Modern mining practices can help us optimise consumption of scarce raw materials, says Bhanu Bhatnagar of Adani Cementation Ltd.
Scientific mining and optimal exploitation of limestone stands on four pillars viz., effective mine planning, optimisation of deposit with judicious blending of various grades, regular monitoring and effective improvements in mining operations. This ultimately results in to effective mineral conservation, enhanced life of deposits, sustainable mining operation and low cost of limestone production.
This article will cover the optimisation of deposit as a part of effective mine planning. To think of optimisation as “informed mine planning with maximising the geological resources safely throughout the life of mine operation” would not be amiss. We will elaborate on the steps involved in optimisation and the significant role IT plays in optimisation exercise.
There exist several state-of-the-art software solutions for optimisation of mineral resources, both available commercially and developed by companies in house. In the current scenario, IT-enabled services coupled with state-of-the-art mining software are used to monitor quarry operations and to take key decisions for regular operation of mining.
Every deposit of limestone in India is not homogeneous in nature with varying quality in terms of CaO, SiO2, MgO, etc. content. This directly affects the cement making process, where a consistent quality of run-of-mine is required. Most deposits with variable quality contain both lower and higher range, needing a proper blend plan for proper utilisation. This has to be taken into account during the optimisation exercise of mine planning to prepare extraction plans with proper blending of all chemical constituents available in resource.
A basic requirement of optimisation for a limestone deposit is extensive knowledge of the deposit and its possible extraction plans. Lack of proper extraction plan can lead to various risks like complexity of deposit, variation in quality, resource sterilisation, proper benching, maintaining slopes, stripping ratios, etc.
In both above cases, resource optimisation depends on site visits and analysis of factors affecting the optimisation planning of a mine, such as surface constraints (like wetland, transmission lines, private land, access etc.), overburden depths, limestone quality, hydrogeological constraints, relative cost ranking, geotechnical issues, etc.
To update the optimisation model: To update block model with the regular quality and quantity inputs from production data, blast hole data and with additional exploration data. This will ultimately update the optimisation model for deposit.
In the context of the above resource optimisation resources in mines, the following benefits of using IT tools emerge:
Software solutions available for mine planning and optimisation help in expediting the analysis and obtaining alternative results for management to take suitable decision. Various software available in India were discussed in brief with their capabilities. Continuous improvement in this field is on the card, which is something the IT world is working on constantly and continuously. It is fluid and dynamic situation, and each new day brings a new solution or software to light for the ever present challenges of this field.
Author: Bhanu Prakash Bhatnagar, Head Mining and Raw materials, Adani Cementation Ltd, Ahmedabad.