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Strategic Mine Planning

in Whittle 4.5 and Surpac v6.3


August 2012

Strategic Mine Planning in


Whittle and Surpac
August 2010
v20

Gemcom Software International Inc.


1066 West Hastings Street, Suite 1100
Vancouver, BC Canada V6E 3X1

Tel +1 604.684.6550
Fax +1 604.684.3541
www.gemcomsupport.com

Copyright 2012 Gemcom Software Australia Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.

This software and documentation is proprietary to Gemcom Software Australia Pty Ltd.

Gemcom Software Australia Pty Ltd publishes this documentation for the sole use of Surpac and Whittle
licenses. Without written permission you may not sell, reproduce, store in a retrieval system, or transmit
any part of the documentation. For such permission, or to obtain extra copies please contact your local
Gemcom Software Office.

Gemcom Software Australia Pty Ltd


Level 8 190 St Georges Terrace
Perth, Western Australia 6000
Telephone: (08) 94201327

While every precaution has been taken in the preparation of this manual, we assume no responsibility for
errors or omissions. Neither is any liability assumed for damage resulting from the use of the information
contained herein.

All brand and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.

About This Manual

This manual has been designed to provide a practical guide to the many uses of the software. The
applications contained within this manual are by no means exhaustive as the possible uses of the
software are only limited by the users imagination. However, it will give new users a starting point and
existing users a good overview by demonstrating how to use many of the functions in Whittle and Surpac.
If you have any difficulties or questions while working through this manual feel free to contact your local
Gemcom Software Office.

Contributors

Darrienne Thobaven
James Willoughby

Gemcom Software Australia


Perth, Western Australia

Product
Surpac v6.3
Whittle v4.5

Table of Contents
Introduction .............................................................................................................................. 5
Requirements ........................................................................................................................................... 5
Objectives ................................................................................................................................................. 5
Workflow ................................................................................................................................................... 5

A theoretical discussion .......................................................................................................... 6


Overview ................................................................................................................................................... 6
Course Overview ...................................................................................................................................... 6
Strategic Planning .................................................................................................................................. 11
Situation Analysis ................................................................................................................................... 13
Decision-making Behaviour .................................................................................................................... 16
Theory of Pit Optimisation ...................................................................................................................... 23
Mine Planning ......................................................................................................................................... 24
Resource and Reserves ......................................................................................................................... 27
Inputs ...................................................................................................................................................... 29
Pit Optimisation ...................................................................................................................................... 32
Optimisation Algorithms .......................................................................................................................... 36
Slopes ..................................................................................................................................................... 38
Block Value Calculation .......................................................................................................................... 41
Commodity Price .................................................................................................................................... 47
Whittle Concepts .................................................................................................................................... 49
Block Model Dimensions ........................................................................................................................ 53
Slopes and Structure Arcs ...................................................................................................................... 57
Mining Recovery and Dilution ................................................................................................................. 61
Costs....................................................................................................................................................... 63
Pit Shells ................................................................................................................................................. 69
Ore Selection Methods ........................................................................................................................... 72
Course Workflow .................................................................................................................................... 76

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac ................................................................. 82


Overview ................................................................................................................................................. 82
Requirements ......................................................................................................................................... 82
Getting started ........................................................................................................................................ 82
Rock Code .............................................................................................................................................. 98
Gold Grade ........................................................................................................................................... 102
Density .................................................................................................................................................. 107
Assessment .......................................................................................................................................... 109
Slopes in Whittle ................................................................................................................................... 110
Adding Slopes to the Surpac Block Model ........................................................................................... 113
Costs in Whittle ..................................................................................................................................... 115
Adding Costs to the Surpac Block Model ............................................................................................. 138
MCAFs .................................................................................................................................................. 140
PCAFs .................................................................................................................................................. 142
Exporting the Mod and Par files ........................................................................................................... 144
Assessment .......................................................................................................................................... 151

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle .......................................... 152


A Quick Tour of Whittle ......................................................................................................................... 152
Licensing............................................................................................................................................... 158
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Table of Contents

Important directories ............................................................................................................................. 158


Preferences........................................................................................................................................ 162
System limits ...................................................................................................................................... 163
Version and Licence options.............................................................................................................. 164
Creating the bg project ......................................................................................................................... 166
The Project Node .................................................................................................................................. 171
Validating the Import ............................................................................................................................. 171
Grade/Tonnage Graph ......................................................................................................................... 179
Block Size ............................................................................................................................................. 181
Reblock ................................................................................................................................................. 182
Slopes ................................................................................................................................................... 185
Pit Shells ............................................................................................................................................... 197
Operational Scenario ............................................................................................................................ 215
Spider Graph ........................................................................................................................................ 216
Assessment .......................................................................................................................................... 221
Sequencing and Scheduling ................................................................................................................. 222
Pit by Pit Graph .................................................................................................................................... 225
Grade Tonnage Graph ......................................................................................................................... 230
Schedule Graph .................................................................................................................................... 232
Assessment .......................................................................................................................................... 237
Milawa ................................................................................................................................................... 238
Reporting .............................................................................................................................................. 257
Report templates ............................................................................................................................... 265
Value Calculation Block Size ................................................................................................................ 268
Exporting Data to Surpac ..................................................................................................................... 270
DXF File Export ................................................................................................................................. 270
Res File Export .................................................................................................................................. 273
Reporting from an Imported Res File in Surpac ................................................................................ 279
Msq File Export .................................................................................................................................. 281
Reporting from an Imported Msq File in Surpac ................................................................................ 286
Pit Design........................................................................................................................................... 288
Import Surfaces Node ........................................................................................................................ 289
PIL Export to Whittle .......................................................................................................................... 294
Review Exercise ................................................................................................................................... 304

Index ...................................................................................................................................... 305

Page 4 of 308

Introduction
Pit optimisation allows you to produce a model for pit design based on a block model with real world
constraints. This document introduces the theory behind the strategic mine planning process and
provides detailed examples using the block modelling and Whittle interface functions in Surpac, and the
Foundation, Multi-Analysis, Advanced Analysis and Milawa modules of Whittle.

Requirements
Before proceeding with this training guide, you need:

Surpac v6.3 installed


the data set accompanying this tutorial. The data includes the following files:
o topo2007.str
o topo2007.dtm
o pit4.str
o pit4.dtm
o pit7.str
o pit7.dtm
o bg_id2_070313.mdl
a basic knowledge of Surpac string files and editing tools
to have completed the Introduction to Surpac manual
to have completed the Block Modelling tutorial
Whittle v4.5 installed
some working experience of open-cut mining
some exposure to mine planning concepts, for example through interaction with planning
engineers

Objectives
The objective of this tutorial is to give you the skills to complete an optimised mining study using an
existing block model and other known inputs.

Workflow
The process described in this tutorial is outlined below:

validate the required geological parameters in the block model


add cost and slope information to the model
generate reports to allow validation of the export process and for comparison purposes
export a mod and par file
have a quick tour of Whittle using a different data set
import the mod and par file and validate the data
reblock and extend the model
add slopes
optimise and produce pit shells
define the operational scenario
analyse pits using graphs and spider diagrams and choose a final pit
export the results
create a file to import into Whittle using a pit design

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A theoretical discussion

Overview

A theoretical discussion
Overview
Before you start to use the software, the theory behind mine planning and pit optimisation is discussed
below.

Course Overview

Surpac and Whittle


Strategic Mine Planning

support-aa@gemcomsoftware.com

Phone: 1800 GEMCOM

Important Things First!

Exits
Toilets
Drinks
Breaks/Lunch
Questions

Page 6 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Course Overview

Course Goals

For given resource block model and input parameters,


know how to generate optimal shells and their reports
Able to complete an uncomplicated mine planning
study using Surpac and Whittle
Know steps involved in strategic mine planning
process
Know tools available in Surpac and Whittle

Attendance Requirements

Ability to create and edit block model


Working experience of open cut mining
Exposure to mine planning concepts (have spent time with
the planning engineers)
(No previous Whittle experience)
Access to block modelling software, and foundation, multi
analysis, advanced analysis and Milawa module in Whittle

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A theoretical discussion

Course Overview

Course Overview

theory of strategic mine planning and optimisation


define input parameters

create and validate optimisation block model (Surpac)


produce optimal shells (Whittle)
choose shells for further work (Whittle)
import results to enable pit design (Surpac )
create pit design to export pit design to Whittle (Surpac)

The Company

Gemcom is largest mine planning software company


in world
Major offices in Vancouver, Perth, and Brisbane and,
as of July 2012, part of Dassault Systmes, a world
leader in 3D design software
Gemcom products include Gems, Whittle, Surpac,
Minex, Insite, and Hub
Originally 4 companies with head offices in different
locations
Total of 360 employees in 20 office locations

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A theoretical discussion

Course Overview

Where theres mining, youll find Gemcom

Page 9 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Course Overview

Surpac and Whittle


Strategic Mine Planning

The Big Picture

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A theoretical discussion

Strategic Planning

Strategic Planning

Overview

Strategic Planning
Situation Analysis
Economic Evaluation
Decision-Making Behavior

What is strategic mine planning?

Strategic mine planning:


A combination of science and art.
It has at its core all the geological and engineering essentials
associated with extracting minerals from the earth: the
science
It also embrace all aspects of strategic business planning:
the art

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A theoretical discussion

Strategic Planning

Business Plan Components

Vision and Mission


Values
Sustainable Competitive Advantage
Strategic Thrust (cost, differentiation, niche)
Value Proposition
Objectives (major milestones)
Strategies

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A theoretical discussion

Situation Analysis

Situation Analysis

Situation Analysis

Size and structure of the markets


Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats (SWOT)
Forces driving change
Critical success factors (CSFs)
Competitor Analysis

Size and structure of the markets

Commodities Market
Share Market

(Income)

(Value)

Market Analysis (Perfect Market Reference)

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A theoretical discussion

Situation Analysis

Economic evaluation

You can t manage what you can t measure

How can you measure the value of a project?


Simple Cash flow analysis
Discounted Cash flow analysis (that is, NPV)

NPV Analysis

Advantages of net present value (NPV) analysis include:


Simple to calculate
Takes into account risk
Allows comparison of project with different risk profiles
Independent of inflation

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A theoretical discussion

Situation Analysis

NPV Analysis

Disadvantages of NPV Analysis include:

Does not take into account a project managers ability to


adapt to future changes as they occur.

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A theoretical discussion

Decision-making Behaviour

Decision-making Behaviour

Decision-making Behaviour

What are the corporate objectives?

The first and immutable objective of a public mining


company is to develop the shareholder value

Corporate Objectives

1.

Lowest quartile of the cost curve?

2.

Develop world class deposits?

3.

Hedge to protect investors of price market fluctuation?

4.

Not hedge to expose investors to the market?

5.

Increase value through expansion in reserves?

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A theoretical discussion

Decision-making Behaviour

Decision-making behaviour

Neutral to risk
Averse to risk
Sating the markets thirst (maximum reserves)
Cost positioning
Other

Decision -making behaviour

Neutral to risk
Maximize NPV
Risk-adjusted discount rate takes into account
opportunity cost and additional risk
Add positive NPV projects to your portfolio
When choosing mutually exclusive projects, choose
the one with the highest NPV

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A theoretical discussion

Decision-making Behaviour

Decision-making behaviour

Averse to risk
Choose shorter mine life, smaller pits, flatter slopes
Conservatism can lead to better chance of project
recovery.
Results in lower NPV

Decision-making behaviour

Sating the markets thirst for:


Earnings per share.
Cash Flow.
Dividend Yield.
Commodity and Reserve Exposure.
Market Value.
Maximisation of Reserves.

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A theoretical discussion

Decision-making Behaviour

Decision-making behaviour

Maximisation of reserves
Increase the metric by which the share market will
assess your value.
Possibly sacrifice NPV.
Increases propensity for share price to increase,
leading to increase in shareholder wealth.
Increase access to hedging and loans.

Other decision-making behaviour

Avoid short term loss.


Reconcile interests of employees, community, CEO etc.
Visions, and Missions.

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A theoretical discussion

Decision-making Behaviour

Which behaviour does your company use?


How would this affect your work?

Neutral
Averse
Sating the market
Cost positioning
Other

Decision-making behaviour

Undesirable Behavior
Mining to a prescribed cut-off.
Mining to a prescribed stripping ratio.

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A theoretical discussion

Decision-making Behaviour

NPV Curve

Design Criteria

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A theoretical discussion

Decision-making Behaviour

Maximum NPV
Of the mine

NPV
$m

Cost of
Production
NPV for the
$/oz
Selected pit

3500

300

3000

250

Decrease NPV
2500

200

2000

Increase
reserves

1500

150

If the corporate objectives are


to produce below $225/oz. The
capacity of the mine can be
increased by sacrificing NPV

1000
500

100
50

0
1

10

13

16

19

22

Pit number

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25

28

31

34

37

A theoretical discussion

Theory of Pit Optimisation

Theory of Pit Optimisation

Surpac and Whittle


Strategic Mine Planning

Theory of Pit Optimisation

Exploration

Principles of
Pit
Optimisation

Corporate
Objectives

Project
Scoping
Strategic
Mining
Software
Sensitivity
Analysis

Scheduling

Page 23 of 308

Risk
Analysis

A theoretical discussion

Mine Planning

Overview

Mine Planning

What is Pit Optimisation?

Optimisation Algorithms

Slopes

Block Value Calculation

Commodity Price

Whittle Concepts

Block Model Dimensions

Structure Arcs and Slopes

Costs

Generation of Pit Shells

Ore Selection Method

Mine Planning

Mine Planning
What does mine planning mean to you?

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A theoretical discussion

Mine Planning

What is mine planning?


Working out where, when, how and how
much to mine
Iterative process
Affected by corporate objectives, decisionmaking behaviour of company
Can reduce risk i.e. planning for change
creates robust pits that give you greater
ability to deal with fluctuating markets

Mine planning can ...

Identify the feasible domain


Identify the most profitable plan under different constraints
Rapidly evaluate many different alternatives
Help evaluate a wide range of consequences

..be a key contributor to the strategic decision making process

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A theoretical discussion

Mine Planning

What are some examples of mine planning


studies?

Types of mine planning

Reserve definition
Scoping study
Prefeasibility study
Feasibility study
Bankable feasibility study (BFS)
One-off question
Resource definition

Page 26 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Resource and Reserves

Resource and Reserves

Resources and Reserves


The Traditional View
Ore Body Model

Resources

Ultimate Pit Design

Cut-off Schedule

Reserves

Long-term Schedule

Short-term Schedule

JORC Code(2004) Resource & Reserve

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A theoretical discussion

Resource and Reserves

JORC Code(2004) - Mineral Resource

Resources require economic evaluation!

JORC Code(2004) - Ore Reserve

Reserves must be economically viable

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A theoretical discussion

Inputs

Ore Reserve Development Stages

Data collection and geologic interpretation


Geological block model construction
Mining dilution incorporation
Pit optimisation
Pit scheduling
Final design
Final schedule
Tabulation of reserve estimates

Inputs

Mining Factors

Human Nature

Interest Rates

Economic Uncertainty

Power
Costs
Capital
Costs

Dynamic and
constantly changing

Inflation

Commodity
Prices

Labour
Costs
Contractor
Costs

Mother Nature
Geological Uncertainty

Jointing
& Bedding
Lithology

Constantly changing
as more information
is collected

Faults
Mineralization
Limits & Types

Complex

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A theoretical discussion

Inputs

Geological uncertainty

Mineralisation limits
Mineralisation grades
Faults
Jointing and bedding
Lithology
Hydrology

Constantly
changing as
more
information
is collected

Topography

Economic uncertainty

Interest rates
Inflation

Dynamic
and
constantly
changing

Power costs
Capital costs
Commodity prices
Contractor costs
Labour costs

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A theoretical discussion

Inputs

Technical parameters

Slope angles
Tonnage & grade model
Dilution
Mining recovery
Milling recovery
Rock properties, continuity, & bulk density
Mining methods
Production Rates

Economic parameters

Discount rate
Mining costs
Processing & overhead costs
Commodity price

Page 31 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Pit Optimisation

Quick Review

True or false: Reserves (not resources) involve economic


evaluation
What do all parameters have in common?
Name 3 types of mine planning study.

Pit Optimisation

What is Pit Optimisation?

Answers some of the questions - how big and where


to mine?
Maximises cash flow
Provides nested shells - mine schedule
Where to start
How to schedule to maximize NPV

Page 32 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Pit Optimisation

Definition of Optimal Outline

AIR

WASTE

MINERAL

With fixed prices, costs and slopes:


the optimal outline is fixed

What is Optimum?

