Decision Support Software

DFN Modeling
Mine Optimization & Planning
Natural Heat Exchange Systems

Overview

Decision Support Software Centre is composed of specialists in mining engineering and software development. We conduct applied research related to mining, with current projects in the domains of mine planning, discrete fracture network modelling, and natural heat exchange systems. Our forte is delivering results by means of software tools, which enables applied research out comes to have an impact in the global mining industry.

Our Focus

Discrete Fracture Network (DFN) Modelling

MIRARCO’s new software tool, MoFrac, is a state-of-the-art DFN generation tool that generates 3D fracture network models for rock mass characterization.

Rock masses contain discontinuities at different scales, such as cracks, joints, shears and faults, forming discrete fracture networks (DFNs). The geometry of these fracture networks and the fracture surface conditions control the strength and deformation behaviour of rock masses, and the geometry and interconnectivity of a DFN can influence groundwater flow and contaminant mobility.

Driven by the need for safer and more efficient geotechnical design, MoFrac implements methods developed by R. Mohan Srivastava to create DFNs well-suited to both civil and mining applications.

Computational Modelling

  • Rocky DEM
  • Ansys Fluent
  • Python programming

Mine Optimization & Planning

MIRARCO is developing underground mine planning software that will ensure:

  • stope sequences are geotechnically feasible,
  • ventilation scenarios supporting the optimized plan are identified, and
  • life-of-mine schedules are robust to mineral prices and ore grades.

Proper planning and operation of underground mine ventilation systems can:

  • Minimize both capital and operating costs
  • Ensure that underground workers are provided with a safe and healthy work environment

Natural Heat Exchange Systems

The project’s goal is to leverage previous collaborative research between MIRARCO and Vale on the natural heat exchange system at Vale’s Creighton Mine, to determine how the benefits of this system can be replicated at other mine sites.

Featured Projects

Natural Heat Exchange Engineering Technology (NHEET) Project

MIRARCO’s NHEET project aims to leverage previous collaborative research between MIRARCO and Vale on the natural heat exchange system at Vale’s Creighton Mine to determine how the benefits of this system can be replicated at other mine sites. You can find more information on this project in this CIM Magazine article.

MoFrac

This research program is developing a new software tool called MoFrac implementing the novel techniques of R. Mohan Srivastava for the application of rule-based geostatistical methods to generate realizations of site-specific DFNs that explicitly honour fracture network geometry and spatial characteristics. The project will:

  1. develop improved algorithms, novel interface paradigms and novel workflows to allow geotechnical engineers to generate visually realistic and geologically plausible fracture networks;
  2. investigate how rock engineering in fractured rock masses can be enhanced with the aid of better-characterized DFNs;
  3. transfer knowledge to the industry by means of embedding algorithmic and methodological improvements in the MoFrac software tool and
  4. train highly qualified professionals.

The approach to be adopted is a combined application of experimental observation, field monitoring, and numerical modeling. This research is intended to advance DFN generation and materially improve the safety, productivity and profitability of underground engineering projects.

SOT+

The SOT+ project has developed three new modules that increase the scope of SOT (Schedule Optimization Tool) capabilities to take into account a broader range of constraints important to the mine planner.

The modules are Advanced Valuation, Ventilation Constraints, and GeoSequencing. Industry partners participating in the SOT+ project include Vale Canada, Newmont, Agnico Eagle, Datamine and Deswik.
How can your mining company participate in the next phase of the SOT+ consortium project that will build on the success achieved to-date? Case study opportunities are currently available exclusively to prospective participants.