Underground stope design is a manual, time-intensive process. The time for stope placement and manual design often precludes the engineer from considering multiple scenarios; scenarios that may add significant value. Without reviewing potential alternative stope options in 3D, it is likely that dilution may be higher than necessary and/or recovery may be lower than it could be with a fully optimised solution.
This is a design phase not managed well by generalised mining software and Snowden developed an automated, optimised approach to the problem. A comparison with an open-pit design outcome is shown below to introduce the process.
Stopesizor is a tool that modifies a Resource model for the minimum geometry of an underground mining method. It considers many of the complex 3D geometrical decisions that are not able to be resolved manually to provide an outline to guide mining engineers in detailed stope design. The tool enables mining engineers to be more efficient with their time by reducing the need to make complex decisions, as well as assisting to maximise ore recovery and minimise dilution due to design errors. Stopesizor generates shells that are nested by grade in a single run to enable scenario analysis of cut-off grades in order to converge on a value maximising strategy.
Stopesizor has been used by Snowden for almost 20 years on over 200 projects. It has been applied for all mining methods and commodities. It even has application in bench height and selectivity studies for open pits.
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This tool is just one of many that we have developed to solve problems that traditional software does not manage well. If you have a project where you need to get your underground mining strategy right, or have your own unique problem that we might be able to assist with, please contact us at to arrange a meeting.