NPV

Potential value
improvement

Extra value
foregone

Strategy 1

Strategy 2

Selected
Pit size

Pit size

Page 33 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Pit Optimisation

Project Sensitivity

$3,000

Pit Value

$2,500
B
$2,000
A

$1,500
$1,000
$500
$0
0

2,000

4,000

6,000

8,000

10,000 12,000

Pit Tonnes

What Affects the Optimal Outline?


In general:

If the price increases, the pit gets bigger

If the costs increase, the pit gets smaller

If the slopes increase, the pit gets deeper

Page 34 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Pit Optimisation

What Affects the Optimal Outline?

Price
Costs
Slopes

Small Pit

Pit Size

Larger Pit

Fix these and


you Fix the
Optimal
Outline!

Quick Review

Draw typical NPV vs pit size graph


Where does the highest NPV pit sit?
Where does the least sensitive pit sit?
Name 3 factors that affect the optimal pit?
Which factor is most likely to affect the pit
the most?

Page 35 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Optimisation Algorithms

Optimisation Algorithms

Optimisation Algorithms

Floating Cone
and
Lerchs-Grossman

Floating Cone Method


Position an inverted cone, with the required slopes, on each
block that has a positive value
If the total value of all blocks in the cone is positive, mine
those blocks
Repeat these steps until no cone has a positive value
There are two problems could mine too little or too much.

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A theoretical discussion

Optimisation Algorithms

Three Dimensional L-G

Works with block values


Works with block mining precedences
Guarantees to find the three-dimensional outline with
the highest possible value

Quick Review

What are the two main types of optimisation algorithms?


Which one does Whittle use?
Which one is guaranteed to give the highest possible
value?

Page 37 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Slopes

Slopes

Slopes

What is an ARC?
C
An arc is a relationship between
two blocks. An arc from block A to
block B indicates that, if A is to be
mined, then B must be mined to
expose A. The reverse is not true.
If B is to be mined, block A may or
may not be mined.

Used to control pit slopes

Page 38 of 308

B
If A is mined
so is C
A

A theoretical discussion

Slopes

Arc Relationships

Arc from
A to B

If A is to be mined, B
must be mined to
expose A
The reverse is not true
If B is to be mined, A
may or may not be
mined

Benches

Slope accuracy depends on No. benches


used for arc generation

Desired Slope

Page 39 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Slopes

Slope Accuracy

Slope accuracy is controlled by the number of


benches used in arc generation for a given block
size
Exact slope accuracy is very unlikely because only
whole blocks are mined

Summary

Whittle uses arcs to represent slopes


Exact slope accuracy is unlikely
Accuracy is controlled by the number of benches used in
arc generation

Page 40 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Block Value Calculation

Block Value Calculation

Block Value Calculation

Block Value Calculations

Profit = Revenue - Costs


Value =
[ (Ore*Grade*Recovery* (Price-CostS))
- (Ore*CostP) ] - Rock*CostM)
Ore = ore tonnes
CostP = cost of processing
CostM = cost of mining
Rock = total tonnes

Page 41 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Block Value Calculation

In other words

Block Value = Revenue - Costs


Revenues can be calculated from:

Ore tonnages
Grades
Recoveries
Product price

Costs can be calculated from:

Mining cost
Milling cost
Overheads

What is Value?

Which Truck is Worth the Most?


1.
2.
3.

50 tonnes of 2g/t Gold


100 tonnes of 1 g/t Gold
150 tonnes of 0.5% Copper & 0.25 g/t Gold

Page 42 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Block Value Calculation

50 tonnes of 2g/t Gold

= [(2 * 50 * 92.5% * $12.30/g ) - (50 * $15)] - (50 * $1.20)

Revenue

Costs

[(1137.75) - (750)] - (60)

$327.75

100 tonnes of 1 g/t Gold

[(1*100 * 92.5%* $12.30/g) - (100 * $15)]- (100 * $1.20)

Revenue

Costs

[(1137.75) - (1500)]- (120)

-$242.25

Page 43 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Block Value Calculation

But wait!

If we just call this truck load waste


We only pay $120 to mine it.
We would be $122.25 better off

150 Tonnes of 0.5% Copper & 0.25 g/t Gold


Revenue from gold

= [(0.25*150

Revenue from Copper

* 50%* 12.30 + 0.5%*150 *75%*2094 )


- (150 * 8)]- (150 * 1.20)

Costs
[(230.625)+ (1177.875) - (1200) ]- (180)
1408.50- 1380

$28.50

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A theoretical discussion

Block Value Calculation

When does the truck go to the waste dump?

Whenever the cost of processing is higher than the


revenue, we should treat the truck load as waste

Value =
The Section in square
Brackets must => 0

[ (Ore*Grade*Recovery* Price) - (Ore*CostP) ] - Rock*CostM

In other words

The block will be mined regardless of the destination and


CostM will be incurred either way.
The decision of whether the truck is ore or waste (i.e. the cut
off grade) is made at the top of the pit.
The cut off grade is independent of mining cost a marginal
cut off grade.

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A theoretical discussion

Block Value Calculation

Marginal Cut-off

Marginal Grade

CostP
Recovery* Price

This marginal cut-off condition will change


whenever Processing costs, Recoveries or Prices
change!

Summary

Block Value = Revenue - Costs


Cut off grade is dependent on CostP,
metallurgical recovery and price.
Cut off grade is independent of CostM

Page 46 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Commodity Price

Commodity Price

Commodity Price

What commodity price do we realize?


Profit = [ (Ore*Grade*Recovery* (Price-CostS))
- (Ore*CostP) ]
- (Rock*CostM)

Price - Selling Cost


Refining
Royalty
Insurance
Market

Page 47 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Commodity Price

Commodity Price

Predictions are often not right


"Wall Street indices predicted nine out of the last five
recessions ! "
- Paul A. Samuelson in Newsweek, Science and Stocks, 19
Sep. 1966.

Commodity Price
Price most powerful influence on profit.
Future prices influenced by:
Historic/Statistical (trend, cyclical, random).
Forces driving change (in market analysis context).
Strategic responses:
Forecast future prices.
Plan to accommodate future uncertainty.
Decision points, mine life considerations.
Price control (hedging, become a price-setter).

Page 48 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Whittle Concepts

Whittle Concepts

Whittle Concepts

Whittle Block Model (mod file)

Block line

I J
19 36
19 36

Parcel line

I J
20 36
20 36

K No parcels MCAF

PCAF

tonnes

1 1
1 SULF

1.000
2160.

1.000
159.

2160.
769.

K ROCK

tonnes

1 1
1 SULF

1.000
2160.

Page 49 of 308

metal1
1.000
97.

metal2
2160.
305.

A theoretical discussion

Whittle Concepts

Whittle Framework Origin

Gemcom

Medsystem

Datamine
Vulcan
Whittle (Block 1,1,1)

Whittle vs Surpac
Whittle works in IJK which is number of blocks in x,y,z
Surpac works in N,E,RL which is coordinates in y, x, z
Whittle does not store gradeonly contained metal
Surpac has user blocks and (smaller) sub-blocks
Whittle has blocks and parcels
MCAF and PCAF and slope attached to blocks, ROCK and
grades attached to parcels

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A theoretical discussion

Whittle Concepts

Whats a Parcel?
Part of a block for which rocktype, tonnage, and metal
content are known
The total tonnage of the parcels may be the same or less
than the block tonnage
If the parcel tonnage is less than the block tonnage, the
remaining tonnage is undefined waste (unknown rocktype)
If a block has no parcels, the total tonnage of the block is
undefined waste
Neither the position of a parcel within a block, nor its shape
is defined UNLIKE sub-blocks in Surpac

Parcels
C1

Ore A

Tonnes A Metal A

Ore B

Tonnes B Metal B

Ore C1

Tonnes C1 Metal C1

Ore C2

Tonnes C2 Metal C2

Ore C3

A
C2
B

Tonnes C3 Metal C3

C3

Undefined Waste

Profit = (Ore*Grade*Recovery* (Price-CostS)) - (Ore*CostP) ] - Rock*CostM)


Metal A

Tonnes A

Tonnes A

Metal B

Tonnes B

Tonnes B

Metal C1

Tonnes C1

Tonnes C1

Metal C2

Tonnes C2

Tonnes C2

Metal C3

Tonnes C3

Tonnes C3
+

Undefined
Waste

Page 51 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Whittle Concepts

Parcels
In the previous diagram, each parcel is evaluated separately
to determine destination
Each parcel within a block can go to a DIFFERENT
destination i.e. ore and waste in the same block
Parcel size is important for selective mining issues

Summary
Whittle works in I,J,K not N,E,RL
Whittle stores contained metal, not grades
Whittle has blocks and parcels similar to Surpac blocks and
sub -blocks
Unlike Surpac, the location and shape of each parcel is unknown
And the sum of parcel tonnage may be less than block tonnage
(the rest is undefined waste )
Each parcel can go to a different destination

Page 52 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Block Model Dimensions

Block Model Dimensions

Block Model Dimensions

Different Block Dimension for Different Purposes

Geology - outlining the orebody

Mining - calculating values


Sensitivity analysis - pit value vs. price

Page 53 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Block Model Dimensions

Dimensions of a Block - Geology

Often depends on method of interpolation

1/dn interpolation often results in small block size

Kriged model often results in larger block size

Dimensions of a Block - Mining

Minimum block size is SMU size (smallest mining unit)


reblock geological blocks to SMU size (consider parcel size)

Equipment size
minimum working space
multiple SMUs in equipment size block
use template in Minimum Mining Width

Page 54 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Block Model Dimensions

Dimensions of a Block - Sensitivity


Analysis

Geological model often contains millions of blocks


Coarser approximation of grade distribution (100,000
blocks) sufficient for sensitivity analysis

Framework Expansion Easy to add blocks


in Whittle
Original Model
Extended topography
SubSub-region boundaries

X offset

Additional waste blocks

Z offset
Expanded Model

Page 55 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Block Model Dimensions

Adjusting Framework

Blocks that are added contain all of the information of


the last block in the mod file EXCEPT metal content
which is zero.
It is possible to increase and decrease block size and
framework

Page 56 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Slopes and Structure Arcs

Slopes and Structure Arcs

Slopes and Structure Arcs

Slopes

Rectangular regions (Whittle)


Rock codes (Mod file Character attribute in Surpac)
Zone Numbers (Mod file Integer attribute in Surpac)
Profile Number File (Text file containing I, J, K, Number)

Page 57 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Slopes and Structure Arcs

One method bearing and slope

Bearing

Slope Angle

20

42

77

38

135

46

180

42

260

38

335

44

If using bearing, be careful.

60

60
55

45

45

55

Constant

Constant

Slope

Slope

60

55

45
60

Slope is defined at four azimuth points


Between points the slope is interpolated

Slope is defined at six azimuth points


Between differing points the slope is interpolated
Between similar points the slope is constant

Page 58 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Slopes and Structure Arcs

Slope Bearings

It is very important to note that


bearings are given instead of wall
positions. Any walls at right angles
to the bearings, in a particular slope
region, will have the given slope
applied.

In the diagram, the slope


specified for a bearing of 45 degrees
would be used by the program in the
positions indicated by the arrows.

Slope Considerations
Rule of thumb bench search for arc generation in each
sub-region
(max(x,y) x 8) / z

Whittle uses overall slopes which need to include


allowance for the ramp

Page 59 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Slopes and Structure Arcs

Summary
Four possible slope methods
Remember Whittle uses bearings not wall positions.
Remember slopes are smoothed between bearings
Use overall slopes and make allowance for ramps
Whittle employs rule of thumb to calculate number of
benches for arc generation

Page 60 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Mining Recovery and Dilution

Mining Recovery and Dilution

Mining Dilution and Mining Recovery

Mining Dilution
Whittle defines dilution as extra waste taken to the mill
Ore tonnes are increased while metal is the same so
grade decreases.
For a dilution of 5% on 100t @ 2 g/t, the resulting ore is

100x1.05 t for 200g (grade = 200/105 g/t)


=105t @1.90g/t

Page 61 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Mining Recovery and Dilution

Mining Recovery
Whittle defines mining recovery as ore taken to the waste
dump
Ore tonnes and metal are decreased so that grade is the
same
For a recovery of 5% on 100t @ 2 g/t, the resulting ore is

100x0.95 t for 0.95x200g


=95t @2g/t

Mining Recovery and Dilution


Dilution

ORE

Mining Recovery
(extraction loss)

MINING LIMIT
Profit =
[ (Ore*Grade*Recovery* (Price-CostS)) - (Ore*CostP) ] - Rock*CostM)

x Mining Recovery

x Mining Recovery
x Dilution

Page 62 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Costs

Costs

Costs

Calculating Costs

Types of Costs

Units

Mining cost

$/tonne mined

Processing cost

$/tonne processed

Selling costs

$/unit of product

Some time costs must also be included

Page 63 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Costs

Block Value - Rule 1

The value must be calculated on the assumption that


the block has already been uncovered
Make no allowance for stripping

Block Value - Rule 2

The value must be calculated on the


assumption that the block will be mined
If block contains some ore that can be profitably
processed it should be included in the value of the block
- even if the total value of the block is negative.

Page 64 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Costs

Block Value - Rule 3

Any expenditure that would stop if mining stopped


must be included in the cost of mining, processing
or selling.
The converse is also true

Block Value Rule 4

No bias. Loading any cost estimate just to be


conservative must be avoided
Use sensitivity runs to determine the impact of cost
variations.
If you use bias you will end up with a smaller pit and a
lower NPV.

Page 65 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Costs

The Block Value Formula


VALUE = (METAL x RECOVERY x PRICE ORE x COSTP) ROCK x COSTM
METAL = units of product eg ore tonnes x grade
RECOVERY = Proportion of metal recovered from processing
PRICE = the price per unit of product sold
ORE = tonnes of ore in a parcel
COSTP = the extra cost of mining a parcel as ore and processing it
ROCK = total amount of rock (ore and waste) in a block
COSTM = the cost of mining a tonne of waste

Why Time Costs Must be Included


When Whittle adds a block
to the pit outline, it
effectively extends the life
of the mine.
Any extra costs which
result from extending the
life of the mine must be
paid for.

Page 66 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Costs

Sharing Time Related Costs


How costs are shared will depend on whether
production is limited by:
Mining
Processing, or
Marketing

Reference Block
Reference Block :
Used to calculate CAFs
Represents the base case
scenario for mining
Typically positioned at the
top of the pit
Does not have to
physically exist

Page 67 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Costs

Reference Block and Positional Cost Adjustment


Factors
Positional Cost Adjustment
Factor:
Increased mining cost
with depth
Variable mining cost for
ore and waste (equipment)
Variable processing costs
Applied either in Whittle
or Surpac

Profit =
[ (Ore*Grade*Recovery* (Price-CostS))
- (Ore*CostP) ] - Rock*CostM)
x PCAF

x MCAF

Summary
Cost must be in units of relevant activity
Any cost that continues when the production stops should NOT
be included in the optimisation
Do NOT add a stripping allowance or be conservative with the
parameters
CAFs are calculated from a reference block
The reference block does not have to exist but should give
CAFs >=1.

Page 68 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Pit Shells

Pit Shells

Generation Of Pit Shells

Revenue Factors
A simple way of scaling values to provide a range of pit shells
which are optimal for different prices
If the base price (RF=1) of gold is $800/oz
RF = 0.5 has a gold price of $400/0z
RF = 2.0 has a gold price of $1600/oz

Page 69 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Pit Shells

Parametric Pit Shells


Inner pit shells show where
it is best to begin mining
Intermediate pit shells
show possible practical
pushbacks
Pits near RF of 1 are
used for sensitivity and
risk analysis
Higher RF pit shells show
possible future expansions

Plan

Deriving Nested Pit Shells


A range of revenue factors
yields nested shells
A revenue factor of 1
corresponds to the
commodity price in the
parameter file
Revenue =
[ (Ore*Grade*Recovery* (Price-CostS)) - (Ore*CostP) ] (Rock*CostM)
x Revenue Factor

Page 70 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Pit Shells

Summary
Nested pits are generated by the revenue factors

Revenue factor is used to scale the commodity price


Inner pits used for cutback
Outer pits are used for infrastructure placement

Page 71 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Ore Selection Methods

Ore Selection Methods

Ore Selection Methods

Ore Selection Methods

Two main methods are cut-off or cashflow


In simple situations they will give the same result.
If expressions using cut-off grade variables are included
then you MUST use cashflow

Page 72 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Ore Selection Methods

Ore Selection Methods

Ore selection by cut -off:

Selection is done by comparing the grades of the material with precalculated processing cut-offs
If it does not satisfy the cut offs, it is treated as waste

Ore selection by cash flow:

Selection is done by comparing the cash flow which would be produced


by processing it and the cash flow which would be produced by mining it
as waste.
If the cash flow from processing it is higher, the material is treated as ore.
If not, it is treated as waste.

