complex geometric optimisation problem.

The Stope Shape Optimiser provides a tool to produce optimal stope-shapes, with
careful selection of parameters, in a rapid and repeatable fashion. The procedure is not
fully automatic and sensible selection of parameters and controls will assist to improve
the quality of results for complex situations.

A quick summary is provided here and then more detailed guidelines and examples are
provided on specific topics:

(1) Block Model

Check the model to ensure that missing or absent data is identified and appropriate
defaults are set. A default of zero for a value field is probably not appropriate because
the missing blocks or values are probably intended to be treated as waste (e.g. have
negative values due to processing cost). Flag areas in the model where stopes should
not be optimised e.g. near the surface, close to infrastructure or in poor geotechnical
ground. Use model fields like oretype or resource category to allow later classification
of stopes.

Processing a model with waste cells adds a significant overhead, but this is necessary if
creating full-stopes and sub-stopes. Remove barren waste cells from the input model if
only full-stopes are required.

(2) Framework

For a first run use a restricted framework size on a small test area to verify parameter
selections are appropriate, and that the results generated are those expected.
Alternatively use the full framework but select an (x,y,z) coordinate as a validation test
cell so that only one quad is optimised, or perhaps select several (x,y,z) coordinates to
test several areas. Using a cut down model will also speed up this initial testing.

Always do a visual check when using rotated frameworks. In particular verify that the
framework extent and orientation are the expected ones and that the framework extends
beyond all the mineralisation.

(3) Manual Designs

Compare results with manual designs, or have other methods for checking the outputs,
especially when there is a lack of familiarity with the data. It is too easy to do
optimisation work on computers. The modern day challenge is to have techniques to
"prove" that the optimised result is correct.

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(4) Refining and Repeating Optimisation Runs

There are many new features for adding controls and fine-tuning the stope optimisation
process. The first run should have the simplest setup. These should then be followed
with more detailed optimisation runs, where functions are added incrementally to
understand the implications of each change (e.g. maximum waste inclusion).

For example prior to doing a design with gradients on the levels, do a run with fixed
sublevels.

Don't do post-processing (smooth, split and merge) on the first run. Smoothing typically
improves the look of the result, but doesn’t significantly affect the overall tonnages that
are optimised.

(5) Stope Control Surface and Slice Interval

The Stope Shape Optimiser will only produce stope-shapes if seed-shapes are created.
Seed-shapes define the number and approximate location of stope-shapes. A Stope
Control Surface is used to locally define the strike and dip orientation of the stope-
shapes for the mineralised economic component of the orebody.

Seed-shapes are formed by aggregating seed-slices to model the stope width, pillar
width and dilution. The choice of slice interval will affect the accuracy of the seed-
shape optimisation.

While a geological wireframe can be a good proxy for the Stope Control Surface, in
some cases these wireframes can be large, or have local inflections that can confuse
the Stope Shape Optimiser when generating slices. The geological wireframe may be
well understood by the geologist but should not automatically be adopted by the mining
engineer. It is better to digitise a set of strings section by section to define the local dip,
and create one or more wireframe surfaces. Make sure that these surface(s) extend
past the mineralised zone. One technique for reducing the number of triangles is to use
a “decimate” wireframe function in the Vendor environment.

A Stope Control Surface should be considered mandatory for all but the simplest
orebodies.

The Stope Control Surface need only have a few thousand triangles, and certainly not
20-100,000 triangles.

A stope slice interval where the minimum stope width is 3-5 times the slice interval is
usually a good guide.

The dip and strike orientation taken from the Stope Control Surface, or the Default Dip
and Default Strike parameters, must fall within the minimum and maximum dip and
strike ranges set for the stope geometry.

(6) Model Discretisation Plane and Discretisation

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In almost all cases the model discretisation plane and the stope orientation plane for the
framework will be identical, but this is not the case if the rotations for model and stope-
shape framework are different. Beware the case where one is rotated by 90 degrees
relative to the other so that the axes look to be parallel but the XZ plane of one is the YZ
plane of the other.

A good rule for model discretisation number (in U and V) is that the number is twice the
number of sub-stope intervals. The goal is to ensure that there are a minimum of two
discretised cell centres in U and V for each stope or sub-stope shape. The default of
4x4 is suitable for regular sub-stope splits of 2x2. If the model discretisation number is
too small, a more suitable choice will be automatically assigned and noted in the log file.

(7) Stope Geometry

In the first pass, nominate broad tolerance ranges for dip and strike of stope walls,
and the geometric ratios of end wall or roof/floor dimensions. If the final strike limits are
+/-10 degrees, then still consider a first run with a wider tolerance, even +/-45 deg. This
will typically generate the maximum tonnage and then these values can be tightened up
if this is appropriate for the stoping method. Beware of setting tight dip and strike
ranges if there is a lot of local variability in the orebody dip and strike.

In the second and subsequent runs tighten the tolerance ranges and parameters.
The tighter the stope geometry constraints, the more complex and slower will be the
optimisation. If the side length ratios are set to one to generate parallel sides this can
be a very severe constraint for the optimisation. Do several runs with diminishing side
length ratios to check if stopes are lost, and establish the threshold where stope-shapes
begin to disappear.

(8) Different Evaluation Techniques

Because the Stope Shape Optimiser works off the Block Model, the sub-cell modelling
and its approximation to wireframe surfaces will be a key determinant in the quality of
the output stope-shapes and also the accuracy of the resultant tonnes and grade.
Different mining software packages have different capabilities and approximations in
sub-cell modelling. A full cell model with percentages for the mineralised fraction cannot
be used with the Stope Shape Optimiser - overlay a sub-cell model to model these
fractions and derive the spatial position.

Engineers often align stope sections to the axis of the orebody, but geologists do not
have the same expectation. This will mean that the stope-shape framework will often be
rotated to the block model. For a first pass an un-rotated stope-shape framework should
yield a similar result to a rotated one, with small discrepancies at the end of ore zones.

The Stope Shape Optimiser has three evaluation modes (“Fast”, “Precise” and “Fast
with Precise reporting”). The “Fast” and “Precise” methods will generally yield different
results. The “Fast” method is typically quicker, and it is often more accurate because it
tends to adapt well to the sub-cell approximations in the block model. While the
tonnages will be very similar, the metal content can vary between the two methods by 5-
10%. Significant differences between "Fast" and "Precise" methods will be

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reported in the runtime log file for grade, tonnes and metal. The differences are
more exaggerated in narrow orebodies.

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(9) Stopes Not Generated Where Expected

First check the log file (after running with the verbose output option) to look for
reasons as to why the stope failed or was rejected. Missing stopes might be more likely
for narrower orebodies.

Some simple checks to consider:

 Does the Stope-shape Framework extend to the location of mineralization? Do a


visual check for rotated models and/or rotated frameworks in particular.
 Review the wireframe verification file to examine the slices, slice orientation, and
the seed-shape (noting that only slices above cut-off are output). Perhaps the
slice orientation is not correct for the orebody and more detail is required in the
Stope Control Surface. Perhaps the slice interval is too coarse. The message
output to the log file for failed stopes is also output as an attribute in the
verification wireframe file for those stopes - the “output_subeconomic_stopes”
option must be selected and a colour needs to be defined for failed stopes.
 Narrow orebodies with inferior sub-celling will prove difficult to optimise because
too much waste will be carried in the stope-shape. The problem is the geological
model, not the Stope Shape Optimiser.
 If using irregular cases of the rotated stope shape framework, particularly where
individual sections or level coordinates are nominated, check to ensure the
values are in local coordinates (rather than world coordinates)
 In rare cases a seed-shape is produced that fails to meet the head-grade in the
annealing process
 If all else fails, pass a test model on to Technical Support with the Vendor, who
will liaise with AMS to resolve the problem.

2.15.1 Discretisation

The default method of stope-shape evaluation is Fast (cell-centreline) evaluation. This


method is fast and accurate. Two parameters are required:

(1) The model discretisation plane

(2) The model discretisation interval (along U and V axes)

A key consideration regarding discretisation is the cell filling plane. If the cell filling plane
is not generally aligned with the orebody strike then there is potential for anomalous
results to occur. This is particularly true if the cell dimensions are disproportionately
larger in the fill plane (i.e. at right angles to fill plane) when compared to the orebody
width direction.

A case example where tall cell columns represent the orebody geology is illustrated in
Figure 2-64. If the default discretisation parameters are used (4x4) then depending on
the evaluation method applied, Fast Evaluation or Precise Evaluation, the outcomes can
be significantly different. The issue for Fast Evaluation, in this case example, is the
influence each cell column has as the cell’s centroid falls within or outside of the stope-

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shape during annealing. The best result would be obtained if subcells are orientated
horizontally, not vertically, for this case.

Figure 2-64 Discretisation Plane vs Cell Fill Plane Issue

Exact Evaluation - no pillar


(wireframe-cell)

Fast Evaluation - pillar formed


(ray-trace)

The possible solutions are:


 Increase the level of discretisation to reduce the disproportionate dimensions,
 Change the orientation of the discretisation plane. The discretisation orientation
plane is defined for rotated frameworks. The user can enable this option for un-
rotated stope-framework cases by enabling rotation parameters, but with zero
rotations.
 Use a model that is filled perpendicular to the orebody strike plane.

2.15.2 Stope Control Surface

The easiest, most intuitive and most accurate method of specifying the strike and dip
angles for the initial stope-seed-shapes is to provide a Stope Control Surface wireframe
over the full extent of the orebody where stope-shapes are to be generated. The Stope
Control Surface has priority over the default dip and strike (Vertical XZ|YZ, Section
XZ|YZ) and default strike-dip and transverse-dip (Horizontal XY|YX) angles. Note that
vendor software can generally display the true-dip and strike of the Stope Control
Surface if required to better understand the dip and strike orientations of the Stope
Control Surface.

Stope Control Surfaces can typically use the geology surfaces depending on complexity.
If the surface is overly complex with reversal of dip and/or strike orientations over short

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distances the localised surface orientation may be at odds with the practical stope
orientation and hence seed orientation. It is generally good practice to decimate the
surface to simplify it. An excellent alternative is to generate the wireframe from widely
spaced sectional strings that are oriented to the expected stope orientation.

Multiple control surfaces are possible as the slice-seed is interpolated between the two
surfaces. For example, if one surface is at 60 degrees and the other is at 50 degrees - a
slice-seed surface midway between the 2 surfaces would assume 55 degrees and as it
got closer to the 60 degree surface it would approach 60 degrees and vice versa for the
50 degree surface. Outside of the 50 degree surface the seed-slice orientation would be
50 degrees and likewise for the 60 degree surface.

Crossover of control surfaces will have the same function as for separate sub-parallel
control surfaces. However, always remember to check the end result.

