Hexagon-Augment AI to measure mining blasts

  • March 25, 2024
  • William Payne

Industrial digital reality specialist Hexagon is partnering Western Australia’s Augment Technologies to help mines maximise ore yield and optimise operational efficiencies by accurately accounting for blast movement.

The partnership will 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 solutions include Hexagon MinePlan Block Model Manager, which enables users to design, populate, manage and share block models while centrally managing a very large amount of sample points, variables and outputs associated with orebody data.

Augment Technologies employs 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 uses 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, all within a trusted, industry-proven geological modelling software platform.

“The implications for the industry are profound,” said James Dampney, Vice President, Resource Optimisation, Hexagon’s Mining division. “Ore loss, dilution and misclassification cost mines millions of wasted dollars a year. 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.”

Augment Technologies Co-founder and Chairman Greg Hardwich said 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,” he said. “Through this partnership, Hexagon’s customers will have the opportunity to realise demonstratable reductions in ore dilution, allowing miners to return more consistent grades, and higher tonnages of ore for processing.”