Ore Selection by Cut Off Single Element


CUTOFF = PROCESSING COST/RECOVERY *
PRICE
Often used since the cut-off grade is printed in the report.
BEWARE the reported cut-off grade is only valid for blocks
with PCAF=1
The cut-off grade is different for every block with a different
PCAF.

Page 73 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Ore Selection Methods

Ore Selection by Cash Flow

Profit =
[ (Ore*Grade*Recovery* (Price(Price-CostS)
CostS) - (Ore*CostP
(Ore*CostP)) ]
- Rock*CostM
Rock*CostM))

If in doubt, use cashflow.

Summary

Page 74 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Ore Selection Methods

Input
Finance

Mining

Commodity Price(s)
Price(s)

Costs

Discount Rate

Ore Selection

Corporate Objectives

Dilution & Recovery


Economic
Model

Geotech
Slope Stability

Metallurgy
Recovery

Geology

Costs

Tonnes

Processing Rates

Grade

CutCut-off Grades

Rocktypes

Page 75 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Course Workflow

Course Workflow

Surpac and Whittle


Strategic Mine Planning

Course Workflow

Page 76 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Course Workflow

Process Overview
In Surpac

In Whittle

Validate geological
parameters
Add cost & slope info
Generate reports for
validation
Export block model

Import model and validate


Reblock & extend framework
Add slopes
Optimise
Define operational scenario
Analyse pits using graphs,
schedules & spider diagrams
Select pits
Export res or msq or pit shells

In Surpac
Import res or msq or dxf
Design pits
Export pit design

In Whittle
import pit design
Scheduling & analyses

A Simple Mining Study


Start with geological block model including grade/s, sg,
rock codes (mdl in Surpac)
Ensure rock code is correct for optimisation purpose
Ensure all blocks have grades, sg and rock code (reports
and visual constraints)
Ensure no negative grades or sg (reports, assign value)
Ensure AIR definition is correct (topo dtm)
Ensure AIR blocks have sg=0, grades=0 (reports, assign
value)

Page 77 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Course Workflow

A Simple Mining Study

Define & allocate costs


Add mcaf attribute and fill (add attribute, assign value) Add
pcaf and fill (add attribute, assign value)
Finalise slopes
Add zone attribute and fill (add attribute, assign value)
Create bm reports for validation (bm report)
Export block model (mod and par file created)

A Simple Mining Study


Create new project
Import model into Whittle (Block Model Node)
Check Model Validity
Reblock model & extend (ReBlock Node - mod)
Pit slopes (Slope Sets Node - stu)
Check slope errors
Define costs and generate shells (Pit Shell Node -res)
Mining
Processing
Selling
Prices

Page 78 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Course Workflow

A Simple Mining Study


Add limits and $ (Operational Scenario node)
Add spider graph (Spider Graph Node)
What is project sensitive to?
Add pit by pit graph (Pit by Pit Graph Node)
Which is optimum pit?
Add a schedule graph (Schedule Graph Node)
Refine choice of ultimate pit
Choose cutbacks
Export pit shells ( res file from Pit Shells Node or msq
file from schedule graph )
Import res or msq file into Surpac (create mdl file)

A Simple Mining Study

Prepare data for design (slice bm)


Design pit
Assign cutback numbers to block model(assign value)
Create pit design
Import pit design into Whittle
Continue schedules and reports

Page 79 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Course Workflow

Advanced Analysis
Schedule
Best Case (inner shell out)
Worst Case (top down)
Specified (using pushbacks)
Detailed Cash flow
DCF (Discounted Cash Flow Analysis)
NPV (Net Present Value = Discounted Cash flows)
Adjustment for Time Costs
Variables changing with Time
IRR (Internal Rate of Return)
Sensitivity
Spider Diagram
Advanced sensitivities
(Custom Graphs & Advanced Analysis)

Advanced Optimizations
Cut-off Optimization
Stockpiles

Milawa (mining sequence and pushback choice)


Best NPV mode
Balanced mode
Blend Optimization
Bulk Mineral
Extractive Process
Practical Pushbacks (Minimum Mining Width AND mining
sequence AND pushback choice)

Page 80 of 308

A theoretical discussion

Course Workflow

Other Tools

Reblocking Tools
Parcels
Combining & Splitting Blocks
Calculating MCAFs & PCAFS
(Cost Adjustment Factors for each block)
Block Value Calculation
For Checking
Variables
Expression
Changing by time

Page 81 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Overview

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac


Overview
Using a typical set of data, including a geological block model and other inputs, you will create a validated
Surpac block model that contains an mcaf, pcaf, and a zone number. You will export the Surpac block
model to produce a mod and par file ready to use in Whittle.

Requirements
The data files required for this exercise are: bg_id2_070313.mdl, topo2007.dtm, topo2007.str

Getting started
Please note: This manual uses version 6.3 of Surpac.
Because this type of work is repetitive and can generate large numbers of files, it is vital to have a
structured file naming convention. For this course the data structure consists of several folders, named
according to data function, beneath a root folder of c:\training\data as shown in the following image:

1. In Windows Explorer, create a separate directory for the training data and beneath this directory
create a new directory called 1_originaldata and several others as shown above. Copy the data
files into the 1_originaldata directory.
VERY IMPORTANT Do NOT put spaces in the directory names.

Page 82 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Getting started

2. Before you start Surpac, right-click on the Surpac icon on the desktop. Change the Start in
directory to the one that you have just created.

3. Start Surpac.
4. Make it so that only the Main Menu and Block Model Menu are displayed by placing the mouse
pointer over a space on a menu or toolbar and right-clicking on the names of the menus you want
to show. Also display the Block Model Toolbar in the same way.
Note: Any instructions in this tutorial about accessing block model functions in this tutorial, refer
to either the Block Model menu, or the Block Model toolbar.
5. In the Navigator, right-click the training folder, and choose Set as work directory.
6. Under 1_originaldata, drag the block model file bg_id2_070313.mdl from the Navigator into
Graphics.
The block model is displayed in the Status bar at the bottom of the Surpac window as shown
below:

7. Choose Block model > Summary.


A form that summarises the properties of the block model is displayed.

Page 83 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Getting started

One of the important features of the block model to note is the number of user blocks in each direction
160 in Northing, 100 in Easting, and 75 in RL giving a total number of user blocks of 1.2 million. Whittle
has a limitation of 99999 blocks in any direction, but this block model does not have to be modified for
this limitation.
In addition, you can see from the list of attributes that three attributes exist which define gold grade, and
an additional three attributes could define the rock type litho, rock and weathering. An attribute called
sg exists for specific gravity, that is density. sg is a mandatory attribute. You can also see that some
attributes have a background value of -99.
8. Click Apply in the form to close it.

Page 84 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Getting started

The attributes are as follows:


Attribute name

Type

Decimals

Background

Au_cut20

Real

-99

Au_cut15

Real

-99

au_uncut

Real

-99

ave_dis

Real

-99

count

Integer

Litho

Character

Sed

min_dist_samp
Mined

Real

-99

Character

Num_samp

Integer

-99

Pass

Integer

Rescat

Character

UNCLASS

rock

Character

sg
Weathering

Real
Character

1.8
fresh

Only one attribute for grade is exported to Whittle so it is necessary to ask the person supplying the
geological data which gold grade is relevant. For this exercise, the au_cut15 attribute is the appropriate
attribute.
Often you have a situation where the original data is the resource block model which should not be
modified. Therefore the next step is to make a copy of the block model to preserve the original data.

Page 85 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Getting started

9. In the Navigator, highlight the 2_optimisation_bm directory, right-click, and choose Set as work
directory.

10. Choose Block model > Save As, delete the Model name, and type bg_opt_070322 to indicate
that this model is created for the purposes of optimisation.

11. Click Apply.


The three attributes needed for optimisation which you could source from the geological block model are:
1. grade attribute (in this case, au_cut15)
2. density (the sg attribute)
3. rock code
You could also generate a geotechnical attribute that defines slope types from the geological block
model.
Next you will investigate the model for a possible rock code and also a geotechnical code. The rock code
you choose depends on what data is required for later reporting purposes and also how the mining costs,
processing costs, and metallurgical recoveries are defined.

Page 86 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Getting started

Mining Cost ($/BCM)


Waste
RL from
RL to
RL centre L&H
D&B
Dewater Presplit
Rock Bolt Rehab
Total
400
380
390
1.31
0.30
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.08
1.69
380
360
370
1.82
0.15
0.04
0.00
0.00
0.08
2.08
360
340
350
2.32
0.52
0.04
0.00
0.00
0.08
2.95
340
320
330
2.72
0.96
0.06
0.00
0.00
0.08
3.82
320
300
310
3.29
1.56
0.06
0.05
0.06
0.08
5.09
300
280
290
3.64
2.10
0.06
0.05
0.06
0.08
5.98
280
260
270
4.29
2.40
0.06
0.05
0.06
0.08
6.93
260
240
250
4.44
2.88
0.06
0.05
0.06
0.08
7.56
240
220
230
4.69
3.22
0.06
0.05
0.06
0.08
8.15

Processing Cost ($/t ore)


Porphyry Only
Admin
Haulage Personnel Consumables
Process L&H add GC
Hcap
1.88
3.00
0.63
0.19
9.00
0.05
Oxide
1.88
3.00
0.63
0.19
9.00
0.20
Tran
1.88
3.00
0.63
0.19
10.25
0.27
Fresh
1.88
3.00
0.63
0.19
10.50
0.30
Ultramafics and Sediments
Admin
Haulage Personnel Consumables
Process L&H add GC
Hcap
1.88
3.00
0.63
0.19
9.00
0.05
Oxide
1.88
3.00
0.63
0.19
9.00
0.20
Tran
1.88
3.00
0.63
0.19
10.25
0.27
Fresh
1.88
3.00
0.63
0.19
10.50
0.30

2.05
0.50
0.45
0.41

Total
16.79
15.39
16.66
16.90

0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00

Total
14.74
14.89
16.21
16.49

Cost

Value

Unit

Comment

Administration

1.5 million

$ pa

Head office

Personnel

0.5 million

$ pa

Manager, eng, geo, surv, etc

Consumables

150,000

$ pa

Computers, vehicles, aerial survey

Ore Haulage

3.00

$/t hauled

Contractor costing

Overall Slopes in Degrees


Lithology

400 RL 320 RL

< 320 RL

Ultramafics

38 (1)

42 (4)

Sediments

40 (2)

48 (5)

Porphyry

44 (3)

55 (6)

Metallurgical Recovery
Weathering attribute

Recovery

Page 87 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Getting started

Hardcap

94%

Oxide

94%

Transition

94%

Fresh

90%

In this exercise, mining and processing costs have been defined by RL, weathering and lithology. You will
use attributes to hold the mining and processing costs. The metallurgical recoveries are listed by
weathering type, and schedules are required by weathering as well. The geotechnical zones are defined
by RL and lithological code. Next you will investigate the block model for relevant data.
10. Choose Display > Display block model to display the entire block model.
The following form appears:

11. Fill in the form as displayed in the previous image, and click Apply to draw the model with
block faces.

Page 88 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Getting started

Support desk tip


When I try to display my large block model (for example 300 MB), Surpac stops with a Smartheap Library
Out of Memory messages. What can I do?
There are two things you can do to deal with large block models running out of memory. Firstly go to
Customise > Default Preferences. In the left hand pane, choose System Options, and in the right
panel the last option is Java Virtual Machine. Change the Maximum heap size to 512. Secondly, the
option in the Draw Block Model form to use Point Cloud instead of Blocks uses much less memory and
is sometimes the difference between being able to display the model or not.
The model is centred in Graphics because the Rescale option is selected.

To get a better indication of where the ore deposit is located in the block model, you can add a graphical
constraint to display only the blocks where the gold value is greater than zero.

Page 89 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Getting started

12. Choose Constraints > New graphical constraint.


13. Enter the information as shown, and then click Apply.

The block model is displayed as shown:

Page 90 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Getting started

Note: For all functions that you can run either from the menu or from a toolbar, the first instance in this
document will refer to the menu command, and the subsequent instances will refer to the toolbar button.
For example, you can access the graphical constraint function from the toolbar button as shown below:

14. Rotate the constrained block model to gain familiarity with the deposit.
Next you will run a block model report to investigate the values in the weathering attribute.
15. Choose Block model > Report.
16. Enter the information on each form as shown, and click Apply on each form.

Page 91 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Getting started

For the following form, some of the options are explained for clarity.
Format Headers?
This option allows you to flag whether you wish to reformat the header fields in the table. When this
option is selected, all underscores are replaced with a space and each word begins with a capital letter.
This formatting generally produces neater looking results. When this option is cleared, the headers retain
their original formatting. This is useful for maintaining the integrity of data when importing and exporting
between applications.
Use Volume Adjustment?
Make a volume adjustment if the physical volume of a block is different to that implied by the dimensions
of the blocks in the model. For example, an expansion factor for excavated material, or if differential
dilution and reduction has been applied. Select `Yes' if you wish to use pre-determined volume
adjustments for blocks.
Geometric Grouping?
This allows you to report by groups of solids, strings, or DTMs.
Pivot Compatible?
If you output a report to CSV, and select Pivot Compatible, you can then insert a pivot table in Excel and
easily create a SUM or an AVERAGE for the data, or do other analysis using a pivot-table.

Page 92 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Getting started

By selecting to report all values for the character attribute of weathering, any blocks with a value of null
will also be reported.

Note:

The Keep blocks partially in the constraint check box changes the way the block is selected for inclusion in
the constraint. The default method in Surpac uses the centroids to define whether the block is inside or outside
the constraint. When Keep blocks partially in the constraint is selected, will include a block in the report if
ANY part of the block is inside the constraint (instead of the centroid being inside) Be careful using this check
box, because if you use it in reports such as the mineral inventory report, and do not use it in conjunction with a
volume adjustment factor, you will overestimate your resource.

Page 93 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Getting started

Leaving the constraints form blank as shown in the previous image will report on all blocks contained in
the block model.
The report appears similar to the following one. The weathering attribute contains the values of fresh,
transition, oxide and hardcap. Note that there are no blocks with a null weathering value. Some blocks
do contain the default au_cut15 value of -99 because the average values of Au Cut15 is close to -99. No
air blocks are present.

17. Create similar reports for the attributes of litho, rescat and rock.
Do any of these attributes contain null values? How many tonnes have been classified? Which attribute
appears to be the basis for the sg values?

Page 94 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Getting started

These reports show that it is reasonable to use weathering as the basis for the rock code required by
Whittle, litho for the geotechnical definition and to keep the following attributes for further processing:
Au_cut15
Sg
Litho
Weathering

Page 95 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Getting started

Next, for comparison purposes, you will note the size of the block model file.
18. In the Navigator, right click on the block model and choose Properties.
The file size is displayed in the message window 65,953,976 bytes. There are 1024 bytes in a KB, so
the file size in MB is approximately 62.9 MB.
19. Check that Block Model Audit is on by looking at the
button on the right side of the Block
Model Toolbar. If it is not recording, turn it on by clicking the button.
You can record a block model audit with a macro, which is very useful for both an audit trail and for use in
the next optimisation study. You will look at this function later in the course.

To speed up processing time and reduce hard disk space, you will delete the attributes that are not
required.
Note:

If attribute 2 is a calculated attribute that references attribute 1, you must delete attribute 2 before attribute 1.

20. Choose Attributes > Delete.


21. Enter the information on the form as shown below, and Apply the form.

Tip: Press TAB to navigate to the next line in the previous form, or press ALT+TAB to move to the
previous line in the form.
22. Save the block model and display the file size again in the Message window using the
Navigator.
The new block model is 30.1 MB in size which is less than half the size of the original. This is the
expected result because you have deleted more than half of the attributes.