2.15.3 Stope String Types

The following stope string types are produced:

 “Plan” (i.e. floor outline at base of stope)


 “Cross-section” (i.e. the stope end walls at the primary axis extremities) with
optional intermediate stope cross-sections.
 “Section” (i.e. the stope near and far / hangingwall and footwall wall outlines).

Each string type can be uniquely coloured. Note that strings are not produced for the
verification files.

2.15.4 Wireframe Types

2.15.4.1 Stopes

The Stope Shape Optimiser creates wireframe shapes from two 4-point cross section
strings. Because the wall faces are not planar, an additional point is introduced on the
walls at the centre of the wall using bilinear interpolation (effectively an average of the 4
wall corner points). If one intermediate cross-section is output for each stope-shape,
then this wireframing procedure can be replicated with vendor wireframing software.

Without this additional string (from Version 2) there can be a significant source of
reporting difference between SSO reports and reports from general mine planning
packages that only use the stope end walls for forming the stope wireframe.

It is possible to output and uniquely colour annealed shapes that failed to make it as a
stope (failed stope) due to not meeting cut-off or other geometric / exclusion criteria (e.g.
the stope head-grade fell below the cut-off after dilution skins were added). It is
sometimes very useful to identify the location (e.g. bridging low grade zones) and the
extent of “failed stopes” (e.g. failing due to excessive dilution) regarding setting of the
SSO parameters.

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These annealed shapes (i.e. stope seeds) will have the field record with “RESULT=0” in
the case log-file and the report results file. They are generally yellow in colour
(COLOUR=4) by default.

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2.15.4.2 Verification

The verification wireframe output is optional. It can output one or more of the following
types:

 Seed-Slice (i.e. the slice intervals based on the default strike and dip or Stope
Control Surface),
 Seed-Shape (i.e. the aggregated slices),
 Failed Seed-Shape (i.e. aggregated slices that failed to meet stope criteria),
 Undiluted_stope (i.e. the annealed stope-shape prior to skin dilutions),
 Far dilution (i.e. the far side skin dilution shape for the Global definition case),
 Near dilution (i.e. the near side skin dilution shape for the Global definition case),
 Hangingwall dilution (i.e. the hangingwall side skin dilution shape for the Local
definition case),
 Footwall dilution (i.e. the footwall side skin dilution shape for the Local definition
case).

By filtering, individual features can be extracted for further analysis; a good example of
this is evaluating the annealed stope-shape prior to the dilution skins. Each verification
wireframe type can be uniquely coloured.

2.15.5 Gradient Control Strings

The level gradient strings for sectional orientations are digitised in long section (i.e.
along the framework primary strike U-axis). They should be non-overlapping. They
should also intersect every pair of stope sections to locate a stope floor and roof.

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3 PRISM METHOD
3.1 General Stope-Shape Framework
The Prism method is a different style of stope optimisation to the Slice method. In the
Slice method the stope-shape framework is decomposed into individual geometric tubes
based on the level and section dimension for the Vertical case, and the stope-shape (or
sub-shape) is an optimisation over the width of the orebody, with a two stage process to

 Firstly define the seed-shape, and


 Secondly to anneal the final stope-shape.

The Prism method also requires a stope-shape framework, but uses the decomposition
of the framework extents to define sub-problems. The framework extent is subdivided in
regular intervals, much like regular quadrilaterals, except that the subdivision is three
dimensional rather than two dimensional, and each subdivided volume is referred to as
a region, whereas the Slice method subdivision is two dimensional to form a tube.
Figure 3-1 summarises the stope framework hierarchical structure for the Prism method.

Stope-shapes are defined as a fixed set of shapes defined by the footprint and height,
and the optimisation problem is defined as identifying a combination of non-overlapping
stope-shapes from the set provided to maximise value or grade within each independent
region.

Although the geometric formulation of the problem is different, the same evaluation
options are available for cut-off, optimisation and reporting fields, inclusion/exclusion,
filters etc. as applies to the Slice method.

The solution to the optimisation problem requires a mixed integer solver, and three are
available:

 LP_SOLVE for small problems, and


 CPLEX and Gurobi, commercial solvers that are appropriate for larger and
faster solutions.

Licences must be separately purchased from the mining software suppliers for
commercial solvers. It is important to remember that the Prism Method can create very
large and difficult optimisation problems. The solution strategy should be to solve a
coarse problem with minimal stope-shapes and decomposition of the framework,
followed by progressive refinement of the framework, stope set and parameters used.

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Figure 3-1 Prism Method Stope-Shape Framework Hierarchical Structure

XZ orientation
Vertical YZ orientation

(P-SR) Single Region


Float shapes in X, Y, Z axes

V
U
W

(P-MRD) Multiple Regions Unconstrained


Float shapes in X, Y, Z axes

V
U
W

Footprint Defined
Fix X, Fix Y, Float Z

V
U
W

Level Defined
Fix Z, Float X, Float Y

V
U
W

Section Defined
Fix X, Float Y, Float Z Fix Y, Float X, Float Z

V V
U U
W W

(P-MRS) Stope Region


Region = Stope Size
Fix X, Fix Y, Fix Z

V
U
W

3 Degrees of Freedom Frameworks


Optimising U and/or V and/or W Axis

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3.2 Prism Method Framework


Prism frameworks are not orientation specific but the X|Y|Z intervals must be regular. A
grid increment is also defined for each axis, within regions (i.e. sub-set volumes of the
total Prism framework). Shapes from the stope-volume library will normally have
dimensions that are an integer multiple of the grid increment and can result in stopes
located at any grid increment.

The full framework definition may contain several regions that may be independent or
contiguous abutments. This could be likened to a mine-site with mine sub-districts /
areas / zones. The framework region(s) however must be rectangular in shape. Regions
are user defined to make stoping geometric sense e.g. to span a group of levels or to
span a group of sections or to span a group of levels and sections. The library of stope-
volumes is applied to each region in turn with each region optimised independently. One
use of regions is to force stope-volumes to honour say a regular level spacing or a
regular section width (i.e. regular primary and secondary stopes).

The framework region(s) are further defined by regular grid increments in the X|Y|Z
axes. This allows stopes-volumes to position with the bottom left hand corner at any grid
increment, providing the stope-volume completely fits into the region. This gridding
provides a stope framework for “floating” stope-shape volumes within each framework
region.

Stopes from the library would typically have dimensions that are an integer multiple of
the grid increment, otherwise gaps would occur between adjacent stopes. The size of
the grid increments might in some cases be the minimum stope dimension.

As an example, using a region dimension of [100, 100, 250] (X|Y|Z), stope library
dimensions defined by [30, 40, 10] for X and Y axes (minimum, maximum and step size)
and [50,250,50] for the Z axis (minimum, maximum and step size) and a region grid
increment of [20, 20, 50] (X|Y|Z) the following stope combinations are possible.

The possible X or Y axis combinations are: 1x40 (starting at either 0, 20, 40 or 60 grid
interval in the region), 2x40 (starting at either 0/40, 0/60, 20/60 grid interval in the
region), 1x30 (starting at either 0, 20, 40, 60 grid interval in the region), 2x30 (starting at
either 0/40, 20/60 grid interval in the region), 3x30 (not possible due to 20 grid
increment), 2x30 plus 1x40 (not possible due to 20 increment) in either X or Y axis.

The possible Z axis combinations are: 1x250 (starting at 0 grid interval in the region),
1x200 (starting at either 0, 50 grid interval in the region), 1x150 (starting at either 0, 50,
100 grid interval in the region), 1x100 (starting at either 0, 50, 100, 150 grid interval in
the region), 2x100 (starting at 0/150 grid interval in the region), 1x50 (starting at either 0,
50, 100, 150, 200 grid interval in the region), 2x50 (starting at either 0/100, 0/150, 0/200,
50/150, 50/200, 100/200 grid interval in the region) and 3x50 (starting at 0, 100 and 200
grid intervals). Note that for the 2x100 case the 0/100 and 50/150 grid intervals starts
are made redundant by the 1x200 case with 0 or 50 grid interval starts. This is because
the set of largest stope-volumes is solved for.

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Figure 3-2 illustrates the key aspects of the Prism Method for each of the different
cases:

 total X|Y|Z framework extent,


 region extents defined by the interval (level, section, level and section) ,
 grid increments,
 stope locations (in a solution)

The stope locations are displayed in plan and section.

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Figure 3-2 Prism – Total Framework, Region Increment and Grid Increment
Examples

U V
Plan View Section View
Single Region
Float shapes in X, Y, Z axes

V
U
W

W W

U V
Plan View Section View
Multiple Regions
Float shapes in X, Y, Z axes

V
U
W

W W

U V
Plan View Section View
Level Regions
Fix Z, Float X, Float Y

V
U
W

W W

U V
Plan View Section View
Section Regions
Fix X, Float Y, Float Z

V
U
W

W W

U V
Plan View Section View
Column Regions
Fix X, Fix Y, Float Z

V
U
W

W W

U V
Plan View Section View
Row-Level-Column Regions
Fix X, Fix Y, Fix Z

V
U
W

W W

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3.3 Stope-shapes
The stope-shapes can be either:

 Rectangular (with square being a sub-set of rectangular), or


 Truncated Rectangular, shaped like an inverted milk-carton to represent a
trough-undercut for mucking extraction.

Specification of default strike angle and dip angle are not needed in the Prism Method,
however, a framework orientation (i.e. XZ|YZ) is required to define the orientation of the
trough undercut.

Annealing of stope-volumes is not available in the current implementation of SSO


Version 3.

The stope-shape sizes in the stope-shape library can be specified quickly by using the
minimum and maximum size and step increments for each axis, or the library can be
explicitly defined giving specific axis dimensions for each stope-shape as depicted in
Figure 3-3. The optimised shape combination can match the shape and position of
stopes from the stope-shape library to the ore outline to maximise ore extraction, and
total value.

Figure 3-3 Shape Library or Defined Discrete Shapes

Stope sizeby range specification


Increment
Increment
Optimised shape combination - shapes
from the library to mine to cutoff boundary

Maximum size

Minimum size

Stope size - by discrete shapes,


a subset of the range specification

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3.4 Trough Undercut


The SSO accounts for the waste dilution and/or ore loss regarding the shape of the
trough-undercut during the optimisation process. The undercut provides an optimised
rectangular stope-shape with the two bottom edges “bevelled” off parallel to the
orientation axis to form the trough-undercut side walls.

The trough-undercut shape is defined by:

 Trough-undercut width at base


 Minimum trough-undercut wall angle from the base of the trough
 Position of the trough-undercut being either, left, centre or right (only centre is
currently available in Version 3)

The two shape configurations are depicted in Figure 3-4, and illustrate the parameters
for the shaped prism trough-undercut stope-volume.

