Maptek Geology Solutions – A Story that Began with Coal
‘The Symposium is an ideal pla...
‘The Symposium is an ideal platform for the exchange of technical ideas to solve common geological challenges and to highlight new technologies,’ said Peter Odins, who directs the development of stratigraphic solutions at Maptek.
‘Maptek has been attending the Bowen Basin geology meetings since 1990 and in fact our story began with coal. The first sale to Utah international in San Francisco in 1981 was just the beginning of a success story that today sees Vulcan installed at more than 1800 sites in over 75 countries,’ added Odins.
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Since then Maptek has extended its spatial data solutions to 3D laser scanning systems for survey, design conformance reporting and surface movement detection. Eureka is an integrated 3D platform for modeling and interpreting exploration data. These systems provide a competitive advantage to operations by enabling them to fully exploit their geological, geophysical and geotechnical information.
‘Maptek technology is designed with the user in mind. Systems are intuitive and workflow driven,’ Odins told AustMine in a recent interview. ‘Attention to high end graphics and 3D visualization refocuses expertise on driving informed decision making and productivity improvements.’
The revolution in stratigraphic modeling began with the release of integrated stratigraphic modeling tools in Vulcan about 10 years ago. In 2010 HARP modeling in Vulcan provided geologists with a new technique for using drillhole data and downhole geophysical characteristics for interpreting and interpolating coal horizons. It also allowed better classification of the most economic seams and the unviable seams included in burden removal.
The latest Maptek innovation sees positional information of seam contacts collected by I-Site laser scanners modeled and imported into Vulcan to control the HARP modeling process in the vicinity of the highwall. The resultant model represents the best understanding of the geology.
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The introduction of implicit modeling in Vulcan in 2014 continued the trend of providing tools that allow geologists to concentrate on validating and improving interpretations. Users can rapidly build/create solids and surfaces for estimating the potential size of a specific horizon. Implicit modeling of complex 3D geological surfaces produces more consistent results, and block model outputs are ready for processes such as reserving.
Measurement while drilling information captured by drill rig automation systems was introduced into the modeling process in 2015. Pressure and torque readings recorded as holes are drilled can be visualized, analyzed to give a clearer account of the resource and improve coal recovery through improved blast outcomes.
Vulcan 10, due for release in the first quarter of 2016 will introduce further enhancements including new tools for splitting pit solids into scheduling blocks, variogram analysis, enhanced implicit modeling and working with large block models. Vulcan 10 will also deliver additional support for multi-threaded processors for up to 10 times better performance over the current version. The upgrades will see a significant improvement in the speed of block model scripts, block slicing, implicit modeling, grade estimation, attribute reporting and simulations.
Rio Tinto and Alcoa begin construction with ELYSIS tech
Eliminating all direct greenhouse gases from aluminium smelting has taken a major step forward with the start of construction on the first commercial-scale prototype cells of ELYSIS’ inert anode technology, at Rio Tinto’s Alma smelter in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec.
ELYSIS has the potential to reduce the carbon footprint of aluminium production
ELYSIS is a joint venture company led by Rio Tinto and Alcoa that is developing a new breakthrough technology, known as inert anode, that eliminates all direct greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the traditional smelting process and instead produces oxygen.
The technology has the potential to transform the aluminium industry, with a significant reduction in its carbon footprint.
The inert anode prototype cells will operate on a commercial scale typical for large modern aluminium smelters, using an electrical current of 450 kiloamperes (kA).
The Honourable Francois-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry joined representatives from ELYSIS, Rio Tinto and Alcoa to mark the start of construction and announce a further CAD $20mn financial contribution from the Government of Canada to support the project.
The federal government's financial support will enable the creation of a unique commercial size inert anode technology showroom for future customers and will help develop the supply chain by involving local and regional equipment manufacturers and suppliers in the project.
ELYSIS is working to complete the technology demonstration by 2024 followed by the commercialization activities.
ELYSIS technology at a glance:
- The ELYSIS technology addresses the global trend towards producing low carbon footprint products, from mobile phones to cars, planes and building materials.
- The new process will reduce operating costs ofaluminiumsmelters while increasing production capacity. It could be used in both new and existing aluminium smelters.
- In Canada alone, the ELYSIS technology has the potential to reduce GHG emissions by 7 million tons, the equivalent of removing 1.8 million cars from the roads.
- ELYSIS will also sell next-generation anode and cathode materials, which will last more than 30 times longer than traditional components.
Alcoa and Rio Tinto will continue to support the ELYSIS development program alongside the Governments of Canada and Quebec.
ELYSIS is working closely with Alcoa's Technical Center, where the zero-carbon smelting technology was invented, and the Rio Tinto technology design team in France.
Alcoa's Technical Center supports ELYSIS in the manufacture of proprietary materials for the new anodes and cathodes that are essential to the ELYSIS process. The Rio Tinto technology team in France is creating commercial scale designs for the ELYSIS technology.
Vincent Christ, CEO, ELYSIS commented: “This is a great day for ELYSIS. It means that we are becoming the first technology company in the world to build commercial-size inert anode cells. While we refine the technology in our R&D Centre, we start the construction of our prototype cells. This shows our confidence in our process and in the know-how of our team. The combination of ELYSIS' zero CO2 technology and Quebec's renewable energy will be great competitive advantage for the future. I would like to thank the government for its support and all the partners for their commitment.”
Samir Cairae, Rio Tinto Aluminium managing director Atlantic Operations and ELYSIS board member added: “Today marks a real step towards the future of the aluminium industry, by progressing this breakthrough technology to cut carbon emissions. Rio Tinto is committed to supporting its ongoing development here in Quebec where we already use clean hydropower to deliver some of the world’s lowest carbon aluminium. Combining this technology with renewable hydropower holds the promise of zero carbon aluminium smelting.”