Page 96 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Getting started

Support desk tip


Why delete unnecessary attributes?
There is a good reason to delete attributes in the block model that are not essential for the Whittle export.
These non-essential attributes could be causing sub-blocking to occur in the model. A major factor that
affects the process time in Whittle is the number of parcels in a Whittle model. The sub-blocks in a
Surpac model are converted into parcels in a Whittle model file. The non-essential attributes could cause
sub-blocks which create additional parcels in the mod file. By deleting these attributes, you ensure that
the minimum number of parcels is created in the mod file:
23. Before making any changes to values in the model, generate a block model report by
weathering for all blocks with Au_cut15>0.5g/t. (Using the previously created byweather.bmr
format file).
This will allow you to compare the geological model and the optimisation model.
Mineral inventory au_cut15>0.5g/t
Weathering

ktonnes

Au g/t

Au koz

Fresh

1,949.0

1.81

113

Transition

1,917.5

1.65

102

Oxide

887.5

1.76

50

Hardcap

101.5

1.42

Total

4,855

1.73

270

Page 97 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Rock Code

Rock Code
Whittle requires a code, which defines rock type, with character values that are no longer than 4
characters in length. For this rock code, Whittle has a limit of 250 values in total, that is 250 different rock
codes. Although it is not necessary, you will ensure that every block in the model has a value for the rock
code and that characters are uppercase to make it easier to read the report.
The weathering attribute is the basis of the rock code, but you need to define the air blocks as well. You
will modify the weathering attribute to include air blocks, and then add a calculated attribute called rock
which will satisfy the requirements of Whittle. Air blocks are defined by the topo2007 dtm. (It is vitally
important to check that this dtm covers the entire surface area of the block model.) You can assume
that the rest of the values for the weathering attribute are defined correctly.
1. Drag topo2007.dtm into Graphics to confirm that it covers the block model.

2. Choose Estimation > Assign Value.


3. Enter the information on the forms as shown, and click Apply on each form.

4. Click Yes when you are prompted to overwrite the block model.

Page 98 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Rock Code

It is vitally important that you perform a validation after every modification to the block model.
You can perform validations using

a graphical constraint
a block model report
colouring of the block model
block ID of individual blocks

Next you will visually check the weathering values by adding a graphical constraint for each value.
5. Add a graphical constraint to display the air blocks as shown in the following image:

Do the air blocks cover the entire area of the block model? Was the top of the model set too low?
Remove the graphical constraint and constrain the block model so that you can see each of the other
weathering types in turn. How thick are each of the weathering types?
6. Check that there are no null values in the weathering attribute.
You can find null values in two ways:

generate a block model report that is unconstrained and the tonnage of null values will be
reported
add a graphical constraint with a space for the value e.g. weathering=
(The form will not
accept a blank value for weathering but if you insert one space this is read as a null value.)

Next you will add the new rock code as a calculated attribute.
7. Choose Attributes > New.
8. Enter the information on the form as shown, and click Apply on the form.

Page 99 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Rock Code

The complete formula is as follows. You can copy and paste it into the Add attributes form.
iif(weathering="air","AIR",iif(weathering="hardcap","HCAP",iif(weathering="oxide","OXID",
iif(weathering="transition","TRAN","FRSH"))))
Character values are case sensitive so AIR and air are different values. Be very careful with capitals
and spelling. Note also that Surpac automatically converts the attribute name to lowercase regardless of
the case you enter in the form.
Tip: For more information about the syntax of expressions, open the Surpac help and search for the
topics: Expressions, and Block Maths.
Support desk tip
Problem hunting syntax errors
An easy way to find syntax errors in an expression is to copy the expression to Word or some text editor
and do the following:

Count the number of open and close brackets

Ensure character values (like OXID) have around them.

Ensure that an if statement starts with iif, not iff

Ensure an if statement has a , after the test, and value1 parts for example
iif(test,value1,value2)

Ensure values such as rock codes are spelt correctly

9. Check the file size of the block model after the addition of this calculated attribute.
10. Validate the new attribute and check that all blocks have a value for the rock attribute by creating
a new block model report.

Dont use ROCK as a rock code


Whittle does not allow you to use the value of ROCK or rock as a rock code. Ensure the rock code
attribute does not contain the word rock in either upper case or lower case.

Page 100 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Rock Code

Support desk tip


Layers of AIR
Multiple layers of AIR blocks cause problems in Whittle and should be avoided unless they actually exist.
An example of this issue is when the block model has been extended beneath an existing model and the
additional blocks have been given a rock code of AIR. Although this situation does not usually occur
when you use Surpac, you might experience this issue with data imported from other packages.
You have created the AIR blocks in this training course, but when this is not the case, ensure that you
perform a visual check on all AIR blocks. An easy way is to add a graphical constraint and make sure that
AIR blocks only occur above the intended topography.

Whats the difference between the block maths and the assign value functions?
The main difference between the two functions relates to saving the block model. The Assign Value
function is found under the Estimation menu and any function under that menu prompts for a Block Model
Save after the function is complete. Functions under the Attribute menu (including Block Maths) do not
prompt for a Block Model Save.
For the Assign Value function, it is not necessary to perform a Block Model Save. Use of either function is
personal preference. If Block Maths is used, and something went wrong with the model immediately after
the function (and before any manual save) then the changes will be lost from the model. If the Block
Maths function is used then it is important to regularly save the model manually using Block Model Save.
This training guide uses the Assign Value function to avoid manual saving of the model.

Page 101 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Gold Grade

Gold Grade
The Whittle export function requires at least one grade attribute. There are several possible conditions
that are invalid. You should test for these and rectify them if they exist:

negative grades
non-zero grades in blocks defined as air

For this exercise the gold grade attribute is au_cut15.


First you will clear any graphical constraints and display any blocks with negative grades.
1. Choose Constraints > Remove all graphical constraints.
2. Choose Constraints > New graphical constraint.
3. Enter the information on the form as shown, and Apply the form.

The block model is displayed as shown:

Page 102 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Gold Grade

The majority of the blocks in the model have the background value of -99 for gold grade.
Next, you will remove this constraint and display the air blocks with grades above 0.
4. Choose Constraints > New graphical constraint.
5. Enter the information on the form as shown, and Apply the form.

Note that each line typed into a constraint form can be used in a variety of combinations. Options for the
combinations include AND, OR and brackets. AND is equivalent to the intersection so that in the previous
example, for a block to be included in the constraint, it must fulfill BOTH lines a and b. OR is the
equivalent of a union. For a block to be included it must fulfill one or both of lines a and b.
The block model is displayed as shown in the following image:

Page 103 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Gold Grade

Blocks exist for both conditions, and you will modify these blocks next.
6. Choose Constraints > Remove all graphical constraints.
7. Choose Estimation > Assign value.
8. Enter the information on the forms as shown, and Apply each form.

Page 104 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Gold Grade

Next you will verify that the attribute assignment has given the expected result by viewing the attributes
for a random block.
9. Choose Attributes > View attributes for one block and select one of the blocks at the top of
the model.
The following form appears.

11. When you are finished with the form, click Apply.
12. Press ESC to stop examining blocks.
13. Visually verify that no blocks exist with negative gold grades by using the graphical constraint
function.
14. Using the Assign value function, set all grades to 0 for air blocks and then check that the change
was successful.
Page 105 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Gold Grade

15. Check the size of the mdl file.

Page 106 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Density

Density
The Whittle export function requires an attribute to define density. It is illogical for an air block to have a
density other than zero. If this occurs you should change the sg value.
1. Visually display air blocks with a non-zero density.
The block model appears as shown:

2. Set the density of the air blocks to 0 and visually check that the changes were successful.
3. Check for other illegal values such as a negative sg or a zero sg in blocks that are NOT air.
4. Using the Navigator, display the size of the block model, which is approximately 32.7 MB.
5. Generate a new block model report using the rock.bmr format file for all blocks with au_cut15 >
0.5.

Page 107 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Density

You can compare the previous report with the same report for the id2 block model to quantify the
changes in tonnes, grade and contained metal.
Mineral inventory au_cut15>0.5g/t
Rock
Hardcap

ktonnes

Au_cut15 g/t

Variance with bg_id2_070313


Au koz

ktonnes

Au_cut15 g/t

Au koz

98.3

1.45

-0.1%

0.0%

0.0%

887.5

1.76

55

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

Tran

1,917.5

1.65

112

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

Fresh

1,949.0

1.81

124

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

Total

4,852

1.73

296

-0.1%

0.0%

0.0%

Oxide

Note that the changes have only occurred in the top-most rock code where the air definition has
influenced sg and grade.
6. Check that there are no blocks with sg=0 beneath the topo and that no negative values for sg
exist.
It is a good idea to make this check unless that situation is intended.

Page 108 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Assessment

Assessment

Theory Assessments
Draw a NPV/Tonnes curve
Which pit has the highest NPV?
Which pit is the least sensitive to change?
What controls slope accuracy in Whittle?
How does Whittle store the location of the block?
What is the difference between parcels and subblocks?

Exercise 1 Assessments

What are the 4 ways to validate a change in the block


model?
Why is it important to delete unnecessary attributes?
What 3 types of data could be sourced from the
geological block model?
What needs to be checked about the topo dtm?

Page 109 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Slopes in Whittle

Slopes in Whittle

Surpac and Whittle - Strategic Mine Planning

Slopes in Whittle

There s More Than One Way .

In Whittle there are several ways to present slopes


You can include the slope information in the mod
file or input it into the Whittle GUI

Page 110 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Slopes in Whittle

Slopes

Rectangular regions (Whittle)


Rock codes (Mod file Character attribute in Surpac)
Zone Numbers (Mod file Integer attribute in Surpac)
Profile Number File (Text file containing I, J, K, Number)

Slopes

Page 111 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Slopes in Whittle

Slopes

Benches

Slope accuracy depends on No. benches


used for arc generation

Desired Slope

Page 112 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Adding Slopes to the Surpac Block Model

Adding Slopes to the Surpac Block Model


A geotechnical study has recommended slopes by depth and lithology. An allowance has been made for
a 20 metre wide ramp. The following overall slopes are the basis for the zone attribute value (shown in
brackets):

Overall Slopes in Degrees


Lithology

400 RL 320 RL

< 320 RL

Ultramafics

38 (zone 1)

42 (zone 4)

Seds

40 (zone 2)

48 (zone 5)

Porphyry

44 (zone 3)

55 (zone 6)

You could add the attribute as an integer, and then fill it using the Assign Value function or you could add
it as a calculated attribute. You will try both methods to illustrate the difference in file size and time
required.
First you will add the attribute as an integer.
1. Choose Attribute > New, and enter a name of zone, type of integer and background value of 1.
2. Using the Assign value function, fill the attribute with the zone numbers (1 to 6) shown in the
table above.
3. When you are finished, display the properties of the block model file.
The integer attribute adds 4 MB to the file size of the block model.
4. Delete the zone attribute using Attributes > Delete.
5. Display the block model file size, and check it has returned to the previous size.
6. Choose Attributes > New.
7. Enter the information shown below, and Apply the form.

The full formula to calculate the zone attribute is:


iif(litho="Ultramafics",iif(_zcen>320,1,4),iif(litho="Seds",iif(_zcen>320,2,5),iif(_zcen>320,3,6)))
Notice that the syntax for attribute formulae does allow spaces (everywhere except within character
values like Ultramafics. The syntax also allows the iif command to be in upper case (for example, IIF).
8. Again, use the Navigator to display the size of the block model file.
Page 113 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Adding Slopes to the Surpac Block Model

The calculated attribute does not increase the block model file size. The calculate attribute is faster to
add, quicker to process, and you can edit the formula without having to delete the attribute and add it
again.

Page 114 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Costs in Whittle

Costs in Whittle

Surpac and Whittle


Strategic Mine Planning

Cost Handling

There s More Than One Way .

In Whittle there are several ways to present costs for


mining and processing
Costs can be included in the mod file or input into the
Whittle GUI

Page 115 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Costs in Whittle

Mining Costs
Single value (Reference cost in Whittle)
Value or expression for rock codes (Mining CAF in Whittle)
Single expression (Whittle)
MCAF (Mod file attribute in Surpac)

Processing Costs

Value or expression for rock codes (Reference cost in


Whittle)
An expression (Whittle)
PCAF (Mod file attribute in Surpac)

Page 116 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Costs in Whittle

Processing Costs

Block Value Rule 3

Any expenditure that would stop if mining stopped must be


included in the cost of mining, processing, or selling.
The converse is also true
Every block added to the outline extends the life of the mine.
cost incurred by extending the mine life must be paid for.

Page 117 of 308

The extra

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Costs in Whittle

Block Value Rule 4

No bias. Loading any cost estimate just to be conservative must


be avoided
Use sensitivity runs to determine the impact of cost
variations.
If you use bias you will end up with a smaller pit and a lower
NPV.

The Block Value Formula

VALUE = (METAL x RECOVERY x PRICE ORE x COSTP) ROCK x COSTM

METAL = units of product eg ore tonnes x grade


RECOVERY = Proportion of metal recovered from processing
PRICE = the price per unit of product sold
ORE = tonnes of ore in a parcel
COSTP = the extra cost of mining a parcel as ore and
processing it
ROCK = total amount of rock (ore and waste) in a block
COSTM = the cost of mining a tonne of waste

Page 118 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Costs in Whittle

Reference Block
Reference Block :
Used to calculate CAFs
Represents the base case
scenario for mining
Typically positioned at the
top of the pit
Does not have to
physically exist

Calculating Costs

Types of Costs

Units

Mining cost

$/tonne mined

Processing cost

$/tonne processed

Selling costs

$/unit of product

Some time costs must also be included

Page 119 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Costs in Whittle

What to Include?
Costs to Include
Incremental (or variable) Costs
Directly proportional to tonnage or unit of product
Wages, fuel, explosives etc
Costs must be included in the associated activity (e.g. drilling in mining)

Costs that May or May NOT be Included


Expenses that are related to time NOT production (fixed)
INCLUDE expenses that would stop if mining stopped
EXCLUDE expenses that would not stop if mining stopped

Include

Time costs which would stop if mining stopped:


Site administration
Site infrastructure maintenance
Interest on working capital loan
Capital replacement
Truck purchase (long project)

Page 120 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Costs in Whittle

Mining Costs Examples ($/t MINED)


Drill & Blast
Load & Haul
Mine Services

Dayworks
Mobilisation/Demobilisation
Site Clearing & Topsoil

Geological
Grade control
In-pit supervision
Surveying

Support (Geotechnical)

Dewatering

Process Costs Examples ($/t PROCESSED)


Ore handling (additional
costs)
Grade control
Stockpile management
Crushing & Grinding
Reagants
Mill Services
Maintenance

Page 121 of 308

Ore Handling Example:

Waste mining = $0.82/t


Ore Mining = $1.54/t
Treatment = $7.37/t
COSTP = $8.09
(1.54 - 0.82 + 7.37)

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Costs in Whittle

Selling Costs ($/unit of Product)


Refining & Smelting
Bullion/Metal Transport
Insurance
Marketing
Shipping (to customer)

Time Costs ($/year)


Interest on working capital
loan

Camp costs
Administration

Capital replacement

Communication

Truck purchase (long


project)

Legal Services
Safety & Training
Any Other Fixed Costs

Page 122 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Costs in Whittle

Why Time Costs Must be Included


When Whittle adds a block
to the pit outline, it
effectively extends the life
of the mine.
Any extra costs which
result from extending the
life of the mine must be
paid for.

Sharing Time Related Costs


How costs are shared will depend on whether
production is limited by:
Mining
Processing, or
Marketing

Page 123 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Costs in Whittle

Production Limited by Mining

Example:

Heap leach operation

Every block that is mined


extends the life of the mine.
Time costs should be added
each block that is mined
Therefore add to mining costs.

Production Limited by Processing

The most common scenario

Gold CIP/CIL

Only mining of ore blocks


extends the life of the mine.
Ore block values should include
an allowance for time costs.
This should be added to the
processing cost

Page 124 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Costs in Whittle

Production Limited by Sales


Output limited by market
capacity

Psst! Wanna buy


some diamonds?

Most industrial minerals


Coal, iron ore

Time costs are added to the


selling cost
Cost expressed as $/unit of
product

How Time Costs are Calculated


In each case, the amount added is the annual cost
divided by the throughput limit per year.

OR

Page 125 of 308

OR

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Costs in Whittle

Size Really Does Matter!


Mmm
!

To express costs as a per tonne or per


unit basis, you must first make
assumptions about the production rate.
If the size of the pit produced by your
optimization makes these assumptions
inappropriate, the costs must be
recalculated and the optimization done
again.

DIRECT COSTS (easy)

Mining

Processing

Comments

Blasting
Load & Haul
Miner's Wages

Reagents
Stockpile management
Mill Wages

Are easily determined

Page 126 of 308

cost per unit of


production.

Stop ?

YES

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Costs in Whittle

CAPITAL COSTS (easy)

Mining

Processing

Comments

Stop ?

Exploration
Costs

Cost of Mill

Must be depreciated
over the life of a
project (or pit)

NO

FIXED COSTS

Mining

Processing

Mine Admin Mine Admin


Can be applied
on either side

Comments
These stop when
mining stops but
should they be mining
or processing costs?

Page 127 of 308

Stop ?