Figure 3-4 Prism Shapes with and without Trough Undercut

No Trough Trough in
Ore

Wall
angle

Undercut width

3.5 Shape Refinement - Crown Shape Annealing


The techniques employed for shape refinement in the Slice Method can also be applied
in the Prism method. A Prism shape can be understood as wireframe generated from
two 8 point outlines, with two points introduced for the trough, and two equally spaced
located on the stope roof, and this shape can be used as a seed shape for further
annealing.

A variation on the shape refinement method allows the 4 points on the roof to be
annealed with the points constrained to a vertical path, and the intermediate points
between the stope corners constrained by a convex/concave distance.

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Figure 3-5 Prism Crown Anneal Example

In the current implementation it is assumed that the seed shape must be economic, and
that the crown shape annealing can then improve the stope shape.

Runtimes will be significantly greater because each feasible shape must be subject to
the crown shape annealing, and then the best non-overlapping solution (based on the
seed shape limits) optimized.

To use approximate evaluation for the Crown anneal, the Stope Orientation Plane
should be either XY or YX for discretization in the horizontal plane.

3.6 Waste Pillar Separation


If two stopes do not abut then the optimisation solution must provide a minimum waste
pillar between stope-shapes. Waste pillar separation between stope-volumes can be
specified using a minimum value for the X, Y and Z axes in the current implementation,
by setting the appropriate U, V and W parameters. The waste pillar separation would
typically only be applied along the X and Y axes..

3.7 Advanced Parameters


3.7.1 MIP Solvers

A MIP solver is a mathematical optimisation program to solve integer or mixed integer


optimisation. Two applications use the solver:
(1) PRISM method, which typically generates large MIP problems requiring a
commercial grade solver,
(2) Sub-stope optimisation, for which only small MIP problems are generated.

Three MIP solvers are supported:

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(1) LP_SOLVE, a free solver, suitable for small problems


(2) CPLEX 12.6, a commercial grade solver
(3) GUROBI 5.6, a commercial grade solver from the original developers of CPLEX.

Note that GLPK is no longer supported in the commercial version due to licensing
restrictions.

The CPLEX MIP solver provides faster processing and handles larger run-matrices.
CPLEX outperforms Gurobi for Prism optimisations in the current release.

3.7.2 Rectangular and Shaped Stopes

The Prism strings produced are as depicted in Figure 3-6 and include:
 the trough profile face strings (when the undercut trough option is enabled),
 the section strings,
 the intermediate section string(s) (when this option is enabled),
 the floor string.

Figure 3-6 Strings for Undercut Trough Shaped Stopes

Grey face Orange section


strings strings

Red floor string

3.7.3 Stope Sublevel Constraints

By default the position of stopes is only constrained by the framework extents, the
region boundaries (defined by the axis intervals) and the grid increment. The location of
sublevels is not automatically constrained, and this solution provides the first estimate of
the optimal set of stope dimensions to maximise value or metal. A visual inspection of
the solution might assist to identify optimal level locations.

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The combination of stope-shapes that can be considered within each region can be
further constrained by forcing the sublevel locations to be applied in the solution. Using
these “common sublevel” options is described in the following sub-sections. Note that
solving with these additional options can result in an exponential increase in the problem
size, and long run times, even with a commercial solver. Note that the computer
operating system swap-space, paging file size or virtual memory may need to be
increased (to the available physical memory size) to prevent memory issues. Configure
the system with a large amount of physical memory (RAM) if possible, as this can
significantly improve runtime performance of the MIP solver.

Figure 3-7 illustrates the various common sublevel constraint options.

3.7.3.1 Stope Sublevel – “common_base_sublevel”

This function anchors the stope floor levels to each region’s minimum Z value.

3.7.3.2 Stope Sublevel – “common_mine_sublevel”

This function requires that all stopes honour the set of levels found in the optimisation
run (i.e. selects the best of feasible solutions). For example, a stope optimisation
solution where one stope is located at say 10m above a common-level (of say 40m)
shared by other stopes would not be feasible or allowed.

3.7.3.3 Stope Sublevel – “common_local_sublevel”

This function allows levels to vary within a region, but vertically over-lapping stopes
within a minimum horizontal separation distance must have the same floor level (i.e.
adjacent stopes that overlap in the vertical sense cannot have an offset in the floor,
although they can optionally be displaced from a regular grid in the X,Y space). The
effect is to cluster stopes into groups with each group having a shared set of sublevels.

3.7.3.4 Stope Sublevel – “variable_stope_height”

This is a function modifier for the “common_mine_sublevel” and


“common_base_sublevel” options. Enabling this sub-option allows variable height
stopes to be created between sublevels (e.g. it allows the creation of say “half-height”,
“three quarter height” if these stope-shape options are specified in the shape library).
The results from this option are illustrated on the right hand side in Figure 3-7.

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Figure 3-7 Prism – Sublevel Constraints for Stope-Shapes

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3.7.4 Validation Test Cell

For small test runs, an individual region can be selected by defining the index to the
Region (like the QUAD number for Slice except that this index is a three dimensional
index). Alternatively a smaller test problem can be run by specifying one or more three
dimensional (x,y,z) coordinates which will be used to select the Region number that
encloses the point(s), and only the subset of feasible stope-shapes that enclose this
coordinate will be selected for the optimisation. While the latter is not automatically part
of a feasible solution to the full problem, the solution can be inspected and it is still a
useful verification that the Prism process has been formulated as expected.

Only stope-shapes that overlap with one or more of the coordinates will be processed
for the optimisation. Note however, that some options will require the full set of stope-
volume shapes to provide a meaningful optimisation, e.g. if applying the
“common_mine_sublevel” or “common_local_sublevel” options then the results are
meaningless without the full complement of possible stope-shapes.

3.7.5 Prism Optimisation Exceptions

All optimisation options as detailed in Section 3.8 are available in the Prism Method with
the following exceptions:

 Precise evaluation is automatically used. Fast evaluation is not used because


annealing is not yet supported
 Model discretisation is not enabled. The orebodies will typically be massive or
wide, stopes large, and so there is not the model sampling/cell accuracy issue
as experienced with stope-shapes needing to honour geological wireframes in
annealing for slice methods.
 The Mined-out model can be output, but without discretisation it can be a little
coarse, and may not sufficiently capture the detail of the stope-shape geometry.
Only mined out cells can be output.
 No output of sub-economic stopes, as the optimisation only generates economic
stopes.
 The Position Counter in Stope Naming leverages the section, level and
transverse position from the stope shape framework definition, and
consequently will have limited applicability to Prism "Region" frameworks.

3.8 Good Practice - Tips and Procedures


Version 2 was the first release of the Prism method, and hence it has been applied to a
limited number of case studies.

The most common difficulty will be that the run times are too long, or the run does not
finish. The complexity of the optimisation problem is directly related to the number of
feasible stope-shapes that need to be considered, and how tightly they are grouped.
There can be a very large number of high value feasible solutions but finding the best
can involve a deep search of the solution space. The best may however be only a very
small improvement on many other solutions.

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Some suggestions to consider:

(1) Choice of Solver

The LP_SOLVE solver can solve small test problems, but a commercial solver will be
required for large problems.

(2) Choice of Region size

Reducing the region size or constraining the search to a subdivision of the space (by
section, level or column) can be very effective. This subdivision of the search space is
recommended because the solutions will be very fast.

(3) Choice of grid increment

Reducing the grid increment in each of the three dimensions can have a dramatic effect
on the problem size. The initial grid increment could be the stope size on that axis to get
a quick run and then the grid increment could continue to be halved. If the stope
footprint was 20x20m then the first run might have an increment of 20m, then the next
10m then 5m, etc.

(4) Choice of Optimisation Parameters

Often the MIP Solver can obtain a good solution quickly but continue the search with
little or no further improvement. These issues can be resolved with additional
optimisation parameters to set the time limit, integrality tolerance, solution gap tolerance
and the search strategy. To understand these advanced optimisation parameters
please consult the reference material for your preferred solver.

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4 OPTIMISATION OPTIONS (SLICE & PRISM)


Features for evaluation and reporting that are common to both Slice and Prism methods
are covered in this section.

4.1 Model Discretisation


Model discretisation, by which we mean “subdividing the original block model into
smaller sub-cells”, is required for two primary purposes:

(1) The stope-shape annealing algorithm, where the dimension of the stoping units
and sub-units relative to the model cells must be considered, and changes in the
wireframe shape must evaluate to a different volume to identify improvements in
stope value
(2) Maintaining an accurate volumetric estimate of material mined out in stoping
units and sub-units.

Model discretisation also has an influence on accuracy of grade and tonnage estimation,
particularly for the case when model and/or framework are rotated and the rotations are
different.

The Fast or (cell-centreline) evaluation method uses a “ray-trace” procedure (likened to


a drill-hole trace) passing through each cell-centroid in the discretised block model, to
evaluate the proportion of a cell in a wireframe shape. The distribution of the ray-traces
plays a significant role in various SSO processes, output accuracy and processing effort.

Discretisation ensures the model cell sizes are small enough to achieve the required
ray-trace density for annealing and evaluating the stope-shape, honouring pillar widths
(especially for sub-stopes) and allowing for the flagging of “mined-out” material. A
minimum of 2 ray-traces on both U and V axes (i.e. for strike and elevation in Vertical
cases) are required per stope or sub-stope shape to allow the annealing process to
identify changes in the stope volume.

Discretisation is completed prior to the seed-slice, seed-shape and anneal processes.


The size of the discretised cells is the driver for the number of ray-traces; not the original
model cell sizes.

The default discretisation setting is 4x4. This setting generally satisfies simple sub-stope
requirements (i.e. 2 vertically and 2 along strike to achieve a minimum of 2 ray-traces
per sub-stope shape). If there are only full-stopes, this parameter could be reduced to
2x2.

The discretisation setting must also take into account the full-stope and sub-stope
intervals as defined by irregular frameworks (i.e. such as irregular level spacing). The
maximum discretisation number is 40x40.

The discretisation number and dimension of the framework on the U and V axes
determines the maximum discretised cell size along U and V axes. Any cell with a

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greater size is subdivided into equal intervals so that the discretised cell dimension does
not exceed the maximum. Note that this is not the same as superimposing a fixed grid
of the maximum discretised cell size over the model cells.

Figure 4-1 provides an example of discretisation when considering only a single axis.
The W axis is in the transverse direction and is not split (although when the mined out
model is output the subcells are split in the W direction at the intersection with the stope
wireframe boundaries using the "ray-trace" procedure).

