Mining software solutions, naturally, focus
on getting the best out of a site in terms of the most valuable material… the ore.
But Curtin’s Professor Erkan Topal sees value in waste, specifically, in better
management of mine-site waste. His waste-handling optimisation program, TopDump, can achieve
savings of up to 20 percent over conventional mine-site waste management methods. Using
readily available mine-site data, it creates a detailed mathematical model that maps key
points, and provides precise location and elevation coordinates of the material to be
moved. One option accounts for the number of pit-faces, exit points, and actual or potential
dump-sites to determine the minimum distance from pit-face to dump; a task requiring it
to calculate millions of alternatives. Another option maximises utilisation of the vehicle
fleet by considering available truck hours, truck speed when loaded or empty, or going
up or down an incline. A third option combines both, with the mine-operator assigning a ‘ranking’
to each alternative based on their priorities. In moments, the program calculates the best
dumping destinations for a new site, or the most efficient route for an established operation.
While most waste rock is benign, some isn’t. TopDump can allocate where and how to dump
the waste to minimise immediate, as well as, future environmental issues. Whether it’s
strategic planning for a new mine, or improving margins for an existing operation, TopDump
is an indispensible tool for any mining company, and a valuable addition to the world of mining software.