YES

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Costs in Whittle

On-Site Services (Complex)

Mining

Processing

Grade Control Grade Control

Rehabilitation

Maintenance

Comments

Stop ?

Not always obvious


where the cost should
be applied. often the
cost actually has two
or more components

Bank Loan Charges

Mining

Processing

Working capital Up front fee on


loan to build
for pre-strip
mill

(complex)

Comments

Stop ?

Repayments,
fees and interest

Page 128 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Costs in Whittle

Compensation

Mining

Processing

Land Holders Royalties

Comments

Stop ?

Including fees and


royalties

Road ?
Maintenance

Example Time Cost Calculation

Time Costs per year

$980,000

Expected annual mill throughput

1,000,000t

Time costs per tonne milled

$0.98/t

Expected annual mine fleet capacity

4,000,000t

Time costs per tonne mined

$0.24/t

Page 129 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Costs in Whittle

Example Time Cost Calculation cont.

Incremental Costs ($/t)


Bench

Mining Waste

Mining Ore

Extra for
mining Ore

Milling Ore

$1.05

$1.87

$0.82

$8.25

$1.17

$2.15

$0.98

$8.25

$1.29

$2.47

$1.18

$8.25

$1.41

$2.84

$1.43

$8.25

$1.53

$3.26

$1.73

$8.25

Example Time Cost Calculation


With throughput limit on MILLING ($/t)

Bench

Mining
Waste

Milling Ore

Extra for
Mining Ore

Time Cost

Milling Cost
COSTP

$1.05

$8.25

$0.82

$0.98

$10.05

$1.17

$8.25

$0.98

$0.98

$10.21

$1.29

$8.25

$1.18

$0.98

$10.41

$1.41

$8.25

$1.43

$0.98

$10.66

$1.53

$8.25

$1.73

$0.98

$10.96

Page 130 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Costs in Whittle

Example Time Cost Calculation


With throughput limit on MINING ($/t)
Mining
Waste

Time
Cost

Mining
COSTM

Milling
Ore

Extra for
Mining Ore

Milling Cost
COSTP

$1.05

$ 0.24

$1.29

$8.25

$0.82

$9.07

$1.17

$ 0.24

$1.41

$8.25

$0.98

$9.23

$1.29

$ 0.24

$1.53

$8.25

$1.18

$9.43

$1.41

$ 0.24

$1.65

$8.25

$1.43

$9.68

$1.53

$ 0.24

$1.77

$8.25

$1.73

$9.98

Bench

Example 1
Cost of Processing Mill

Assume the mill cost $10 million to build


If the mine were to be shut down shortly after opening,
the mill will have:
A salvage value
An unrecoverable amount (sunk cost)

Page 131 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Costs in Whittle

Unrecoverable Amount ($4 million)

An upfrontor sunk cost


Enter as an Initial Capital Expenditure in Operational
Scenario
OR
Subtract from optimized value of pit

Salvage Value ($6 million)

Extent of Salvage Value will depend on:


Ongoing maintenance and capital replacement
Theoretically the $6 million is recoverable and is therefore not a cost
However maintenance and capital replacement would stop if mine sto pped
so include as Time Cost

Alternately only essential maintenance carried out & mill value


gradually declines over life of mine
The expected rate of reduction should be treated as a time
cost

Page 132 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Costs in Whittle

Example 2 - Trucks

If the expected life of the mine is shorter than the life of the
trucks treat same as mill
If life of mine is long progressive truck purchases would stop
if mining stopped. Cost of replacement must be averaged over
the life of the mine and treated as a time cost

Example 3 Administration Costs

On-site admin usually stops if mining stops. If it will stop


include as a time cost.
Head office admin may or may not stop if mining stops
therefore such costs may or may not be included.

Page 133 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Costs in Whittle

Example 4
Loan for Initial Costs

Repayment of a loan to cover upfront (sunk costs) must


continue if mining stops.
Costs should not be included in Block Value.
However unless the mine is able to service the cost from cash
flow, the project should not proceed.
Can be added as an upfront capital cost in operational scenario

Example 5
Loan for Recoverable Costs

Cash borrowed for working capital or capital replacement


would be repaid if mining stopped.
Therefore interest paid on such a loan would stop if mining
stopped.
Include interest cost as a time cost.
Use real interest rate not notional rate

Page 134 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Costs in Whittle

Example 6 - Grade Control

Often necessary to do grade control on waste as well as ore.


Technically correct to identify such waste and add cost of grade control.
Experience has shown that this can be a waste of time.
Quicker approach is to estimate cost of grade control of ore and waste
and load to ore blocks.

Example 7 Cable Bolts


Cable bolts permit wall steepening
Reduces size of pit and saves waste stripping
Transform cost to $/t waste

Page 135 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Costs in Whittle

Cost Adjustment Factors

Whittle assumes all costs are calculated for a particular block


called the Reference Block
The Reference Block can be anywhere
Mining & Process costs are worked out for the Reference
Block even if there is no appropriate material in that block

Cost Adjustment Factors

Whittle deals with variation in these costs with positional


cost adjustment factors
Mining CAF = Mining Cost/Reference Mining
Process CAF= Process Cost/Reference Process

Usually Mining increases with depth


A second rock-type adjustment factor can be applied to
waste mining in the mining cost table.

Page 136 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Costs in Whittle

Cost Adjustment Factors

Positional Cost Adjustment Factors can be added using


Range Expression in Whittle
Best to use Surpac to calculate CAFs for individual blocks
MCAF = Mining Cost / Ref COSTM
PCAF = Process Cost / Ref COSTP

Page 137 of 308

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Adding Costs to the Surpac Block Model

Adding Costs to the Surpac Block Model


In Whittle, costs are divided into three types:
1. Costs that apply to every block mined are known as mining costs with units of $/t mined.
2. The extra cost of mining and processing ore, applying only to blocks processed, are known as
processing costs with units of $/t processed.
3. Costs associated with the end product (the bar of gold in this case) are known as selling costs
with units of $/element unit($/g).
The project is situated in the Goldfields of Western Australia with a head office in Perth. Currently the mill
is fed by an existing pit that is finishing soon and most of the costs have been collected or forecast using
the existing pit actual costs. The project is the only source of ore at the time it will be mined. The mill
capacity is 800,000 tpa. Because mining is being undertaken by contractors, there is more flexibility with
the mining capacity. For this exercise you will use a nominal mining capacity of 3,000,000 BCM pa.
Costs for this project are listed below:
Cost

Value

Unit

Comment

Administration

1.5 million

$ pa

Head office

Personnel

0.5 million

$ pa

Manager, eng, geo, surv, and so on

Consumables

150,000

$ pa

Computers, vehicles, aerial survey

Ore Haulage

3.00

$/t hauled

Contractor costing

A mining contractor has provided the following pricing:


Mining Cost ($/BCM)
Waste
RL from
RL to
RL centre L&H
D&B
Dewater Presplit
Rock Bolt Rehab
Total
400
380
390
1.31
0.30
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.08
1.69
380
360
370
1.82
0.15
0.04
0.00
0.00
0.08
2.08
360
340
350
2.32
0.52
0.04
0.00
0.00
0.08
2.95
340
320
330
2.72
0.96
0.06
0.00
0.00
0.08
3.82
320
300
310
3.29
1.56
0.06
0.05
0.06
0.08
5.09
300
280
290
3.64
2.10
0.06
0.05
0.06
0.08
5.98
280
260
270
4.29
2.40
0.06
0.05
0.06
0.08
6.93
260
240
250
4.44
2.88
0.06
0.05
0.06
0.08
7.56
240
220
230
4.69
3.22
0.06
0.05
0.06
0.08
8.15

The metallurgical recoveries and costs have been provided on the basis of weathering while grade
control will be conducted in the hardcap and oxide as sampling of ditchwitch lines in porphyry material
only. The grade control for transition and fresh material will be blast hole sampling of porphyry material
only.
Possible processing costs are shown in the following table:
Processing Cost ($/t ore)
Porphyry Only
Admin
Haulage Personnel Consumables
Process L&H add GC
Hcap
1.88
3.00
0.63
0.19
9.00
0.05
Oxide
1.88
3.00
0.63
0.19
9.00
0.20
Tran
1.88
3.00
0.63
0.19
10.25
0.27
Fresh
1.88
3.00
0.63
0.19
10.50
0.30
Ultramafics and Sediments
Admin
Haulage Personnel Consumables
Process L&H add GC
Hcap
1.88
3.00
0.63
0.19
9.00
0.05
Oxide
1.88
3.00
0.63
0.19
9.00
0.20
Tran
1.88
3.00
0.63
0.19
10.25
0.27
Fresh
1.88
3.00
0.63
0.19
10.50
0.30

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2.05
0.50
0.45
0.41

Total
16.79
15.39
16.66
16.90

0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00

Total
14.74
14.89
16.21
16.49

Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Adding Costs to the Surpac Block Model

Note that the load and haul component listed above is only the extra cost of mining ore, over and above
the cost of mining waste. For example, in the hardcap, waste costs $1.31/BCM to mine while ore costs
1.31 + (0.05*sg) = $1.40/BCM to mine.
For this exercise the mining costs and processing costs are contained in the mod file. You should add
those costs as attributes in the Surpac block model.

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Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

MCAFs

MCAFs
Instead of adding the mcaf as a real attribute and using the assign value function based on RL, you can
define the mcaf as a formula (line of best fit) and add it as a calculated attribute. The table of mining costs
on page 6 gives the total unit mining cost in $/BCM. A reference mining cost must be chosen so that the
MCAFs can be calculated. Choosing the highest defined cost of $1.69/BCM as the reference cost and
dividing by the density of 1.8 for hardcap, the reference cost (or COSTM) is $0.94/t.
You will add the mining cost per BCM to the model as the formula based on RL, and use calculated
attributes for mining cost per tonne and MCAF. You can use a spreadsheet to graph the mining cost
($/BCM) versus RL, and a line of best fit found as shown in the following graph:
Mining cost $/bcm vs RL

y = -0.0437x + 18.453
R2 = 0.991

9.00
8.00
7.00

$/bcm

6.00
5.00
4.00
3.00
2.00
1.00
0.00
200

250

300

350

400

RL

When you generate the formula from a graph using Excel, make sure you use a graph type of XY Scatter
graph rather than a Line graph. Also always check the formula before using it, by manually calculating the
cost for a given RL.
1. Add the following calculated attributes:
Attribute

decimals

expression

mincost_pbcm

-0.0437*_zcen + 18.453

mincost_pt

iif(sg=0,1,mincost_pbcm/sg)

mcaf

mincost_pt/0.94

Note that it is important to test for impossible conditions and deal with them in any expression. When a
block has sg = 0, then mincost_pt has a divide by zero error if no test is included. In this case, a warning
message appears in the Message window and the attribute is given a value of -1. There is no fatal error
and it is possible to export a model with these negative values.
Be careful, when you add attributes, to ensure that the type is calculated and not real. If you choose
real, the formula will be seen as a description and all of the blocks will have a value of 0. An easy way to

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Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

MCAFs

tell that the attribute is calculated while the form is displayed is that the background value is greyed out. If
you choose real, the background value is white.
Note for using calculated attributes: The benefit of using calculated attributes is that you can change the
formula without having to delete the 3 formulae. However if you modify mincost_pbcm, only the updated
values for mincost_pbcm are immediately shown. To see the correct values for the mincost_pt and mcaf
attributes, you must close and open the block model.
2. Visually check some blocks for the expected values of the new attributes.

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Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

PCAFs

PCAFs
For this exercise, processing cost is dependent on both lithology and weathering. If the processing cost is
only dependent on weathering, you could enter it in Whittle because you have chosen weathering as the
basis for the rock code.
In Whittle, each rock code has its own reference processing cost rather than one processing cost for all
codes as you used for mining cost.

You will use the hardcap processing cost as the reference cost (or COSTP) for the two groups of costs
porphyry and others (ultramafics and sediments).

Porphyry
Total
Pcaf
Hcap
16.79
1.0000
Oxide
15.39
0.9166
Tran
16.66
0.9923
Fresh
16.90
1.0066
Ultramafics and Sediments
Total
Pcaf
Hcap
14.74
0.8779
Oxide
14.89
0.8868
Tran
16.21
0.9655
Fresh
16.49
0.9821
COSTP for all rock codes is $16.79.
1. Add a pcaf attribute to the block model in Surpac, and assign it the pcafs shown in the previous
table using a calculated attribute.
The relevant formula is:
iif(rock="AIR",1,iif(litho="Porphyry",iif(rock="HCAP",1,iif(rock="OXID",0.9166,iif(rock="TRAN",0.9
923,1.0066))),iif(rock="HCAP",0.8779,iif(rock="OXID",0.8868,iif(rock="TRAN",0.9655,0.9821)))))
2. Save the block model.
3. Validate that the pcaf attribute has been correctly set, either by viewing attributes for several
blocks, or by running a block model report.

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Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

PCAFs

All of the block model functions performed on the model so far, have been stored in the block
model audit trail.
4. To display the audit trail, choose Block Model > Display Model Audit Trail.
A form similar to the following one appears.

You can change or delete the comments shown next to each function. You can also save the
audit trail as a macro and use it in the future.
5. Click Save as Macro in the Audit Trail form, type the macro name of bmaudit, and Apply the
form.
6. Right-click on bmaudit.tcl, and select Edit.
Note:

Be careful not to double-click the tcl file in the Surpac navigator because this will run the macro.

You could use parts of this macro on another project with only small modifications.
Support desk tip
A valid Whittle model file does not contain any mcafs or pcafs that are zero or negative. In this case you
have generated the mcafs and pcafs so that they cannot be 0 or negative. When mcafs or pcafs are
defined in a different way, always perform a check for 0 or negative values:

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Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Exporting the Mod and Par files

Exporting the Mod and Par files


The block model contains the appropriate attributes and they have been validated. The final step is to
export the mod and par files. Apart from the names of the attributes for rock, sg, mcaf, pcaf, zone, and
grade, the export function has several other options.
You can export the mod file as fixed format, or free format. Fixed format is easier to read but free format
produces a smaller file and is easier to edit, so use free format. Remember that Whittle works with X,Y,Z
axes whereas Surpac uses Y,X,Z axes.
The export function has several options for the export block size. The form will use the minimum block
size by default but it is possible to export at any block size that is a multiple of 2 of the user block size.
Each sub block will be exported as a separate parcel in the mod file. Whittle has a limit of 999 parcels per
block and 99999 blocks in any direction. Due to the limitations it is recommended to export at the user
block size or the minimum block size to ensure the limit is not reached. You can perform reblocking in
Whittle.
You can define mcaf and pcaf in two ways for the export

Attributes (as we have done)


Values (simply type in a value to be used for the caf in every block in the model, typically a value
of 1 is used as the default)

The Surpac export function requires an attribute or value for mcaf and pcaf however it is possible to leave
the input box blank. If no attribute or value is entered, Surpac will automatically use the first real attribute
in the attribute list sorted alphabetically, in the place of the particular caf attribute. For this reason,
ALWAYS have an attribute or value for mcaf and pcaf even if it only contains the value of 1 for all blocks.
The rock code for air is required and also the rock code for waste. If it is known that some blocks
definitely have no grade and there is no need to differentiate between the rock codes for waste, then you
can enter a single rock code for waste. Usually the different types of waste will be required for scheduling
or cost purposes and it is best to allow the optimisation process in Whittle determine what is waste and
what is ore. In this case, it is acceptable to enter a code for waste that does not exist in the block model.
The form requires that you enter a value.
The export function also has an option to validate the Surpac block model for Whittle requirements. Many
of the checks that have been performed manually are checked BEFORE a mod and par file are created.
After the validation is complete, a report is written. If any blocks contain values that are illegal, the value
of WTLERROR is written to an attribute created for error identification purposes. You do not have to
perform validation before export, however it is recommended that you validate each time an export is
performed.
The form contains additional fields for Block value (a mod file format not covered in this course), mine
number (if multiple projects are to be seen as one project in Whittle) and an entire section on Pit List file
export.
The volume adjustment attribute is used to modify the ore tonnes in a block but NOT the total block
tonnes. This attribute is a factor less than one i.e. 0.8 not 80%. If the block has 100t @ 2 g/t, without the
volume adjustment the ore parcel contains 200g. If the volume adjustment was 0.5 then the total block
tonnes remain 100t and the parcel contains 50t @ 2 g/t for 100g.
1. Choose Block Model > Export > to Whittle.
2. Enter the information in the following form, and Apply the form.