Figure 4-1 Block Model Discretisation Example

Figure 4-2 highlights the approximations made with the Fast evaluation method when
the model and framework are orthogonal and the second case then model and
framework are not aligned. In the first case the discretised cells are clipped by the (U,V)
limits of the stope shape framework. For the second case the discretised cells are not
clipped, and a higher level of discretisation will yield a more accurate result on a stope
by stope basis, although the "ray-trace" evaluation method will always report material in
either the stope or its adjacent stope.

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Figure 4-2 Effect of Model Discretisation Plane on Rotated Frameworks

4.2 Cut-off and Head-grade


Cut-off and head-grade are defined as follows:

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 Cut-off – is used as a stope-shape boundary descriptor by defining rock as


either ore (equal to or above cut-off) or waste (below cut-off).
 Head-grade – is used as a stope volume descriptor. The head-grade can be
supplied in addition to the cut-off. A user might not want to have “marginal grade
or marginal value” stopes, and so setting the head-grade higher than cut-off, will
return the more profitable stopes (e.g. it might relate to a desired profitability), or
stopes that have a higher probability of meeting the cut-off grade.

The cut-off grade can be supplied without the head-grade, but a head-grade cannot be
supplied without a cut-off grade.

The optimisation field can either be a grade field or a value field. If the optimisation field
is a value field then the optimisation objective is to maximise the total value of the stope
above the cut-off, and a stope value less than the cut-off would be sub-economic. It is
the maximisation of the profitability of the stope relative to the cut-off. If the optimisation
field is a grade field, then the equivalent objective is to maximise the total metal above
the cut-off.

There is also an optional function that can be applied to the cut-off only or cut-off with
head-grade to optimise total value or total metal while satisfying the cut-off or head-
grade. This function maximises recovery of metal (i.e. kg’s) or total dollar value (i.e. $’s)
and will attempt to recover all possible metal or dollar value while still meeting the
overall cut-off or cut-off with head-grade criteria for the stope. However, it does not
maximise the metal grade per tonne (i.e. gm/t) or value per tonne (i.e. $/t). This option is
likely to be desirable to users who value (i.e. rank) maximising metal recovery above
maximising head-grade. It could be used to answer the question "how many grams can
be mined at a profit" rather than "which grams to mine to maximise profit"

Figure 4-3 illustrates at a high-level the general cut-off, head-grade and optimised total
value / optimised total metal concepts. Intervals above (blue) and below (red) cut-off
identified, and the length of the interval relative to the minimum stope width
(<MMW,>MMW) and the minimum pillar width (MMPW,>MPW) are identified. The area
contributions above the cut-off (blue) have a positive contribution and the areas below
the cut-off (red) have a negative contribution, with the goal to have a net positive area
outcome.

A head-grade is specified in addition to the cut-off grade. Four different outcomes are
possible for this data set:

 Interval greater than cut-off grade

Includes both ">CO", and ">CO & >HG"

 Interval greater than cut-off and head-grade

Only ">CO & >HG"

 Interval greater than cut-off grade with optimise total value or total metal option

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Includes both "Maximised metal as long as >CO" and "Maximised metal as long
as >CO & >HG"

 Interval greater than cut-off grade and head-grade with optimise total value or
total metal option

Only "Maximised metal as long as >CO & >HG"

The right-most (blue) interval is above cut-off but is less than the minimum stope width,
and makes no net positive contribution when added to the interval to the left. It will only
be included in a stope if the optimise total value or total metal option is selected.

Figure 4-3 Simplified Cut-off, Head-grade Maximised Metal-Value Concept

The cut-off and head-grade numbers can be supplied as:

 A fixed number (either as a grade per mass unit e.g. gm/t, or currency value per
mass unit e.g. $/t),
 Values from the block model so that the value has a spatial property e.g. to vary
cut-off with depth (with a default value applied if the field value for a given cell is
‘absent’ or if cells are absent from the model),
 A relationship between the value and some other variable related to the stope
dimension, specified as points on a curve e.g. the cut-off is a function of stope
width so that narrow stopes have a higher cut-off and wider stopes have a lower
cut-off This option allows the Optimiser to dynamically choose between bulk and
selective mining by making the cut-off and head-grade a function of the stope
size, and choosing the mining shapes that return maximum value.

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Note that where a grade field is supplied, a Calculated Value can be computed taking
into account commodity price, mining and processing costs, mining and process
recoveries, and royalty. The calculated value uses the formula:

Calculated Value = tonnes × mining_recovery ×


price × process_recovery × (1 — royalty) × optimisation_field_number
{ }
—mining_cost — process_cost

4.2.1 Cut-off Grade using Curve Table

Thick, Mass, Height and Area all relate to the stope size or dimension. Apart from mass,
one would expect the other dimensions of the stope (other than the one selected) to be
roughly constant. Mining cost can then be related to Hydraulic Radius (the ratio of area
and perimeter) and hence the cut-off can be used as a proxy to quickly establish
whether larger or smaller stopes are better in the optimisation.

e.g. If the primary dimension controlling the cost is the stope width, (which may vary
according to orebody width, the number of lenses and included waste proportion), then
this method of dynamically specifying the cut-off variable will allow the best stope width
to be chosen on a local area basis, per level and section - as a function of cost.

A number of stope dimension variables are provided in the Version 3 implementation:

 thick (W dimension i.e. width for XZ|YZ, height for XY|YX),


 area (UW dimension),
 height (V dimension),
 elevation (Z coordinate)
 mass,
 roof_hydraulic_radius (UW dimension), calculated as {area/perimeter},
 wall_hydraulic_radius (UV dimension), calculated as {area/perimeter}
 section_hydraulic_radius (VW dimension), calculated as {area/perimeter}.

The cut-off or head-grade value is interpolated between the curve points supplied, and
otherwise uses the minimum or maximum curve point values if the dimension falls
outside the values supplied. Note that the cut-off or head-grade value to be used as a
discriminator is assigned in the seed generation stage, based on the seed-shape.
Therefore the final stope dimension may not exactly match the defined relationship after
annealing.

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4.3 Evaluation Methods


The stope-shape annealing procedure incrementally improves the value of the stope-
shape. This can require thousands of iterations, and the adjusted stope must be
evaluated against the block model repeatedly. This is a relatively time consuming
analysis to embed in an optimisation procedure.

Two methods of evaluation are available:

4.3.1 Exact Evaluation

This is the method used traditionally in mine planning software where an exact
geometric (or Boolean) intersection of cells overlapping with the stope wireframe
is made. This is termed “wireframe-cell-evaluation” (and has been labelled
"Exact" or "Precise" in various contexts).

The method is actually the more conservative evaluation method as it evaluates


only the proportion of the cell within the wireframe surface used. Accuracy
depends on the sub-celling detail as the evaluation method cuts the “corners” off
cells that lay outside of the wireframe surface (hence understates metal
inventory) and can also include additional wedges of rock with no grade from the
absent cell portions inside the wireframe surface, as depicted in Figure 4-4

4.3.2 Approximate Evaluation

A faster method designed for (discretised) sub-cell block models has been
implemented using ray-tracing techniques. This is termed “cell-centreline-
evaluation” (and has been labelled "Approximate" or "Fast" in various contexts).
Note that the results are not indicative of the name used (“Approximate”) but
rather of the volume calculation technique applied.

The method uses a ray-trace through the sub-cell centroid (along the Model
Discretisation Plane W-axis) to intersect the wireframe shape, and calculate the
portion of the sub-cell (from the trace) that falls within the wireframe shape. The
volume is obtained by multiple that portion (on the W axis) by the fixed
dimension of the subcell on the other two (U,V) axes.

For Datamine Studio block models, the cell-centreline method is used in the
TRIFIL process to create sub-cell models within a wireframe. Using the same
cell-centreline for evaluation of stope wireframes means that the sub-cell
approximations are common between the original model creation procedure and
the stope evaluation technique in SSO. Hence geometric errors are minimised.
This is less the case if model cells are split in the discretisation procedure.
Where smaller sub-cells are used at the wireframe boundary, the better the
approximate method becomes at replicating the wireframe shape for the case of
sharp grade boundaries.

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4.4 Comparing Results from Exact and Approximate


Evaluation
The results from the faster “approximate” method will always be slightly different from
the results obtained by the “exact” method, and these differences are summarised for
each stope output in the log file, reporting the percentage difference in tonnes,
grade/value and metal/accumulation calculated between the two methods.

The volumes and tonnes for the “approximate” and “exact” methods are identical for a
constant model density (with small differences for variable density), but the contained
value or contained metal will be different. The "approximate" method will always report a
better grade/value for each stope. The differences can all be attributed to the sub-cell
approximations used in block modelling of 3D surfaces and shapes (volumes). Each
software vendor will have a different algorithm to produce the spatial distribution of
subcells to model a wireframe volume, so the differences will vary between software
vendors.

Both methods of evaluation are made available, but the runtimes can increase by a
factor of 5-10 for the “exact” method. The run-times for the "approximate" method will
also be slower for the case when the rotation angles for the block model and stope-
shape framework are different (due to the additional geometry calculations required).
Note also that increasing the number of sub-cells will reduce the sampling error at
boundaries, but this will be at the cost of significantly increasing the processing time
taken.

The runtimes for the "approximate" evaluation method are also dependent on the model
and framework orientation, as outlined in Section 4.1, and so in order of increasing
runtime the different methods are:

- "approximate" evaluation with model and framework orthogonal, where discretised


cells are also clipped by quad boundaries to improve accuracy

- "approximate" evaluation with model and framework not orthogonal, and no clipping

- "exact" evaluation where the runtime is the same for the orthogonal and non
orthogonal cases

4.4.1 Interaction of Evaluation Methods with Reporting

While two methods are available for evaluation and annealing, three methods are
available for reporting.

i. Exact Evaluation - Exact Reporting

Uses the Exact method for wireframe evaluation, and the same results for
reporting

ii. Approximate Evaluation - Approximate Reporting

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Uses the Approximate method for wireframe evaluation, and the same results for
reporting

iii. Approximate Evaluation - Exact Reporting

Uses the Approximate method for wireframe evaluation, but re-evaluates the
final stope wireframes for reporting with the “Exact” method.

Note that for marginal stopes, the differences in exact and approximate
evaluation may result in a stope becoming sub-economic because the exact
evaluation can produce a more conservative result.

Care should be taken to ensure that the default value for the optimisation field is
realistic for ore-only block models.

Figure 4-4 indicates the source of the differences between "approximate" and "exact"
methods of evaluation and reporting. A narrow high grade orebody is modelled with two
subcells on the level, with the horizontal dimension dictated by the wireframe-cell
intersection at the mid-height. For this simple orebody geometry a stope shape could be
generated in the annealing procedure that matches the orebody wireframe. If using the
"approximate" ray tracing evaluation method to evaluate the stope grade, the proportion
of the two subcells that would be reported would be the full subcell, The stope grade
would be the average grade of the two subcells. The stope wireframe would match the
orebody wireframe, and the tonnes and grade of the stope would match the orebody, the
ideal result.

