Mining Mirror May 2018 - Page 8

Global Cortez Hills is Barrick Gold’s largest gold producer. Cortez changes the game plan As Barrick Nevada’s (a subsidiary of Barrick Gold) Cortez Hills operation in Nevada, US, continues growing, the old paper and pencil methods cannot keep up with the day-to-day demands of detailed face mapping. [6] MINING MIRROR MAY 2018 C ortez Hills is the largest gold producer of Barrick Gold and Nevada. Mined since 1862, it is the longest-operating gold mine in the US state of Nevada. Cortex District Operations comprises opencast mining of the Pipeline and South Pipeline deposits, and both opencast and underground mining of the Cortez Hills deposit. The mine uses Maptek Vulcan for various geological modelling tasks at its underground operations. Geological face mapping underground It became apparent that as the operation continues to grow, it is difficult to maintain up to date face mapping using traditional paper-based techniques. According to Dave Todaro, senior production geologist at Cortez Hills underground division, the only answer was to go digital. “Putting the latest technology in the hands of the mine geologists allows them to work more efficiently. Timely access to all the underground face data means that essential decisions are well informed,” says Todaro. A customised workflow was generated using existing Vulcan functionality to suit the needs of the underground production environment. “Customised Lava scripts speed up the workflow and reduce the amount of user interaction required,” explains Todaro. Before heading out to the field, the geologist prepares the tablet, ensuring the appropriate data files have been secured for review during the mapping process. Once in the field, the geologist can use the customised Lava scripts and existing Vulcan functionality to digitise the geological features in the correct spatial location. The tablet system also allows the geologist to review geological observations spatially in real time. “This is a game-changing advantage,” says Todaro. Back at the office, geological observations can be shared with the team. The geologist now has more time to review the data and make critical interpretations about the ore system, which have the potential to impact decisions made in the production environment. As well as standardising the face mapping process, this customised workflow now provides a way for the team to efficiently go digital. “It also opens the doors for doing more with the data than previously imagined. Having access to data while underground means that our geologists are able to visit and clear more headings each day,” Todaro adds. This translates to quicker mining cycles as headings are returned to the mining operations teams faster. It also provides more time for geologists to work on other