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Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Exporting the Mod and Par files

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Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Exporting the Mod and Par files

The required attributes are:


Description

Attribute Type

Rock code

Character or calculated

Mcaf

Real, float or calculated

Pcaf

Real, float or calculated

Zone

Integer or calculated

Sg

Real, float or calculated

Mine number

Integer or calculated

Block value

Real, float or calculated

Grades

Real, float or calculated

The error report is automatically opened in your default text editor. If the validation failed, no mod and par
file will be created. An example of a validation report from a block model that passed the tests is shown
below.

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Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Exporting the Mod and Par files

The export report is also opened in the default text editor. This will be used for validating the import into
Whittle later on.

After the validation and export reports are displayed, a par file, and a mod file of 75.8 MB size, are
created.
3. Open the mod and par files in a text editor.
4. Compare the mod file to the file format shown on page 50.

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Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Exporting the Mod and Par files

What data do you think the columns in the following par file represent?

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Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Exporting the Mod and Par files

Support desk tip


Parcel Limit Exceeded
If an export block size is chosen that would create more than 999 parcels, Surpac displays a warning
similar to the following:
SSI Warning: Block 13, 19, 10 has more than 999 ore parcels. The parcel list has been truncated and
some data lost. Change the block size to rectify this.
The mod file is still written but only the first 999 parcels of a block are included and the remaining parcels
are simply lost. The total tonnage of the project would not be correct and the model should be exported
again with less than 999 parcels per block.

Negative Element Grade


If the validation option is chosen in the Export function, Surpac checks whether the grade attribute
contains negative values. If a negative grade value exists, the report displays the problem as shown
below:

In this situation, the block model has an extra attribute added called error, and the blocks with negative
grades have the value of WTLERROR written to that block. The remaining blocks have a NULL value. To
display the problem blocks, use a graphical constraint such as that shown below of error != (space)

If the block model validation fails for any of the other reasons listed, the same results as above will occur.

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Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Exporting the Mod and Par files

Wrong AIR code


The rock code is case sensitive so if you entered air instead of AIR, as shown below, the mod file is
written with an extra rock code containing parcels with the tonnage calculated using the density attribute.
For this reason, it is important to ensure AIR blocks have sg=0 in case an error is made at the export
stage.

Constraining block model export


It is possible to NOT include all of the blocks in the block model export by constraining the export. Unlike
a traditional Surpac block model, Whittle does not require that the block model contain blocks everywhere
in the model space. Be careful when using a constraint for the Whittle export.
Whittle will only allow blocks of the same type to NOT be included in the mod file, that is. all air or all
waste. For example it is ok to export all blocks except the air blocks because these blocks will all have a
density and therefore costs and revenue of zero. It is also fine to include air in the export but not include
the waste that is well outside the mineralisation which has the same density and mining cost.
It is not correct to exclude air blocks and some waste blocks in the Whittle mod file since these have
different densities and costs.

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Exercise 1 Mod and par file creation in Surpac

Assessment

Assessment

Exercise 1 Assessments
What checks need to be performed on the grade
attribute/s?
What function would you use to change the sg of Air
blocks to zero?
How can you problem hunt a syntax error in an
expression?
What are the 4 ways to define slopes in Whittle?

Exercise 1 Assessments
How are the CAFs calculated?
What should always be generated before exporting
the mod and par file?
What information is contained in the par file?
What are the 2 types of information that could be used
for mcaf or pcaf in the Surpac export?

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

A Quick Tour of Whittle

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal


shells in Whittle
Overview
Using the mod and par file generated in the previous exercise, you will produce optimal pit shells, create
a quick schedule, and select pit shells for design work.
Requirements
The data files required for this exercise are: the mod and par file created in the previous exercise.
Getting started
Before continuing work on the bg dataset, you will briefly explore the Whittle work environment using the
Marvin dataset which is provided with Whittle. The aim of this section is to help you become familiar with
parts of the software rather than understand the reasoning behind the values used.

A Quick Tour of Whittle


Open Whittle using either the icon on the desktop or the start menu. The Whittle splash image is
displayed, followed by the main Whittle window, and a small message that the program is checking
settings. The first form you must fill in appears next. This requires you to select the project on which to
work.
In this quick tour you will use the Marvin1 project.
1. Make sure Marvin1 is highlighted (by clicking on the project with the mouse).
2. Click the OK button.

After a short wait and a loading, please wait message, the main work area is displayed as shown below:

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

A Quick Tour of Whittle

menu bar

Tool Bar

Data Pane

Navigation Pane

This is the main Whittle window. It has several sub-sections. At the top of the window you will see the
familiar looking title, menu and tool bars. Below, on the left, is the Navigation pane. You build up an
analysis model consisting of various data, functions, and results in the Navigation pane.
On the right side is the Data pane, which displays a set of tabs containing data, settings and results. At
the very bottom is a status bar. On the right side of the status bar is your licence details.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

A Quick Tour of Whittle

The Navigation Pane


node type icon

Name of node

Data status
Expand/contract

The items that you can see in the Navigation pane are called "nodes". Each node represents a set of
inputs, processes and results. The nature of the data, process and results depends on the type of node.
Lines link each node to its parent (above and to the left) and its child or children (below and to the
right). Parents provide data and results upon which the node depends. Children depend on the data and
results in a node.
Icon: Illustrates the sort of data and results the node contains.
Description: User-defined text.
Status line: Shows the status of the data and Results.
Display toggle: Click on it to show or hide child nodes.
STRATEGIC MINE PLANNING SOFTWARE
Working in the Navigation pane
Click on a node (left mouse button). The data and results associated with that node are displayed in the
Data pane.
Right click on a node (right mouse button). A menu appears which shows all the operations that you
can perform on that node (including export).
Click on a display toggle. All nodes in the tree with children have a display toggle. Click on the toggle to
display or hide the child nodes.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

A Quick Tour of Whittle

The Data Pane

The blue
highlight
indicates
this line is
selected

Tabs

Click Accept to
commit your
changes

Some basic activities are described here:


Finding data and results: Data and results are kept in tab-folders. Click on a tab to see the data or
results that are stored there.
Changing data: Text and numbers in simple fields can be edited directly (click or double click on the
field). Data in tables can be edited by selecting the data and clicking on the edit button next to the table.
Help: Most buttons have hover help. Hold the mouse pointer over a button and a descriptive message
will appear. All tab-folders have a Help button. Click on the button for context-sensitive help or use F1.
The dialogue area has a range of open text boxes, choice lists, buttons and check boxes to suit the type
of data. In general, if the field is white you can change it and enter data directly. Some buttons work on a
line of a section of data at once and you must first select the appropriate line.

The menus and toolbars


The menus in Whittle are very similar to those in other Windows programs. They have standard dropdown lists. Some items have extra submenus, indicated by the small right facing triangle. The menus give
you access to all file, navigation and node tasks. The toolbar provides an alternative way to access to
many of these tasks. You can also run all node tasks by clicking or right-clicking on a node when it is
highlighted.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

A Quick Tour of Whittle

The Toolbar is probably the easiest way to learn how to set up and control the Whittle programs. The
SAVE (floppy disc symbol) OPEN (opening file symbol) ADD (plus sign) and the three running men icons
will help you perform most tasks.

At certain nodes you can view the optimal shells, model and schedule. When this is the case, the
small inverted cone icon on the right side of the toolbar is available. When there is nothing to view the
icon is unavailable.
When you become proficient with Whittle you will find that working in the data and navigation panes is
easy and you will probably use the right-mouse click to activate a context sensitive menu. This menu
displays all items that can be used at that node.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

A Quick Tour of Whittle

1. Select the Project node (the top node in the Navigation tree), and click on the Description tab.
2. In the data pane, type some text at the end of the Description box, and Accept the changes.
3. Select the block model node, and click on the Dimensions tab. Look at the block model
dimensions.
4. Click the Help button.
A help topic specifically related to the Dimensions tab is displayed (that is, a context-sensitive
help topic).
5. Look at the differences between the pit shells node and the operational scenario node.
6. Click the Messages tab of the Operational Scenario node, and note that no messages are
shown because the node has not yet been run.
7. Right-click on the block model node, select Add and note that only Slope Set, Import
Surfaces, Reblock Block Model, and Grade Tonnage Graph are available.
8. Click on the Basic Slope Set node, and select the Description tab. Change the description of
the slope set node, and click Accept.
9. Copy and paste a branch.
Next you will run all of the nodes.
10. Select the project node, and click the Run All Nodes button.

When the nodes are running, a running man icon appears in the bottom left corner, next to the progress
bar, and the interrupt button

is available on the toolbar.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Licensing

When each node is successfully run, a green check mark appears next to the icon and the
Output, Report and Messages panes display results and messages.
11. Select the pit shells node, select the Mining tab, change the reference mining cost, and
Accept the changes.
12. Highlight the pit shells node, and select the Run From button.

Licensing
Whittle software has similar security to Surpac. You can install Whittle on any PC, but you need a
hardware sentinel (also known as a dongle), and a licence file to run most Whittle commands. The Whittle
licence file is a .udt file.
To import the licence file into Whittle, plug in your sentinel, click File > License Validation, select Import
license, click Browse, and browse to the .udt file.
If you do not have a .udt file yet, but you have purchased a licence, you can download the licence from
Gemcoms licence servers. To do so you will need to use your login credentials for the Gemcom Support
website www.gemcomsupport.com.
To download a .udt file, in the License Selection form, first select Request a license from a Gemcom
Support portal. Then, with your sentinel number listed, click Online, log on with your Gemcom Support
credentials and download your licence file.
Note: There is more information about licensing available in licensingTransitionGuide.pdf in the Whittle
installation directory.
After you load the licence file, two expiry dates, MaintenanceExpiry and LicenseExpiry, are written to your
C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Roaming\Gemcom\Whittle\<version>\fx.ini file. If the computers system
date is after LicenseExpiry, then no version of Whittle will work.
For licensing queries contact the support desk support-aa@gemcomsoftware.com.

Important directories
Whittle is installed by default to C:\Program Files\Gemcom\Whittle\<version>\.
The training data is installed by default to C:\Users\Public\Gemcom\Whittle\<version>\projects.
The ini file is stored in C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Roaming\Gemcom\Whittle\<version> by default.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Important directories

The following directories are beneath the Whittle installation directory:

The programs directory contains the group of exe files which make up the Whittle software executables.
You could run these executables from a command prompt.

The projects directory contains the Marvin and other training datasets. It is recommended that you place
any project data in a separate area. When a new project is created, called for example gold, Whittle
creates a directory called gold at the location that you specify. Two project files called gold with the
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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Important directories

extensions fxp and fxb are also created along with a subdirectory called working_gold. The working
directory contains all of the files generated by Whittle when work is completed.

When a node is run, it creates a series of files called FXPE_1.(ext) for the first node run, FXPE_2.(ext) for
the second node run, and so on. The files with a pr? extension are print files for the node. For example,
an optimisation print file is called pro and a reblock print file is called prr. The print file is the file displayed
in the report pane of each node.
It is not recommended to edit files in the working directory because Whittle generates and handles them
automatically. Place any files relevant to the Whittle project in the directory above (in this example) gold
not gold_working.
The fx.ini file shows what modules you are licensed to use. When you select File > Preferences, the
Master INI File field shows you the location of the ini file.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Important directories

Support desk tips


What do the question marks next to my nodes mean?
The question marks shown beside the nodes when running a project in Whittle indicate that there are
problems with the Whittle license being used. There are several possible causes of the question mark
status.
1. The license in use has expired.
2. The project requires a module that is not included in the license file.
If you believe you have renewed your licence, or that you should be licensed to use a particular
module, you can try downloading your licences as a .udt. Click File > License Validation, select
Request a license from a Gemcom Support portal, and download the .udt file.
Otherwise contact the support desk support-au@gemcomsupport.com.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Important directories

The label has come off the dongle. How do I know what the dongle number is?
Normally the dongle number is on a label on the dongle. If the label has come off, there is a small DOS
program available from supportdesk that can communicate directly with the sentinel and show the
number. The program is run from a DOS prompt. Contact the Gemcom support desk if you dont know
the hardlock number.

Preferences
You can store some files in fixed or comma delimited format. You can store some files as binary rather
than text to speed up processing time and reduce file size. The Spreadsheet headings setting
determines the format of the headings for the files that are output from schedules and analyses. Note that
error messages are given in terse technical codes.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

System limits
To see the limits that are built-in to Whittle, choose Tools > Show System Limits.

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Important directories

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Note:

Important directories

The maximum number of characters in a filename including the path is 256 characters.

Version and Licence options


To see the version of Whittle that you are running, and the modules that you are licensed to use, choose
Help > About.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

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Important directories

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Creating the bg project

Creating the bg project


1. Choose File > New.

2. Enter the project name bg_<yearmonth>.


By default, the Project Directory is set to whatever is specified in the Preferences menu.
3. Click on the browser for the project directory and select the Whittle directory in the training area
from the previous exercise.
The Project Working directory automatically changes when the Project Directory is changed.
4. Click Next.
The next form defines the files to import. For this exercise you have already created a mod and
par file which is called Whittle Block Model in the wizard.
5. For Model File to import, select bg_export.mod.
Parameters File to import is automatically updated.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

6. Click Next.

7. Click Next again because no reblocking is required.


8. Continue clicking Next until a Finish button is visible.

9. Click Finish.

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Creating the bg project

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Creating the bg project

A status message is displayed showing the percentage of the model that is loaded.

After the mod file has been loaded, the define element type codes form is displayed. It is possible to
change the name of any elements but we will leave it as the default of the first 4 characters of the grade
attribute name.

10. Click Next.


The Define model dimensions form is displayed. It displays the block dimensions, model dimensions,
and the co-ordinates in Northing, Easting and RL. Check that these are correct for the Surpac block
model at the export size chosen.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Creating the bg project

The new project is loaded and some nodes are automatically created as part of the import. The project
node has been successfully run and has a green tick beside it. Some nodes such as the pit shells node
require more input before running and have a red cross.

For this course, the nodes from the slope set onwards are not required and you will delete them.
1. Highlight the New Slope Set node, and click on the scissors icon to cut that branch.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Creating the bg project

The fxp file in the title bar has an asterisk next to it, indicating that the project has been modified
but not saved. The project will be saved every time a node is run but no nodes have been run
yet.
2. Click on the floppy disk icon to save the project. The asterisk in the title bar disappears.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

The Project Node

The Project Node


The Project node is created whenever a mod file is imported into Whittle. The Project node contains
three tabs Description, Project, and Messages. The Project tab contains the location of the project
directory and the working directory. If you wish to change the location of a project, move the files to the
new directory and then change the references in the Project tab.

Validating the Import


You should check the imported mod and par files against the data in the Surpac block model. The items
to be validated are:

Model origin
Model dimensions
Block size
Total tonnes for each rock type
Total contained metal
Average mcaf, pcaf and total contained metal for a few benches

You will run the block model node which includes a grade and tonnage report.
1. Select the Block model node and change the node name in the Description tab to 4 x 5 x 4
(many parcels)
2. Check the information in the data pane of each tab.
Are the model dimensions, origin and block size correct?
3. In the Formats tab, change the Element units to gram.

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Validating the Import

4. Click Accept.
5. Select the Tonnage Regions tab.
The Def Mass (or default tonnage) applies to any blocks that are not explicitly defined in the mod
file. Def Mass is used by the Reblock and Pit Shells nodes. It is possible to only export part of
the model by constraining the export in Surpac and you would need to use default mass for this
also. If the blocks excluded are air blocks, then Def Mass should be 0. If the blocks excluded are
waste blocks then Def Mass should be the single value for tonnage to be applied to all excluded
blocks in the tab above. Remember that it is incorrect to exclude a combination of air and waste
blocks from the model due to the application of Def Mass.
Using a default density of 2.75, a block of dimensions 4 x 5 x 4 has a mass of 220 tonnes.

6. Type 220 in the Def Mass cell.


7. Click on the Formats tab.
By default the period length is year. If you were working on a small project with life of mine less
than a year then you would change the period length to month or 3 months.
8. Change Units of currency to A$.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Validating the Import

9. Accept the changes.


10. Ensure the block model node is highlighted, and select the Run To icon.
11. Click on the Summary tab.
Parcel tonnages by rock type, and total grams for the model, are displayed.

If some default waste, or waste tonnes not included in parcels, exist, that waste is not reported
on the Summary tab.
Compare the tonnes and contained metal with those from the Surpac report in the first exercise.
The difference in tonnage between the Surpac and Whittle model is 1 tonne from a total of 244
million tonnes, and the variance in contained metal is 0.001%.
Note that the minimum grade in the model is 0g/t and the maximum is 15 g/t as expected.
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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Validating the Import

12. Click on the Report tab and read the report.


Note the warning messages that ore exists at the bottom of the model and the northern edge.
You will resolve this issue later.