"Exact" evaluation for that same stope shape would intersect the stope shape with the
subcell volume, so that a portion of the subcell volume would fall outside the stope
shape (grade and metal lost), and portion of the stope shape would have no subcell, and
so a default waste grade would be applied to that volume (additional waste included).
The combined effect would be a stope with identical volume and tonnes (assuming
constant density for subcells and waste) but lower grade and metal content.

"Exact" evaluation also has an unexpected outcome. WIth the reported grade being
dependent of the proportion of the subcell inside the stope wireframe, and with the
objective of maximizing the stope value (or metal above cutoff for grade optimisation),
then "exact" optimisaqtion on a high grade orebody will tend to take all high grade
material, and so with "exact" optimisation in the extreme case the stope wireframe will
be the shape that extends to the limit of the subcell corners, taking additional waste.
This waste is however only an unintended consequence of rectangular (or cuboid)
subcell approximation, and the error reduces as subcell size is decreased.

Figure 4-4 also highlights the source of the differences in evaluation and reporting for
the three methods of reporting.

If there is a significant difference between Exact Reporting and Approximate Reporting


(more than 1% in grade, tonnes or metal) these differences are reported in the log file.
Overall differences of 5-15% are not uncommon in the summary reports when
comparing Approximate and Exact Reporting for an Approximate Evaluation..

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The differences found in Evaluation and Reporting highlight the need for better
understanding of the limitations of subcell approximations made in geological block
modeling, particularly for narrow high grade orebodies. Communication and sharing of
requirements for geological modeling and stope design by geologists and engineers can
improve the accuracy and robustness of procedures for project evaluation.

Because software vendors have only ever provided "Exact" reporting procedures
engineers have never been cognizant of the general limitations of wireframe subcell
approximations, nor the likely underestimation of grade on any particular project.
Fortunately the "Exact" estimates have been on the conservative side, and only
underestimated grade for the estimation of economics in project evaluation.

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Figure 4-4 Comparison of Evaluation Methods

4.5 Reporting Options


Apart from the standard model definition fields, the mandatory model fields are the
optimisation field (typically a metal grade or dollar value per tonne) and the density field.
Regarding the optimisation field, this may be a grade field (which cannot be negative in

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the optimisation process) or a value field (which may have negative values in the
optimisation process).

Other optional model reporting fields are allowed. All mandatory and any additional
optional fields are output to the stope wireframe, string file and run report. Each field can
have optional control on scaling applied (1,000’s, millions, imperial to metric 0.3048,
etc.) and accumulation methods (mass average, dominant, ranked, etc.). For alpha
fields, the categories of [dominant, ranked] are available.

Options provide reporting for:

 Exclusion field to ignore the reporting of items such as voids, topography air, or
backfill. Note, if you have backfill in the “stope void”, do not associate this with
the “report_exclusion_field”. Backfill should have a density and grade, and
should effectively be reported as waste. The VOID field type is the true void or
cavity, as identified by the “report_exclusion_field”.
 Separate reporting of the undiluted and diluted stope-shapes (total rock and
metal).
 Separate reporting of the undiluted and diluted stope-shapes for rock below cut-
off (i.e. waste) contained within the skin dilution and contained within the stope
design.
 Reporting the dominant (majority) code, or the proportion and code of the four
most common values for one reporting field (i.e. “ranking”).
 An optional (single line) stope summary file can be output.
 An optional mined-out model file can be specified to identify the cells inside (and
outside) the stope wireframes based on the discretised sub-cells used in the
stope optimisation.
 Support for imperial/metric units can be implemented in supplier user interfaces
by using grade and tonnage scaling factors. Note that SSO passes through all
values, so units are assumed to be consistent between the model fields and the
nominated user parameter values.

Reports can be saved in vendor file type databases (Datamine, Deswik, and Maptek) or
as a CSV (comma-separated value) text file.

4.5.1 Optional Model Fields

Additional optional model fields can be included in the block model to enable SSO
functions such as spatial location modifiers, the inclusion/exclusion of material types
within a stope-shape, reporting exclusions, head-grade and others.

The optional model fields are:


 user_report – to specify additional fields (other than the optimisation and density
fields which are automatically reported) from the input model for including in the
output report.
 exclusion1 – to set an upper limit to the proportion of a code value for the field
in a stope-shape.

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 exclusion2 – to independently set an upper limit to the proportion of a code


value for a second field in a stope-shape.
 inclusion – to set a lower limit to the proportion of a code value for the field in a
stope-shape (e.g. minimum of resource category 1 that is required to make a
stope-shape). Beware of setting the value to 1.0 as this requires the stope to be
completely contained within the nominated code, and will not take into other
included material at the stope boundaries or numerical rounding errors in the
evaluation of the stope.
 report_exclusion – to exclude the reporting of a code value for the field in a
stoping unit e.g. if the code identifies mined out material or air.
 exclusion_distance – to set an upper limit to the proportion of a code value for
the field in a stope-shape, located at some minimum distance from the shape in
the transverse direction (e.g. not to mine within a distance from a filled stope).
Note that the exclusion fraction applies to the stope shape after expansion in the
transverse (W) direction by the exclusion distance - so the test is not just
whether the stope contains the coded value.
 headgrade – a second discriminator that is applied in addition to cut-off. This will
allow material to be specified as either ore or waste by using head-grade as a
stope volume descriptor.
 zone_mixing – to restrict the occurrence of multiple code values for a field in a
stope-shape. A list of codes is supplied for the zone field, and stopes can be
formed for any individual code value, but not a mixture (e.g. if different lenses
have different ore types then the stope-shape cannot mix the different ore types).
 zone_iteration – to optimise the framework origin (U,V) for multiple zones /
lodes. The different code values for the zone_iteration field define the spatial
location for the different zones / lodes. The Stope Shape Optimiser performs
multiple passes for each zone / lode independently (based on U,V step
increments specified) and subsequently iterates through all zones / lodes. The
outputs are; select the best framework solution for each zone / lode, output all
the options or optimise the sublevel spacing for each zone (e.g. 1x20m & 1x10m
level spacing versus 3x10m or 2x15m or 1x30m level spacing).
 mik (multiple indicator kriging) – to supply pairs of fields for each cut-off grade
interval to define the cut-off grade and the proportion above the cut-off grade.
 conditional_simulation – to define a numeric field for each model realisation.
 dynamic_anisotropy – fields supplying dip and strike in each model cell that
can be used for generating the stope seed-shapes. If supplied, these take
precedence over any stope-control-surface wireframe.

4.5.2 Report Codes

The detail report codes produced (in addition to the user selected report fields) are
summarised in Table 4.1.

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The summary report codes produced in addition to the user selected report fields are
summarised in Table 4.2. Note that the summary report provides the total for all
RESULT (i.e. 1 and 0 where 0 represents the sub-economic stopes – if selected to be
outputted).

A small number of these fields are specific to the Slice Method.

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Table 4.1 Detail Report Codes


Report Type Report Code
STOPE Stope name as defined by user
STOPENUM Unique stope number
VOLUME Volume of shape as defined in REPTYPE below
{mass name} Mass of shape as defined in REPTYPE below, default TONNES
{density field} Weighted average density of shape as defined in REPTYPE below
{optimisation field} Weighted average grade / value (by mass/volume) of the shape as defined in REPTYPE below
CUTOFF Optimisation field cut-off value
HEADGRADE Optimisation field head-grade value
{optional report fields} one or more fields accumulated by weightbymass, weightbyvolume, sum, dominant or ranked
1=Successful Stope
RESULT
0=Unsuccessful (seed failed to meet stope criteria)
1=Full Stope
2=Sub Stope
PASSTYPE
3=Development
4=Prism Stope
0=Prism
1=Full
PASSNUM 2=SubStope Quad1,3=SubStope Quad2,4=SubStope Quad3, 5=SubStope Quad4, etc. (is dependent on
order specified & number specified)
N=Development. (equal to the number of sub-stopes specified plus one.)
The sequence number (near to far) of the PASSNUM i.e. full stopes and sub-stopes are numbered from 1
PASSSEQ
as each pass is completed
DILUTED_TOTAL=total rock inside diluted shape
DILUTED_WASTE=waste rock (below cut-off) within diluted shape
UNDILUTED_WASTE=waste rock (below cut-off) within pre-diluted shape
FAR_TOTAL=total rock in FAR ELOS skin
NEAR_TOTAL=total rock in NEAR ELOS skin
REPTYPE
HW_TOTAL=total rock in hangingwall ELOS skin
FW_TOTAL=total rock in footwall ELOS skin
FAR_WASTE_&_NEAR_WASTE=waste rock (below cut-off) within ELOS skin FAR/NEAR
FW_WASTE_&_HW_WASTE=waste rock (below cut-off) within ELOS skin FW/HW
VOID = void or cavity as identified using the "report_exclusion_field" option
GROUP The wireframe GROUP number.
SURFACE The wireframe SURFACE number = 1 for shape wireframes, 2= for verification wireframes.
QUAD Equivalent to the old IJK value for regular frameworks (QUAD=IJK+1)
Proportion (by volume) of sub cut-off rock in shape; (volume of waste within diluted stope) / (total volume
WASFRAC
of diluted stope)
SLENGTH Strike length of stope
SAVGWID/SWIDTH Width of stope at centroid position for XZ|YZ, width of stope in XY|YX
SHEIGHT/SAVGHT Height of stope for XZ|YZ, Height of stope at centroid position for XY|YX
XSTOPE Stope floor-level X centroid-value
YSTOPE Stope floor-level Y centroid-value
ZSTOPE Stope base / floor minimum Z value
XCENTRE Stope centroid X value
YCENTRE Stope centroid Y value
ZCENTRE Stope centroid Z value
ISFARHW Is the "far wall" the "hangingwall" for local/global wall definitions (0=no, 1=yes)

{ranked field}V1 value for highest ranked field value


{ranked field}A1 proportion (by volume) of total for highest ranked field value using;(A1/(A1+A2+A3+A4))
{ranked field}V2 value for second highest ranked field value
{ranked field}A2 proportion (by volume) of total for second highest ranked field value using; (A2/(A1+A2+A3+A4))
{ranked field}V3 value for third highest ranked field value
{ranked field}A3 proportion (by volume) of total for third highest ranked field value using; (A3/(A1+A2+A3+A4))
{ranked field}V4 value for fourth highest ranked field value
{ranked field}A4 proportion (by volume) of total for fourth highest ranked field value using; (A4/(A1+A2+A3+A4))
{ranked field} weighted average value (by volume) of the ranked field

