Western Australian digital technology solutions provider, Augment Technologies, has announced a new partnership with global tech company, Hexagon, to help mine operators minimise ore loss and dilution through accurate blast movement modelling. 

The partnership is set to harness a blend of block model data, artificial intelligence, bespoke movement models and measured 3D movement data to create a blast movement solution that enables mines to unlock significant value.

Hexagon’s services include its MinePlan Block Model Manager, which enables users to simultaneously and effectively design, populate, manage and share block models while centrally managing the massive amount of sample points, variables and outputs associated with orebody data.

Augment Technologies leverages a physics engine powered by an AI algorithm to create a Muckpile Block Model™ that is continuously improved through a machine-learning process. The process utilises vast amounts of blasting data to ensure that the model’s controlling parameters and simulated physics are as accurate as possible, resulting in a bespoke solution for each customer.

The collaboration between Hexagon and Augment will allow customers to view and manage the Muckpile Block Model that retains all the data and fidelity of the grade control model, with extremely high accuracy and resolution. 

Users will have the option of incorporating Hexagon’s Blast Movement Monitors as an additional measure for blast movement and for training the AI model, with complete transparency into all the data inputs and output. They can also combine operational data with insights from the Hexagon Block Model Manager API to help optimise upstream and downstream processes.

Augment Technologies Co-founder and Chairman, Greg Hardwich, said that the partnership was setting a new industry standard in minimising ore loss and dilution due to blast movement, bringing enormous efficiency to mining processes.

“We’re very excited to be working with global autonomous technology leader Hexagon to inject our AI-powered capability to create a Muckpile Block Model, transforming the way blast movements are modelled and measured to create significant value for our customers,” Mr Hardwich said. 

“Through this partnership, Hexagon’s customers will have the opportunity to realise demonstrable reductions in ore dilution, allowing miners to return more consistent grades, and higher tonnages of ore for processing.”

Hexagon Mining Division Vice President, Resource Optimisation, James Dampney, said that the implications for the industry are profound.

“Ore loss, dilution and misclassification cost mines millions of wasted dollars a year,” Mr Dampney said. 

“Our partnership with Augment Technologies will help mines to optimise digging locations and downstream handling of ore, resulting in valuable processing efficiency and reductions in energy consumption.

“Customers will save training time and operation time by remaining in the same software used to model their ore. The incorporation of an industry-first block model manager provides auditability and traceability to reduce errors while managers and corporate stakeholders will see time-stamped changes of the block model.”

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