13. Compare the bench listing for tonnes, grade and contained metal with the report produced in the
first exercise.
Has the export been successful?

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Validating the Import

Volume adjustment
If a volume adjustment attribute containing the value of 0.5 for all blocks was included in the export of this
data, the summary and report tabs are shown below.

The difference between total tonnage and parcel tonnage is not included in the Summary tab but shows
in the report tab as WASTE. Note that the item labeled TOT is only the total of the tonnes within parcels,
not the total within the model. It does not include the undefined waste shown as WASTE.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Validating the Import

Support desk tip


Negative Element Grade
If a parcel in the mod file contains negative element units, the following warning message will be
displayed in the .pru file and the Message tab.
*** WARNING: File contains negative units
Whittle will allow the import and further processing of a parcel with negative units and generate an
optimal shell. For this reason, it is vitally important to read the message and report tabs, taking
appropriate action for warning and error messages.

Negative Mcaf or pcaf


The handling of negative cafs has changed in Whittle v4.1. For earlier versions, if a mod file containing
negative values for mcaf is imported into Whittle, the following message is displayed:

*** ERROR: AN ADJUSTMENT FACTOR IS NOT POSITIVE - LINE IS:


1,1,1,1,-1.000,1.007,1760.0,6
occurred at line:

The import will abort, the node will display a red cross in the status icon and if the check data box is
chosen the following message is reported:
The specified model file (import_0.mod) could not be found
This is a fatal error that you must rectify before further processing can take place.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Validating the Import

Zero Mcaf or Pcaf


The handling of zero cafs has changed in Whittle v4.1. For earlier versions, when the pit shells node is
run on a model with zero cafs and using the cafs as cost definition, the following error message is
displayed.

*** WARNING: THE MODEL FILE CONTAINED ONE OR MORE ZERO VALUE POSITIONAL CAF
FACTORS.
The optimisation will complete and produce an optimal shell that mines all blocks with positive grade (due
to zero costs). The process time is much longer than a project with no zero value cafs. For this training
data set, the optimisation process time will be 10 times longer if zero cafs are included. For this reason, it
is vitally important to read the message and report tabs taking note and appropriate action for warning
and error messages.
In Whittle v4.1, there is a fatal error on import (displayed below) and no further processing can take place.
For this reason always use the validate function in the Whittle Export function in Surpac.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Validating the Import

Wrong AIR code


If air was entered at the Whittle export form in Surpac instead of AIR, the mod file is written with an
additional rock code containing parcels of zero tonnage. Depending on the value of sg in the air blocks,
there may or may not be tonnes in the AIR parcels. The easiest way to check that the AIR rock code is
correct is to look at the Summary tab of the New Block Model node. The rock code of AIR will be
reported as a rock code. (When exported correctly air does not appear in this report.)

Negative Sg
If a mod file containing negative values for tonnage is imported into Whittle, no warning or error
messages will occur. For the example below, the sg for all OXID blocks was set to -1.8. Whittle has
simply removed all of the parcel lines with a rock code of OXID. Processing is able to continue and a
result is produced which is incorrect. You must rectify this situation before proceeding.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Grade/Tonnage Graph

Grade/Tonnage Graph
For future comparison purposes and to further investigate the project, you will generate a grade tonnage
graph.
1. Right-click the Block Model node and add a Grade Tonnage Graph.
There are two main types of format for the graph: histogram of tonnages within specified grade
ranges or as a traditional line graph of tonnes and average grade vs cut off grade.
2. On the Definition tab, under Graph type, choose Cut-off.
3. Go to the Definition tab and next to the User defined cut-offs box, click Add Range.
You will use a lower cut-off grade of 0.5 g/t to avoid the large tonnage of waste material skewing
the graph.
4. Fill in the Range Cut-off form as shown, and click OK.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

The Definition tab appears as follows:

5. Accept and Run the node.


6. Click on the Graph tab.

7. Click on the magnifying glass to view the graph in detail.


nd

8. Select the 2

Y-Axis Preferences tab, and clear the au_c grade box.


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Grade/Tonnage Graph

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Block Size

9. Do not click on OK because this would exit the larger graph view. Instead click on the Graph tab
to show the graph as below:

The Grade Tonnage Graph is a useful tool to view the grade distribution. You will use the graph later in
the course.

Block Size
There are several block sizes used in optimisation

Geological definition (2 x 2.5 x 2 in this case)


Block value calculation which has a minimum size of the selective mining unit (yet to be
determined)
Sensitivity analysis (aim for roughly 200,00 blocks total)

It is important to complete a sensitivity analysis to understand which are the driving factors for the project,
and to reduce risk. In order to complete the sensitivity quickly, a larger block size is chosen. The smaller
number of blocks will usually give just the same shape of graph with a very small shift of absolute value.
The block size for the block value calculation is chosen relative to the smallest mining unit (SMU) to
simulate what can practicably be mined. If parcels exist at a size smaller than the SMU, make sure the
issue of ability to extract the ore at that size has been addressed or combine the parcels within the block.
The issue of SMU could affect the block size, mining cost, dilution or mining recovery.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Reblock

Reblock
In the Report tab of the Block Model node, find the number of blocks, and number of parcels, that might
be processed. This model has 1.2 million blocks and 1.6 million parcels that could be processed. The
block size is 4 x 5 x 4 and the parcel size is 2 x 2.5 x 2. The mining costs are based on an excavator and
truck fleet that can selectively mine 8 x 10 size blocks on a 4 m bench. The resulting dilution is assumed
to be 5% with a mining recovery of 100%.

A block size of 8 x 10 x 8 is chosen for the block value calculation and requires that the model be
reblocked to this size with a maximum of 1 parcel per rock type per block. The reblock will result in a total
of 300,000 blocks. The sensitivity will be performed on 12 x 10 x 8 blocks giving a total of 100,000 blocks.
In either case, the model must also be extended to the north to ensure the optimal pit does not hit the
edge of the model. First we will complete the reblock, slopes and optimisation for the sensitivity analysis
and then repeat the process for the block value calculation.
1. Highlight the block model node, right-click, and select Add > Reblock Block Model.
2. Change the description of the new reblocked block model node to 12 x 10 x 8 (1 parcel) Used
for Sensitivity.
On this node, you could add relevant notes, for example relating to the assumed fleet.

You can use the Reblock node to add expensive blocks (for example, some existing
infrastructure that would be expensive or impossible to move), extend or truncate the framework
or split/combine blocks.
If an optimal shell reaches the edge of a model, the slopes are simply extended vertically as if the
extension contained air blocks. The optimal shells should always be checked visually for
unexpected results. You can use the Adjust Framework tab to avoid the problem of a shell
hitting the edge of the model.
During the reblock program, any block on the side or bottom of the framework is replicated into
the nearest blocks in any adjacent extension. Any element content of these replicated blocks is
removed but the rock-type, pcaf, mcaf and the tonnage of the parcels is retained. One effect of
this replication is to extend any topographic surface horizontally outwards to the limits of the input
model framework.
Zone number is stored in the mod file for each block. If blocks are combined then the zone
number of the block with the lowest numerical co-ordinates is selected as the zone number for
the new block.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Reblock

3. Click the Adjust Framework tab.


You will extend the model 100 metres north and 80 metres west. The tab specifies the number of
blocks in each direction (originally 100 x 160 x 75 blocks) Using the block dimensions of 4 x 5 x
4, the model is extended 20 blocks (80/4) west and 20 (100/5) north. The default direction to
extend the model is east and north. If the direction is west or south then the model offset options
must be used. Because you are extending west, the model offset is also 20 blocks to ensure that
the blocks are added in the intended direction. The diagram is updated after you click Accept.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Reblock

4. Click on the Adjust Blocks tab and enter the information shown below:

The blocks can be combined or split, and the resultant block is given the tonnage of the sum of the
component blocks.
When blocks are split, the tonnage and element content is shared equally between the output blocks. The
number of parcels in each output block is the same as in the original block.
Note that the maximum parcels per block is set to 1 so that grades are being averaged within each rock
type. Expressions for mcaf and pcaf can be added at this stage however you have no need to change the
values already stored in the block model.
If you are producing a model where the block size is similar to the selective mining size, you should limit
the number of parcels to one for each rock-type.
If you are producing a model for use in design or sensitivity work, you have to consider how many parcels
you need.
Assuming that the grades are different in the different parcels, it is important to retain a good description
of the grade distribution in the model as a whole, so that the tonnage processed will react realistically to
changes in cut-off. It does not have to be too detailed in a particular block . This is because the overall
mine behaviour is dependent on the grade distribution of groups of blocks rather than that of individual
blocks.
With a single element, five or ten parcels per rock-type in a block is probably enough. With two elements,
you might expect to have to square this, but five or ten is still probably enough. This is because the
tonnage discrimination is the same as for one element.
5. Click Accept.
6. Run the reblock node.
7. Click on the tabs that are available now that the node has been run.
8. Check the model dimensions, tonnages, contained metal and grades.
Remember that tonnes have been added so that the total tonnage and tonnage by rock code will be
greater than the original. What is the warning message? How many parcels does the new model contain?
What is the name of the new model?

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Slopes

Slopes
Slopes are defined in Whittle by structure arcs. The relationship between blocks is contained in the
structure arcs file.
For example, in the diagram below if A is to be mined, B must be mined, however the reverse is not true.
If B is to be mined, A may or may not be mined. An arc is formed from A to B.

B
Arc
from A
to B
A
All slopes are translated into a large number of block relationships. It is wrong to assume we need an arc
from each block to every block which is above it. This is because arcs can chain as shown below.

B
If A is mined
so is C
A

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Slopes

The slopes node creates a structure arcs file containing the relationships shown visually below.

Desired Slope

It is possible that the actual slope of the optimal shell is steeper than the desired slope that you enter. (it
will not be shallower). In the previous example, the structure arcs have been generated 8 benches to the
full height of the model. Because most models have many more benches, you can control the number
used to generate structure arcs. The greater the number of benches, the larger the number of structure
arcs and the slower the optimisation. The smaller the number of benches for arc generation, the greater
the slope error between desired and achieved slope.
The formula for the number of benches to search for in structure arc generation is

(max(x,y) x 8)
z
where x, y and z are the block dimensions. For this exercise, the max of x and y is 12 and the max of z is
8, so the number of benches should be 12. After running the slope node, always check the slope error
and increase the number of benches if the slope error is too large (for example > 2 degrees). A large
slope error in the optimal shell means that the actual pit design cannot achieve the tonnes, and grade
reported in the optimisation.
Whittle slopes are overall slopes. They should include an allowance for ramps and berms.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Slopes

Regardless of the definition method for slopes (rectangular regions, zone numbers or rock codes), slopes
are given by a bearing. It is very important to note that bearings are given instead of wall positions. Any
walls at right angles to the bearings, in a particular slope region, will have the given slope applied. In the
diagram below, the slope specified for a bearing of 45 degrees would be used by the program in the
positions indicated by the arrows.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Slopes

Be careful when specifying the bearings for slopes because slopes are interpolated between the bearings
as shown in the following diagram.

60

45

55

60
To ensure the walls have a constant slope, add bearings on either side with the desired slope.
60
55

45

Constant

Constant

55

45
60

Overall slopes for this project were given in the previous exercise and were the same for all bearings
within each zone.
1. Select the reblocked block model node, right click, and choose Add > Slope Set.
2. Change the description to Zone numbers, and in the Slope Type tab, select Zone numbers in
the Model file.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Slopes

3. Click on the Profiles tab and, at the top of the data pane, select Add Profile.
The new profile appears directly beneath the Add Profile button.
4. Change the slope to 38, and press ENTER.
5. Continue adding profiles until the slopes for all six zones have been defined.
Remember the formula for the number of benches to search for in structure arc generation.

(max(12,8) x 8)
8
In this example

(max(12,8) x 8)
= 12
8
6. When the profiles are complete, Accept the data.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Slopes

7. After you have accepted the data, match each slope profile to the correct zone number.

8. When all zones have the correct profile, Accept the data.
9. Click on the Check Data button to ensure the data is valid.
10. Run the slopes node.
The program generated 17.6 million arcs and took several minutes to run. A file with a .stu
extension (the structure arc file) has been created.
11. Click on the Report tab.
What are the average slope errors for the 6 zones?
12. Change the number of benches to 10 for profiles 1, 2, 4 and 5.
13. Rerun the node.
Note that the number of structure arcs has dropped to 13.1 million and the process time was reduced.
The smaller structure arc file reduces the process time of the pit shells node.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Slopes

At each Report tab, four icons are available in the top right corner of the data pane.

The first icon changes the font size of the report, the second performs a search. The third icon opens a
print dialog box, and the fourth allows you to save changes to the font size.
Be careful of the profile numbering in the Report tab. The first part of the report lists the slopes and
number of benches for arc generation by profile using 0 as the default profile number.

Directly beneath the section shown above, a plan view and the slope errors are listed for each profile
using 1 as the default profile number. In the error listing the profile numbers are increased by 1.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Slopes

Support desk tip

Process Time
The factors that affect the process time for structure arc generation are:

Number of benches used for structure arc generation (more = slower, however this must be
considered against the slope error)

Block dimensions (block geometry relative to slope angle)

Height of profile (higher can = slower)

Slope method used (rectangular = faster, complex rock/zone=slower)

For any project, you will not know what the ideal number of arcs is (because of the factors listed above)
and the focus should be on the slope error rather than the total number of arcs.
Generally, aim for an average slope error of between 1 and 2 degrees. Anything less than 1 degree is
probably generating an unnecessarily large structure arcs file for no advantage and will slow down the
process time of both the structure arc and pit shell generation. A shallow slope angle (for example less
than 35 degrees can produce slow process times but it is not usually an option to change the desired
slope angle)

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Slopes

What about blocks in Surpac that have different zone numbers in the sub-blocks?
In the mod file, the zone number is stored in the block line, NOT the parcel line. During the export in
Surpac, if a Whittle block contains blocks or sub-blocks with different zone numbers, the zone number
with the highest cumulative tonnage within the Whittle block is used.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Slopes

Support desk tip

What does the following error message mean?


In the previous example, zone numbers have been used to define the slopes. If the slopes are defined
using rectangular slope regions, the error message below may be displayed.

The previous error message is caused by the IJK definition of the regions having the same value. Whittle
interprets this situation as the regions overlapping.

The following figure shows an example of slope regions which overlap.

You can resolve this problem by entering the value of 161 for the Min Y field of region 2.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Slopes

No Zone numbers in Mod File


If the mod file is accidentally created with no zone number and the slope method is chosen as zone
number, the lower box of the Profiles tab will only have zone 0 listed (the default) and you cannot add
any others.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Assessment

Exercise 2 Assessments
What are the 2 elements to Whittle security?
Where is the ini file defined in Whittle?
What is the fxp file?
What type of tonnage will not be shown on the
Summary tab of the Import Block Model node?
What values are contained in blocks added in the
Reblock node?

Exercise 2 Assessments
What is the minimum number of parcels possible per
block?
What is the target number of blocks for sensitivity
purposes?
What is the target slope error in degrees?
Is the zone number stored in the parcel or block line of
the mod file?

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Slopes

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Pit Shells

Pit Shells
Revenue Factors
So far you have gathered data for costs, recovery, mining and processing limits and slopes that, coupled
with a gold price, would produce a single, optimal pit.

VALUE = (METAL x RECOVERY x PRICE ORE x COSTP) ROCK x COSTM


METAL = units of product eg ore tonnes x grade
RECOVERY = Proportion of metal recovered from processing
PRICE = the price per unit of product sold
ORE = tonnes of ore in a parcel
COSTP = the extra cost of mining a parcel as ore and processing it
ROCK = total amount of rock (ore and waste) in a block
COSTM = the cost of mining a tonne of waste

The previous block value formula determines the value of the block which utilises a single value for each
input and gives a single result, for example pit A shown in the following image.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Pit Shells

If the metal price increases, the value of every block within outline A increases in value or stays the
same. No block value decreases in value. Consequently, every block in outline A is still worth mining. In
addition, if we do another optimisation using the new values, the new outline, shown as B below, is
certain to include the whole of A. It may also include extra blocks that were not worth mining before, but
which now are worth mining.

Consequently, if you step the prices through a series of values, doing an optimisation for each, you obtain
a set of nested pit outlines, and this is, in effect, what the Pit Shells node in Whittle does. It multiplies all
of the prices by a series of "Revenue Factors" ranging, typically, from 0.3 to 2.0, and produces a pit
outline for each.
The reason for producing outlines for the smaller values of Revenue Factor is to produce inner pit shells
to highlight the best positions to start mining and to assist with the sequencing. The outer pits can help
determine a less risky location for infrastructure such as waste dumps or processing plant.
The outlines are usually very close together and form an almost continuous spectrum, where the change
in tonnage from one outline to the next is quite small. However, if the grade increases sharply with depth
or the ore body is discontinuous, large tonnage differences between adjacent pits can occur.
Because all the outlines conform to the pit slope requirements, it is simple to determine what sequences
are permissible when mining out a particular pit.