CONF-PER The confidence level for the stope, as a percentage


CONF-MED The median value of simulation grades for the stope
CONF-MIN The minimum value of simulation grades for the stope
CONF-MAX The maximum value of simulation grades for the stope
CONF-AVG The average value of simulation grades for the stope

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Table 4.2 Summary Report Codes


Report Type Report Code
VOLUME Volume of shape as defined in REPTYPE below
{mass name} Tonnes of shape as defined in REPTYPE below, default TONNES
ESCOUNT Total count of stopes produced
{density field} Weighted average density (by mass) of shape as defined in REPTYPE below
{optimisation field} Weighted average grade / value (by tonnes) of shape as defined in REPTYPE below
{optional report
one or more fields accumulated by weightbymass, weightbyvolume, sum, dominant or ranked
fields}
DILUTED_TOTAL=total rock inside diluted shape
DILUTED_WASTE=waste rock (below cut-off) within diluted shape
UNDILUTED_TOTAL= total rock inside undiluted shape
UNDILUTED_WASTE=waste rock (below cut-off) within pre-diluted shape
FAR_TOTAL=total rock in FAR ELOS skin
NEAR_TOTAL=total rock in NEAR ELOS skin
REPTYPE
HW_TOTAL=total rock in hangingwall ELOS skin
FW_TOTAL=total rock in footwall ELOS skin
FAR_WASTE_&_NEAR_WASTE=waste rock (below cut-off) within ELOS skin FAR/NEAR
FW_WASTE_&_HW_WASTE=waste rock (below cut-off) within ELOS skin FW/HW
SEED= total rock inside seed shape
VOID = void or cavity as identified using the "report_exclusion_field" option

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4.5.3 Waste Reporting

Waste reporting uses mass weighted average grade and descriptions for the Version 3
implementation are:

 Diluted_Total. All rock contained within the diluted stope-shape.


 Diluted_Waste. Portion of rock contained within the diluted stope-shape that is
below the cut-off.
 Undiluted_Waste. Portion of rock contained within the undiluted stope-shape that
is below cut-off.
 Far_Total, Near_Total, HW_Total, FW_Total. Is reporting the rock contained
within each dilution skin defined (i.e. near, far, hangingwall, footwall).
 Far_Waste_&_Near_Waste, FW_Waste_&_HW_Waste. Is reporting the waste
rock below cut-off that appears in the respective ELOS skins for Far/Near or
FW/HW.

The WASFRAC field is defined as; (volume of rock below cut-off / total volume of the
diluted stope-shape). Note that for the Prism Method there are no dilution skins involved,
so it is just the total stope-volume.

4.5.4 File Field Names

All the reported fields (detail report codes above) are essentially reproduced in the
stope-shape wireframe and stope string files. The verification files however exclude
these fields and report only GROUP, SURFACE, QUAD, PASSTYPE, PASSNUM and
FAILMESS (failed message) fields. The field comparisons are summarised in the
following.

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Table 4.3 File Field Names


REPORT FIELDS STOPE_WF FIELDS STRING FIELDS VER_WF FIELDS

(optimisation field} (N) Yes (optimisation field} (N) Yes (optimisation field} (N) Yes (optimisation field} (N) No
STOPE (N) Yes STOPE (N) Yes STOPE (N) Yes STOPE (N) No
STOPENUM (N) Yes STOPENUM (N) Yes STOPENUM (N) Yes STOPENUM (N) No
VOLUME (N) Yes VOLUME (N) Yes VOLUME (N) No VOLUME (N) No
TONNES (N) Yes TONNES (N) Yes TONNES (N) No TONNES (N) No
DENSITY (N) Yes DENSITY (N) Yes DENSITY (N) Yes DENSITY (N) No
FAILMESS (A60) Yes

QUAD (N) Yes {IJK+1} QUAD (N) Yes QUAD (N) Yes QUAD (N) Yes
GROUP (N) Yes GROUP (N) Yes GROUP (N) Yes GROUP (N) Yes
SURFACE (N) Yes SURFACE (N) Yes SURFACE (N) Yes SURFACE (N) Yes
PTYPE (N) Yes
PASSTYPE (N) Yes PASSTYPE (N) Yes PASSTYPE (N) No PASSTYPE (N) Yes
PASSNUM (N) Yes PASSNUM (N) Yes PASSNUM (N) No PASSNUM (N) Yes
PASSSEQ Yes PASSSEQ Yes PASSSEQ Yes PASSSEQ Yes
LENGTH (N) Yes LENGTH (N) Yes LENGTH (N) Yes LENGTH (N) No
WIDTH (N) Yes WIDTH (N) Yes WIDTH (N) Yes WIDTH (N) No
HEIGHT (N) HEIGHT (N) HEIGHT (N) Yes HEIGHT (N) No

COLOUR (N) NA COLOUR (N) Yes COLOUR (N) Yes COLOUR (N) Yes (^ver)
RESULT (N) Yes RESULT (N) Yes RESULT (N) No RESULT (N) No
CUTOFF (N) Yes CUTOFF (N) Yes CUTOFF (N) No CUTOFF (N) No
XSTOPE (N) Yes XSTOPE (N) No XSTOPE (N) No XSTOPE (N) No
YSTOPE (N) Yes YSTOPE (N) No YSTOPE (N) No YSTOPE (N) No
ZSTOPE (N) Yes ZSTOPE (N) No ZSTOPE (N) No ZSTOPE (N) No
XCENTRE (N) Yes XCENTRE (N) No XCENTRE (N) No XCENTRE (N) No
YCENTRE (N) Yes YCENTRE (N) No YCENTRE (N) No YCENTRE (N) No
ZCENTRE (N) Yes ZCENTRE (N) No ZCENTRE (N) No ZCENTRE (N) No
TRIANGLE (N) NA TRIANGLE (N) Yes TRIANGLE (N) NA TRIANGLE (N) Yes
PID1 (N) NA PID1 (N) Yes PID1 (N) NA PID1 (N) Yes
PID2 (N) NA PID2 (N) Yes PID2 (N) NA PID2 (N) Yes
PID3 (N) NA PID3 (N) Yes PID3 (N) NA PID3 (N) Yes
PVALUE (N) Yes
PTN (N) Yes PID (N) Yes
XP (N) Yes XP (N) Yes
YP (N) Yes YP (N) Yes
ZP (N) Yes ZP (N) Yes

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4.5.5 Rename Mass Field

The stope report mass field may be renamed and factorised.

An example use for this function is to change the field TONNES to say KTONNE and
multiply the original TONNES field by a 0.001 factor to derive “kilo-tonnes” or “thousands
of tonnes”.

4.5.6 Mined Out Model

A mined out model can optionally be output to identify the portion of the model that is
mined, is part of a pillar or is otherwise unmined. The output model represents the sub-
cells after the discretisation process, split according to the portion that falls within the
stopes and the pillars.

The mined out model has values of 0 or 1 in the MINED and PILLAR fields to indicate
exclusion or inclusion. The MINED field name can be replaced with a user defined field
name. There is also the option to output only the MINED=1 discretised sub-cells only.

PILLAR=1 is the set of cells comprising the stope and the pillar width external to the
stope. MINED=1 defines the stope shape, and mined_only="yes" will only output these
blocks (and all cells will have PILLAR=1). If mined_only="no" is specified, then
MINED=1 will display the stopes only, and MINED=0,PILLAR=1 will display the pillars
only.

It is useful to review the mined out model to assist understanding what the discretisation
process is doing. The mined out model may also have many other downstream uses.
Beware that the mined out block model can be much larger than the input block model
because it provides the discretised model cells. The mined out model was primarily
designed for test areas or use with validation_test_cell quadrilaterals.

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4.6 Stope Naming


Stope-names (alphanumeric type) can be generated by concatenating component parts
(in any combination) of up to a combined total of 40 characters. The stope-name could
typically be used to spatially locate stopes (e.g. level position, block position, extraction
sequence, etc.) or to categorise as a stope type (e.g. primary or secondary, high
grade/value or low grade/value, wide or narrow, measured category, etc.).

Note that the stope-names should be defined so as to be unique. For example, using
component parts that describe the mine-name followed by floor-level would result in all
stopes on any particular level to have the same stope name.

Each part will need to have some or all of the following parameters specified:

 (fixed) length in characters,


 number of decimal places (if numeric),
 justification (left, centre, right),
 field name
 pad character

The component parts are described in the following.

4.6.1 Reporting Field

A reporting field value part can be any of the nominated fields reported from the input
block model or contained in the detailed output report as summarised in Table 4.1. This
could typically be any one of:

 STOPENUM,
 QUAD, PASSTYPE, PASSNUM, PASSSEQ,
 XSTOPE, YSTOPE, ZSTOPE (central coordinate at floor position),
 XCENTRE, YCENTRE, ZCENTRE (centroid coordinate)
 SLENGTH, SHEIGHT, SAVGWID (or equivalent for horizontal frameworks),
 CUTOFF, RESULT,
 ISFARHW, (is the far wall the hangingwall - True/False - 1 or 0),
 Model evaluation fields (e.g. Au Grade, NSR value, Zone, Rescat, etc.).

4.6.2 Internal Field

These are automatically generated field values that can be used from the following list:

 stope_type (outputs one of ‘Full’, ‘Sub’, ‘Dev’)


 stope_orientation_plane
 u_local_avg | v_local_avg | w_local_avg | x_world_avg | y_world_avg |
z_world_avg

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 u_local_min | v_local_min | w_local_min | x_world_min | y_world_min |


z_world_min
 u_local_max | local_max | w_local_max | x_world_max | y_world_max |
z_world_max

The (u,v,w)_local and (x,y,z)_world fields will be identical if the framework is unrotated,
but (x,y,z)_world are required to provide world coordinates for rotated frameworks..

4.6.3 Fixed String

This can be any user defined text e.g. “East_”, “MyProject-“, etc. Commonly used as a
separator between other parts (e.g. “_”, “-“, etc.).

4.6.4 Position Counter

This is a generated value that represents a spatial location. For regular model
frameworks, 'position_counter' evaluates the position of the stope in the framework. It
advances forward/backward from the start/end along the specified 'axis' direction,
counting the number of "steps" in the stope framework. It uses the supplied "start" value
and applies the number of steps (using the "step size") to define a value to assign for
each stope based on its framework position along the defined axis (U|V in the stope
orientation plane and uses the PASSSEQ field value on the W axes), or in the reverse
direction. The start value can be numeric or letter (i.e. 'number_count', 'letter_count').
Letters can be a mixture of upper and/or lower case, and the increment restricted to the
supplied case.

The PASSSEQ field is used to number full stopes, substopes in sequence from the near
to the far side of the framework.

If an XZ framework has sections along the U-axis of 1000, 1100, 1200, 1300, 1400,
1500 and full stopes generated between these sections, then the value generated for
the position counter for the following cases would be:
 start at minimum, number count, start = 50, increment = 100
50, 150, 250, 350, 450
 start at maximum, number count, start = 450, increment = -10
50, 150, 250, 350, 450
 start at maximum, number count, start = 50, increment = 10
450, 350, 250, 150, 50
 start at minimum, letter count, start = A, increment = forward
A, B, C, D, E
 start at maximum, letter count, start = Z, increment = back
U, V, X, Y, Z
 start at maximum, letter count, start = A, increment = back
E, D, C, B, A

If the letter count exceeds A-Z, then multiple letters can be employed with AA
incrementing to AB, AC, .., AZ, BA etc. Aa would increment to Ab, Ac, ..Az, Ba if
lowercase was used for the letter start to signify case sensitivity.

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4.6.5 Expression List

An 'expression_list' defines a collection of one or more ('expression', 'value') pairs. Each


expression refers to field names and/or constants connected by relational operators.
Expressions are evaluated in turn for the stope until the first match is found, and the
associated "value' from the (expression, value) pair is used for the 'part'.

For the syntax of the expression text, see the Filter Expression section.

A simple example for using an expression list for naming stopes based on grade range
would be as follows:

Expression Value
"field AU GT 10.0" "HG"
"field AU GT 5.0" "MG"
"field AU GT 2.5" "LG"

The order of the expressions is important as the first expression satisfied will be used to
assign the Value.

4.7 Model Fields - Exclusion, Exclusion-Distance, Inclusion,


Report Exclusion and Mixing
Fields can be supplied in the block model and coded to indicate areas that might be
included or excluded to a user defined proportion in stopes.

Up to two independent exclusion fields can be supplied.

An exclusion-distance field can be supplied where stopes must be more than a set
distance away.

If stope optimisation is to be restricted to a specific zone then an inclusion field can be


specified. The stope must be wholly or partially be within the inclusion zone, depending
on the proportion set.

A model report-exclusion field allows mined out material or voids to be ignored in the
stope evaluation.

A mixing field and associated values can be supplied to control mixing of material with
different attributes. If a model has multiple ore types then stope-shapes are generated to
not allow mixing of the ore types (as designated in the ore type field). No two field
values from the list specified can be found in a stope.

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4.8 Multiple Optimisation Criteria


A single field is supplied for optimisation, either to maximise value or metal.

Filter expressions provide a way of supplying additional criteria. Filters are applied to the
processing of the seed and annealed stopes. The filters allow evaluated model variables
to constrain the production of stope-shapes e.g. RQD criteria, penalty element criteria,
resource category requirement, etc. as detailed in filter text sub-section.

Filters can only be applied to the optimisation field and the other model fields selected
for reporting, but not the additional standard fields added in stope reporting. If for
example a spatial filter was wanted on stope elevations, then the ZC field from the
model would need to be selected, and evaluated as a numeric field, and the filter applied
to the ZC field rather than the ZSTOPE field which is later calculated for the stope
report.

4.8.1 Filter Text

Filter text (i.e. filter expression) can be used to control the generation of the stope seed
and subsequent stope annealing process. The stope seed and annealing process must
fulfil the filter text requirement to produce a stope-shape.

For example, to only generate stopes that meet a value, range of values or range of
criteria e.g. “RQD>70”.

Another example could be that 90% of the stope-shape must contain measured
resource category (e.g. RESCAT=1). By using the internally generated “ranking” report
fields (up to 4 values) for the RESCAT field and then using the filter text “CLASSV1=1
and CLASSA1>=90.0”. Note that in this example it is only necessary to test the first
ranked field if the percentage is 90.0 because the second ranked field could never have
a value of 90.0. If the limit was thirty then the expression would need to be
“(CLASSV1=1 and CLASSA1>=30.0) or (CLASSV2=1 and CLASSA2>=30.0) or
(CLASSV3=1 and CLASSA3>=30.0)”. The fourth ranked field need not be tested as it
could never have a percentage greater than 30.0 while still being the fourth ranked field.

An expression may be either a relational expression or a pattern matching expression.

4.8.2 Relational Expression

The syntax of a relational expression is:

[FIELD] <fieldname> <operator> [CONSTANT] <value>

or [FIELD] <fieldname> <operator> [FIELD] <fieldname>

or [CONSTANT] <value> <operator> [FIELD] <fieldname>

The keywords FIELD and CONSTANT are optional, and need only be specified where
necessary to avoid confusion (e.g. "ROCKTYPE=FIELD T2" or
ROCKTYPE=CONSTANT T2").

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Each expression refers to field names and/or constants connected by relational


operators. Any of the six relational operators listed as follows may be used.
 GT, Greater than
 GE, Greater than or equal to
 EQ, Equal to
 LT, Less than
 LE, Less than or equal to
 NE, Not equal to

The alternative method of expressing these (i.e. >, >=, !=, etc.) have been removed to
avoid conflict with the XML syntax.

4.8.3 Pattern Matching Expression

The syntax of a pattern matching expression is:

<fieldname> MATCHES [REGEXP] <pattern>

If the keyword REGEXP is missing, a "pattern" may consist of literal characters to be


matched, or one of the following elements:
 ? Any single character
 Wildcard. A group of zero or more characters
 [...] Any one of the characters enclosed in the square brackets. The short hand
notation "a-z" means any lowercase letter; refer to the examples below for more
details.
 [^...] Any character except one of these

The special meaning of a character (e.g. "*") is lost if the character is preceded by "\",
hence to match a literal "*", use "\*".

Quotes (double or single) may be used to enclose patterns if desired.

If the keyword "REGEXP" is used, the pattern specifies a full regular expression.

Regular expressions allow advanced users to make more complex selections than are
possible by using the pattern elements specified above.

A regular expression in PICDIR may contain the following elements.


 % Matches the beginning of the file or field name
 $ Matches the end of the file or field name
 Zero or more occurrences of the preceding pattern element.
 ? As above
 [...] As above
 [^...] As above

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4.8.4 Concatenation of Expressions

The result of a pattern matching expression is either TRUE or FALSE.

Any result may be inverted by preceding the expression by the keyword "NOT" (e.g.
"NOT BHID MATCHES RHD*").

Two expressions may be joined together by "AND" or "OR" operators. The result is
another expression.

The "AND" operator has higher precedence than "OR".

Parentheses (brackets) may be used to override the normal order of evaluation of


expressions.

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5 GEOLOGICAL RISK (SLICE & PRISM)


The most common method of defining geological risk is to simulate the uncertainty
associated with estimation of grade into a model cell. There are two geostatistical
methods currently handled by the SSO. They are “Conditional Simulation” or “Multiple
Indicator Kriging” (MIK). The SSO geological risk techniques enable either stope-shapes
to be designed to a geological confidence level (i.e. maximising optimisation field value
while meeting confidence criteria) or evaluated to ascertain their geological confidence
level (maximising optimisation field value and reporting the confidence level). An
example of this second approach is depicted in Figure 5-1 using a visual representation
of the stope grade confidence level.

Figure 5-1 Stope-Shapes with Geological Risk Confidence Percentage

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5.1 Accuracy vs Precision in Estimation and Simulation


The key difference between estimation and simulation is that:

 Estimation aims to provide the best local grade estimate, which has the effect of
smoothing the grade variance, while
 Simulation is specifically designed to reproduce the grade variability and examine
its effects.

Therefore, estimation aims to maximise accuracy of the sample estimate, while


conditional simulation investigates possible sample estimation variance, hence
precision.

The confidence level would be expected to have a high correlation with resource
category. As a consequence, the results of this type of analysis may be very challenging
because the level of confidence associated with stope designs may be significantly
different to the resource classification. The differences however may often be attributed
to categorisation limitations and/or practicalities (such as avoidance of “spotted dog”
classification or QA/QC issues that require re-classification). It however provides an
independent alternative view regarding the certainty of the resource modelling.

5.2 Conditional Simulation


The “Conditional Simulation” method typically provides 20-50 equi-probable realisations
of the cell grades within the block model. The maximum number of realisations is
currently 50.

If making comparisons regarding the appropriate number of realisations, it should be


noted that if alternate models are used, they must have the same starting seed position.
It is therefore preferable when making such comparisons that the model with largest
number of realisations is used and other sub-sets extracted in lowest sequential order to
make correct comparisons.

5.3 Multiple Indicator Kriging


The MIK method provides the frequency distribution of the grades in a block (expressed
as the percentage of material above cut-off and the head-grade of this material for
typically 10-20 cut-off values), but is not able to identify the location of the grades. The
SSO internally manipulates the MIK model to produce “conditional simulation like”
outputs using a technique called Pfield Simulation, which is documented in the Stanford
University GSLIB package (http://www.gslib.com/). In GSLIB it is sufficient to have the
set of cutoff grades and percentages above cutoff.

There are several alternatives for conditioning the MIK data to a series of simulations:

(1) Provide a series of unconditioned [0, 1] fields.

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(2) Provide a set of fields with absent data and default of -1.0 (which is the value
recognised by GSLIB) for UNSET data, and a random distribution of [0, 1] values will be
generated.

(3) Provide no fields and a random distribution of [0, 1] values will be assigned to the
maximum number of conditional fields that can he handled (currently 50).

Option (1) is preferred, and the benefit of supplying the field names in the model file is
that the stope grades based on the simulations generated can be reported.

5.4 Risk Evaluation


One approach to risk evaluation is to generate stope inventories for each of the
simulation fields (often referred to as realisations), and to report the distribution of grade
and tonnes across all the realisations. The approach to using these inventories is to do
a mine design for a small subset of the inventories, ideally selecting a subset that has
the median position when the runs are ranked, and two that represent upper and lower
confidence intervals.

While this approach can be undertaken with the Stope Shape Optimiser, another
method is to analyse all the simulations concurrently. The criterion for each run is that
the final stope-shapes must satisfy the selected cut-off/head-grade at a selected level of
confidence, and produce the optimal set of stopes to maximise value/metal.

The single set of stope-shapes that return maximum value is reported at the requested
level of confidence, rather than reporting a stope optimisation on each and every
realisation. At 100% confidence the stope-shape will satisfy the cut-off value for every
realisation. At 80% confidence the stope-shape will satisfy the cut-off in 80% of the
realisations. The trade-off between risk and return is found by graphing the stope
tonnage and value against confidence, and is a way to generate a "nested" set of
stopes.

For either method, conditional simulation or multiple indicator kriging, a complete set of
realisations is analysed in a single run of the SSO, with a single set of stope-shapes
output. All the stope grades for each realisation can be reported at that confidence level.

5.4.1 Comparison with Pit Optimisation Techniques

An approach to risk evaluation in Pit Optimisation is to complete a pit optimisation for


each realisation, and then produce a set of nested pits based on the number of times
that a block reports within the optimised pit for each realisation. This works well in that
context because the pit optimisation works with a regularised model grid. This approach
however is less appropriate for underground stope-shape optimisation.

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5.5 Optimisation Field


For either method it is necessary to supply an optimisation field that is the primary grade
field reported. This field is typically the Kriged value. A proxy for this optimisation field
could be the average of the realisations – termed the “E-Type” value. The confidence
level for a stope is found by evaluating the stope-shape against all the realisations, and
finding the proportion of the reported realisations above cut-off.

5.6 Reporting
For any nominated confidence level, the output stope report file will provide the following
four statistics from evaluating all realisations:

i. CONF-PER the confidence level for the stope-shape as a percentage


ii. CONF-MED the median value (using the Excel definition for median)
iii. CONF-MIN the minimum value
iv. CONF-MAX the maximum value
v. CONF-AVG the average value

5.7 Using CONF-PER in Post-SSO Activities


There are many ways that stope design risk measures could be integrated into post
SSO activities.

An interesting possibility of applying Geological Risk in production planning may be


applied as follows:.

1. Apply 0% Confidence criteria in SSO and export the “CONF-PER” values for
various Kriged fields. This would be the optimised grade (say Au, Cu, EqV,.. etc.)
but could also be for elements which effect process recovery or other elements
which may affect process throughput, and perhaps even a geotechnical
parameter like RMR (which may potentially be used for dilution / stope failure
estimation)..
2. Run a schedule based on optimising project goals
3. Report the CON-PER per field (confidence percentage) by time period and then
using the weight-average “confidence level” to highlight schedule/budget issues
(e.g. potential metal production volatility, areas that require further in-fill
drilling/re-modelling to improve confidence, re-focus of the schedule/sequence
towards higher-confidence areas (while conducting in-fill drilling), only designing
for areas with confidence greater than X%.

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6 RUNNING STOPE SHAPE OPTIMISER EXTERNAL


TO VENDOR INTERFACES
The default way to run the Stope Shape Optimiser is to take advantage of a customised
user interface developed by the mining software vendor. This interface will use familiar
screens, default values, and access to supplier integration tools for data storage and
field specification, and viewing of outputs. Vendors also have implemented case
management.

In some cases, vendors have options to run external executables from within the mining
software interface with scripts or batch files (consult vendor documentation for details).
It is also possible to run the Stope Shape Optimiser engine as a standalone executable.

A vendor license for the Stope Shape Optimiser is required at all times, so the vendor
requirements for concurrent execution need to be understood.

6.1 XML and Log files


An XML file is generated for each run with a standard name (produced from the vendor's
GUI implementation). The file details the parameter settings. This file can be loaded and
viewed in many freeware XML editors available off the web or even in Internet Explorer.
The user has the option of importing settings into the vendor’s GUI from any XML file, or
saving the parameters for a run in an external XML file. The XML file identifies the
location of input and output files. The engine will trap bad XML syntax, but validation is
best done in an XML editor

A log file is also generated which summarises the stope optimisation process. It includes
a copy of the parameter settings used in the run, a line for the optimisation of each quad
value, the processing time and a tabulation of results in a similar format to that created
in the stope report file. The tabulated results in the log file include a line for each stope
(RESULT=1) and a value for stopes with RESULT = 0 (the final stopes not generated or
not meeting the defined parameter settings). The log file can report useful diagnostic
information if stopes are not created, and will also give an error message if the run is
aborted.

6.2 Batch Files


Batch files are easily created to run the Stope Shape Optimiser engine as a standalone
tool from a CMD box or from a shortcut or tile on the windows desktop.
From the working directory access is required to:
 Stope optimisation engine (StopeOpt.exe),
 An XML parameter file, typically modified from one created by a vendor interface.
 DTD file (STOPEOPT_Activity.dtd) that defines valid XML syntax, and can be
used in an XML editor. The DTD file should be referenced to in the XML file you
are editing.
 Library DLL's
 System environment variables may need to be set

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 Batch files to manage multiple cases


 Block model,
 Control surface files (if applicable),
 Control string file (if applicable),

The XML cases can define the exact path names for the input and output files. If not
specified, then all input and output files are assumed to be in the working directory.

An example batch file for each vendor is provided below. In general the scripts can be
run within

6.2.1 Datamine - Datamine Studio or 5DP


@echo off

rem - ensure the runtime dlls are avaliable

set PATH="C:\Program Files (x86)\Datamine\Studio\Bin";%PATH%

StopeOpt.exe -v test.xml

pause

6.2.2 Maptek – Vulcan


@echo off

rem - ensure the runtime dlls are avaliable

set PATH="C:\Program Files\Maptek\Vulcan 9.0\bin\exe\stopeopt";%PATH%

StopeOpt.exe -v test.xml

pause

6.2.3 Deswik - Deswik.CAD


@echo off

rem - ensure the runtime dlls are avaliable

set PATH="C:\Program Files\Deswik\Deswik.Suite4.2";%PATH%

StopeOpt.exe -v test.xml

pause

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6.3 Multiple Scenario Runs (Sequential or Parallel Processing)


It is best to run multiple scenarios using a batch file, with verbose output setting, to
assist with any error messages and monitoring run progress and any errors or
diagnostics. A typical batch file format would contain, “stopeopt.exe -v scenario1.xml”
for scenario 1 run, and another line for scenario 2, etc., when running the scenarios
sequentially.

Effective concurrent processing of scenarios is limited by the number of cores on your


machine and one execution per core is recommended, and best to leave one idle for
keyboard input.

Running cases using a command shell with system administrator privileges is not
necessary.

Three options are available to manage and run multiple scenarios:

(1) The XML file is structured to allow multiple scenarios in a single file. Typically the
vendor interfaces write a single scenario per XML file. These allow sequential
processing of scenarios from the one XML, and it is possible to select scenarios for
processing with the skip_evaluation="yes | no" option.

(2) Parallel processing with multiple batch files

Parallel processing is essentially achieved by duplicating all the files in independent


working directories and having as many command shells running as available cores.
While simultaneous access to a single model file (read only) is possible, the outputs
need to be written to different files (no shared write access).

It is possible to parallel process scenarios from the one working directory using the one
set of input files but the output file names (and batch files) must be unique for each
case.

(3) Parallel processing with a single batch file

This approach is similar to (2) but the batch file uses the ampersand (&) character to
spawn independent jobs. Ensure that two processes do not attempt to write
concurrently to the same log and output files.

6.4 XML and XML Editor


From the vendor interface an XML file is generated for each run with a standard name.
The file details the parameter settings. This file can be loaded and viewed in many
freeware XML editors available off the web or even in Internet Explorer.

In some vendor implementations the user has the option of importing settings into the
vendors interface from any XML file, or saving the parameters for a run in an external
XML file. This might also be a convenient way to modify XML files and have validation
of input and output files, and field names etc

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Currently the XML editors recommended by AMS (after a detailed review of freeware
and commercial editors) are:
Notepad++ (freeware). If an XML file is not correctly formatted with CR/LF then
using the keys Ctl-Alt-Shift-B
Oxygen XML editor (commercial software available from:
http://www.oxygenxml.com/download_oxygenxml_author.html
 File comparison editor (commercial software available from “Beyond Compare”:
http://www.scootersoftware.com/download.php

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APPENDIX A

Common Terms Used

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Term Definition

Absent value A reserved value for a field to indicate “value unknown”. This
typically should not be zero, as by convention that would mean
that the value is definitely known to be 0.0. Typically for Datamine
Studio the absent value is defined as “-“ (missing value), and for
Maptek Vulcan this is a user-defined large negative value like “-
999”

Default value This is the replacement value that SSO should use whenever the
“Absent” value (q.v.) is encountered in an input field. E.g. for a
model without voids, the value “2.5” might be supplied as the
default Density field value, and this would be used whenever the
Density field for a model cell is flagged as “-“ in Datamine Studio,
or say “-999” for Maptek Vulcan.

Face Refers to either the stope-shape strike extent faces (end walls) or
the stope-shape vertical extent faces (roof or floor).

Model Discretisation Describes the (local) model plane orientation that is used to
Plane discretise or split model cells to aid in the stope-shape annealing
process. The Model Discretisation plane will be the same as the
Stope Orientation plane except for the MODROT=4 case where
the model plane closest to the Stope Orientation plane will be
selected

MODROT Defines the relative rotation of the block model and the Stope-
shape framework:

 Neither the block model nor the Stope-shape Framework


are rotated (MODROT=1)
 The block model and Stope-shape Framework are both
rotated, and have the same rotation definitions (MODROT
=2).
 The block model and Stope-shape Framework are both
rotated, and the axes are parallel but offset (MODROT
=3). Note that this case also requires the rotations of
model and framework to be identical
 One or both of the block model and Stope-shape
Framework are rotated, but do not have equal rotation
angles (MODROT =4).

Quadrilateral A 4 sided polygon that describes the stope face profile in the UV
coordinates of the Stope Orientation Plane. The polygon can be
either a rectangle (for regular frameworks) or a trapezoid (where
two sizes are parallel with the V-axis for irregular frameworks)

Stope Orientation One of the values [XZ | YZ | XY | YX] which defines primary axes
of the Stope-shape Framework in U and V, with U corresponding

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Plane to the first axis and V the second, with a third axes W in the
transverse direction to the UV plane. In the simplest case of an
un-rotated XZ Stope-shape Framework, the axis equivalence
would be U=X, V=Z and W=Y

Stope-shape A three dimensional rectangular volume that defines the volume


Framework of interest for stoping. Has equivalence with block model
definitions, where a model can be orthogonal and aligned with the
world XYZ axes. Alternatively rotated about an origin where the
framework dimensions are in local coordinates relative to that
origin. The Stope-shape Framework is further subdivided into
Tube shapes (for the Slice Method) or Regions (for the Prism
Method)

Tube A three dimensional volume defined by the Quadrilateral polygon


on the UV-axis of the Stope Orientation Plane and the extents of
the framework in the W dimension

Wall Refers to the stope-shape hangingwall or footwall (or also near


wall and far wall).

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Alford Mining Systems
Stope Shape Optimiser Version 3.0.1

APPENDIX B

Example Slice Method XML & Data Sets

AMS Stope Shape Optimiser Ver 3.0.1 Reference Manual.docx : 10 October 2016
Alford Mining Systems
Stope Shape Optimiser Version 3.0.1

APPENDIX C

Example Prism Method XML & Data Sets

AMS Stope Shape Optimiser Ver 3.0.1 Reference Manual.docx : 10 October 2016