Inner pit shells show where


it is best to begin mining
Intermediate pit shells
show possible practical
pushbacks
Pits near RF of 1 are
used for sensitivity and
risk analysis
Higher RF pit shells show
possible future expansions

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Pit Shells

You can enter revenue factors as a range with a start, end, and step or single values or a combination of
both. You can choose from two methods of revenue factor range generation: fixed intervals or geometric
intervals. The fixed intervals, as the name suggests, provide a constant step size in revenue factor. The
geometric intervals allow you to specify the required number of factors but will then produce more pits in
lower revenue factors and less in the higher factors (handy if looking for starter pits as well as a final pit).
This is illustrated in the following figure.

The generation of pit shells involves simple cashflow (it is not discounted) and does not take into account
the time value of money, or when a particular block is mined. The optimal shell assumes that all blocks
are mined today.
Ore Selection Method
Whittle has two methods of selecting parcels for processing and determining whether a parcel is ore or
waste. It can use cut-offs or cash flow.
When ore selection is by cut-off, ore is selected by comparing the grades of the material with precalculated processing cut-offs. If material does not satisfy the cut-offs, it is treated as waste. In the case
of multiple processes, the first eligible process is used. The grades are compared with the cut-offs of
each in turn, in the order in which they are specified in the Block Model node. For an explanation of how
multiple cut-offs are handled, see the Whittle help.
When ore selection is by cash flow, ore is selected by comparing the cash flow which would be produced
by processing it and the cash flow which would be produced by mining it as waste. If the cash flow from
processing it is higher, the material is treated as ore. If not, it is treated as waste. If more than one
processing method is applicable, the one which produces the highest cash flow is used.
In the simple cases (one process, no block co-ordinate based expressions affecting cut-off), ore selection
by cash flow produces the same result as that produced by the use of marginal cut-offs. However there
are some cases where this is not true.
Cut-off calculations are based on processing cost, element processing cost, price, selling cost, and
recovery and are calculated in a preprocessing stage before individual blocks are considered. If any of
the items are based on expressions that:

are based on block position (IX, IY, IZ) or


are based on grade of another element

then you must use ore selection by cash flow, because the marginal cut-off, determined for the whole
mine, cannot be calculated.
In the simple case of a single process and no expressions, these two mechanisms should produce the
same result. In the case of multiple processes, where the cut-offs are not ranked, you must use ore
selection by cash flow. If you want to use ranked cut-offs, you must use ore selection by cut-off.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Pit Shells

For a simple case, such as this example where the ore selection method does not affect the destination
of a block, note that selection by cut-off includes the cut-off grade for each rock code in the report file.
This cut-off is based on the data for the reference block of that particular rock code. If pcafs are used,
which is true in our case, the cut-off grade shown in the report is NOT correct for any block with a pcaf
that is not 1.
Value mode is where the block value is either stored in the block line of the mod file or calculated from
the parcel values defined by the element indicated to store the parcel value in the user element tab. Both
ways of defining the block value require the VALU module and are not covered in this course.
When ore selection is by Profit mode, the parcel revenue element is used to determine the process path
which will return the best cashflow. In simple situations, the results are identical to ore selection by
cashflow but profit mode has the ability to be used in Stockpile and Cut-Off Optimisation (SPCO) for
multiple processes.

Adding a Pit Shells Node

1. From the Slope Set node, right-click, and choose Add Pit Shells.
Note that the new node icon has a red cross and requires further input before processing.
2. Click on the Mining tab, and enter the following information:

Note that you enter a 5% dilution as 1.05. If the mining recovery were 5%, you would enter it as a factor
of 0.95. If you use both mining dilution and mining recovery, the order of application does not affect the
result because mining dilution affects the grade but mining recovery does not.
The rock type CAFs are not used because you have provided the mcaf in the model file. You have the
choice to give the costs as $/BCM or $/t. Currently it is set to $/t.
3. Click on the Processing tab, and, beside the Processing Paths section, click Add.
4. Enter the information for the HCAP rock code.
There is only one method of processing the ore, so you will call it MILL and use cut-off for the ore
selection. The reference processing cost for all rock codes is 16.79. Recovery is 0.94.

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5. Click OK.
6. Copy the first process definition to create entries for all the rock codes as shown below:
Note: The Recovery for FRSH is 0.9.

7. Click the Selling tab.


The gold price for this project for strategic mine planning purposes is $AUD855/oz. Remember
that the units for all prices must be consistent with the gold grade units (so gold price becomes
$27.5/g). Also, for this project, a 2.5% state government royalty is payable.
You could include any royalties, or other selling costs, in the Sell Cost box. However the revenue
factor only scales the metal price. If the selling cost is proportional to the selling price (as with a
royalty) it is better to include it in the selling price. For this project, the sell cost is $27.5/g x 97.5%
= $26.81/g.
8. Complete the pane as shown below.

9. Click on the Optimization tab.

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Most of the settings in the Settings pane minimise the run time of the optimisation. Given the
speed of modern hardware, there is normally no need to do this. It is possible to optimise using
all blocks, only blocks in a sub-region, or only blocks defined in the model. In this case the first
and third options are the same, and the second is not relevant.
It is possible to include or exclude air blocks from the optimisation to speed up processing time. If
air blocks are not included, you cannot use the output in the Minimum Mining Width node.
There is also an option to choose which air blocks to include in the output file after processing.
Only the option to include all air blocks is usable with the Minimum Mining Width node.
An example of the requirement to include air blocks is as follows:

When you run a Pit Shells node, the background process periodically dumps all of the data from
memory to a temporary work file to enable a later restart. This can be extremely helpful if, for
example, a long optimization run is terminated because of power failure. The restart interval
determines how often the dump occurs. If the power source is unreliable or the run time is
expected to be very long, the restart functionality can be extremely useful.
The Optimization Control allows you to limit the number of iterations taken before results are
produced. If Maximum Iterations is selected, the result will NOT be an optimal shell.
The default setting for a new pit shells node is 86 revenue factors (0.3 to 2.0 using 0.02 steps).
This high number of revenue factors could potentially take a long time to process so use only one
revenue factor for a quick first pass.
10. Under the Produce nested pit shells heading, highlight the existing revenue factor range, and
click Delete on the right side.
11. Click on Add Single, and enter 1.0.

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12. Ensure the remainder of the tab is completed as follows:

Bench Phases are used when the mod file contains the value for the block (in this situation, the block
model is called a value model. You need an additional module of Whittle to use a value model) rather
than the metal and tonnes (as we have used). With the Value option, revenue factor ranges are not
available, so an alternative is used to produce the pits. Initially, only the top bench is considered for
optimisation. A pit optimisation is performed and if there are any blocks worth mining, this constitutes a pit
shell.
Next, a bench is added (now considering the top two benches). A pit optimisation is performed and the
result constitutes a pit shell.
Therefore, in the example below, the first pit produced is the starter pit on the top bench. The second pit
is the one which first uses blocks on the second bench. This process continues until the final pit which
uses the blocks on the last bench.

13. Because you do not have any constraints, nor any additional blocks, and you do not need to
change the CAFs or user defined elements, click Accept.
14. Change the description to make it easier to identify for example Sensitivity RF 1.
15. Run the node.
16. When the run is complete, click on the Output tab.
A brief summary appears which shows that the optimal pit at the nominated gold price has 3.4 million
tonnes of ore @ 1.63 g/t with a strip ratio of 4.31:1. Note that there was only 1 revenue factor, so the pit is
given a number of 1. If there were 10 revenue factors, they would be given numbers 1 10 in increasing
order of gold price.

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17. Click on the Report tab and note that tonnes and grade by bench for each pit is provided.
What are the cut off grades for each rock type? Note that these are only the cut off grades for blocks with
a PCAF of 1. What are the warning messages?

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Beneath the cut-off grade display, the total tonnes, tonnes processed, and grade processed are
listed by bench, starting with the highest bench (38 in this example).
18. Click on the Messages tab.
19. Find the name of the res file.
The output from the pit shells node is the res file which is the mod file with a new header section
and an extra column containing the number of the smallest pit that the revenue factor is part of.
Note that if the Use binary files option is selected in File > Preferences > File Outputs, the
extension of the results file is rzp not res. Here is an example of a res file in a text editor.

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20. Again click on the Output tab, and click the Open in spreadsheet button on the toolbar

The output has been saved to a csv file and opened in Excel:

21. On the toolbar, click the Three D Viewer button

22. At the data display box, select the option to view only the grades, and click OK.

23. In the 3D Viewer, select the Show Pit box.


24. In the data control pane, select the Show XY box, and increase to the 344 bench.
25. Click on the au_c tab, and click Show to display a floating legend.
When you click and drag with the left mouse button in the viewer, you rotate the display. When you hold
down the left and right mouse buttons and move the mouse, you pan. When you hold and move the
middle mouse button, you zoom. The viewer is shown below:

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Tip: If you want to give the Viewer a white background, as shown in the previous image, click
Invert.
26. To check that the pit does not reach the edge of the model, select Show Topography.

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The pit has not reached the edge. On the western side, the extended topography is highlighted
by the flat area extending west to the edge of the model.
27. To change the colour range, click Scale.

28. Click Add.


29. Enter a palette name, for example daz, and select Type: Element

30. Click Add Gradient.


31. Enter an End value of 15, and click OK.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

After clicking OK, it is possible to use the Edit button to change each range if desired.

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Pit Shells

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Pit Shells

Next you will run the pit shells node again but using a revenue factor range of 0.2 to 2 in steps of
0.1.
32. Click on the Optimization tab and delete the single revenue factor.
33. Click Add Range, and complete the form as shown below:

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34. After filling in the Start Factor and End Factor boxes, click on auto next to the Number of
Factors, and then enter a Step Size of 0.1.
35. Click OK.
36. Change the node description to Sensitivity RF 0.2 2.0.
37. Run the node again.
38. Check any errors in the Messages tab.
39. Check the results in the Output tab.
The optimal shell now has a pit number of 9 (ninth in the revenue factor list) with the same values
for Rock and Ore as the previous run.

40. Click on the Report tab and note that tonnes and grade by bench for each pit is shown as below.

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41. Find the cut-off grades for pit 9.


What are the warning messages?
If you save the output to a csv file and open it in Excel, it appears as follows:

42. Open the viewer and notice that you can display each pit, by selecting Show Pit and clicking the
up and down arrows beneath Show Pit.

Support desk tip


The factors that affect the process time for pit shell generation are:

Number of blocks (more = slower)

Number of parcels containing metal (more = slower)

Number of structure arcs (more = slower)

Number of revenue factors (more = slower)

Complexity of process paths (more = slower and expressions = slower)

MCAF definition method and complexity (more complex i.e. expressions = slower)

PCAF definition method and complexity (more complex i.e. expressions= slower)

For the first run on a project, use large blocks (~200,000 total) and a small number of revenue factors (for
example less than 20). You can use smaller blocks, and more revenue factors, in subsequent iterations.
The geometric interval definition is a good way of focusing on starter pits as well as the final pit.

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Negative Tonnes
If a mod file containing negative values for tonnage is imported into Whittle, no warning or error
messages are displayed and a result is generated. For the earlier example of setting all values of OXID
tonnage to negative, the revenue factor 1 pit is shown as follows:

The total and ore tonnes are reduced by the amount of OXID, and the shell is generated as if blocks
containing only OXID are actually AIR blocks. This result is incorrect.

Exclamation mark on pit shells node for status icon

A red exclamation mark on a yellow background next to a node means the node has aborted
unexpectedly. When this occurs, and you try to run the node again, a message like the following example
might appear in the Messages tab:
*** RESTART IS NOT POSSIBLE DUE TO THE STATE OF THE WORK FILE
^^^DELETE GENERATED FILES FOR THIS NODE AND RERUN
To enable the node to be rerun, you must first delete the work file. To do so, right-click the node, and select Delete

Generated Files.

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You can also use the Delete Generated Files menu command to delete all the outputs from a node and
reduce the size of the working directory. After the generated files are deleted, you cannot view the results
of the analysis until you have run the nodes again.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Operational Scenario

Operational Scenario
The Operational Scenario node defines most of the settings required for a schedule, pit by pit analysis,
or any other form of analysis. Most settings are similar to those that appear in the parent Pit Shells node
and the settings are the same as those in the Pit Shells node by default. It is the first place in the
optimisation process where time is applied by limits on mining, processing or elements and financial
parameters like discount rate, capital costs and explicit time costs.
The discount rate is used to calculate discounted cash flow analysis. This discount rate might include not
only the time value of money expected but also an adjustment for the risk or opportunity cost of the
project.
For the purpose of generating pit shells (and cut-off calculations), time costs must be implicitly included in
the mining costs, processing costs, or selling costs. However, for the purposes of cash flow analysis and
discounted cash flow analysis (which you do after entering settings on the Operational Scenario node),
it is more useful to show the time costs explicitly. In order to achieve this, you should:

Perform the optimisation (Pit Shells node) with time costs in the Mining, Processing or Selling
tabs included implicitly.
In the Operational Scenario enter the replacement capital cost
In the Operational Scenario enter the costs identified as explicit in the Explicit time costs
section

Note that the time costs that are factored into the Mining, Processing, or Selling tabs should be applied
against the item that is the limiting factor of the optimisation. Otherwise the intended time cost value will
not be correctly incorporated in the final result. Note also that different periods could have a different
limiting factor.
1. Right-click the Pit Shells node, and choose Add > Scenario.
Note that the Mining, Processing, Selling, Expressions and User Element tabs are the same
as those in the Pit Shells node with one important difference. The Operational Scenario tabs
now have a clock icon instead of the expressions icon to show that you can vary those inputs for
each period. The inputs can still be expressions or values but the input can be defined for each
period. The period of the project is defined in the original Block Model node in the Formats tab.
The period length is 1 year by default, although you can set the period length to 6 months, 3
months, or 1 month.
2. Change the Description to indicate the mining limit of 9 million tpa and processing limit of
800,000 tpa.
3. Enter the limiting values into the Limits tab.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Spider Graph

Note: The throughput factor is the relative speed of processing for a particular rock type.
For example, a rock type which is easy to crush might have a throughput factor of 1.2. You would
allow for this when applying milling throughput limits
The time cost in the optimisation was $1.5 million pa which was included implicitly as $1.88/t ore
processed. In this node, that value will be defined explicitly for the financial analysis that will
follow.
4. Enter the following information on the Time Costs tab:

5. Accept the data and run the node.


There is no output from the Operational Scenario node. However, the project is ready for further
analysis, and scheduling.
The workflow for the next section is:

Spider Graph for project sensitivities


Pit by Pit Graph for best and worst case to choose a starter pit and final cutback (pushbacks)
Schedule Graphs to check schedule of cutbacks by period
Add a new Operational Scenario with different limits
Pit by Pit Graph to choose starter and final pits
Schedule Graphs to check schedule of cutbacks by period
Continue cycle of operational scenario with different limits, pit by pit graph and schedules until a
starter pit, final pit and limits are chosen

Depending on the study requirements, other steps might include selecting the best cutback with
Pushback Chooser, scheduling with buffer stockpiles, modifications for minimum mining width or cut-off
grade optimisation. This course does not cover any of these options. Contact your local Gemcom office if
you are interested in an Advanced Whittle Techniques course.
Next, you will select the two pits for further work. You will then run the slopes, optimisation and graphs on
a block model for design purposes, and then export two shells for use in Surpac.

Spider Graph
Knowing which inputs a project is sensitive to, is at least as important as knowing what the NPV of the
project will be. Determining which inputs are the most sensitive allows you to review those inputs and
reduce the project risk. There is no point in spending days gathering mining cost data when the project is
insensitive to it. Sensitivities are generally tested by varying one input at a time and quantifying the effect
on a project measure. Often the project measure will be NPV or mine life or metal produced, depending
on the driver for the corporate objective. The definition of sensitive varies but one rule of thumb is a
project where the measure varies more than 25% when the input is varied 10%.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Spider Graph

Note that all the Whittle functionality used to date, is included in the foundation module. Spider graphs are
included in the Advanced Analysis Module (ADVA). To see what modules are available for the license
you are using, select Help > About.

The spider graph allows you to very quickly see the effect of multiple inputs against a user-defined
measure.
1. From the Operational Scenario node, click Add > Spider Graph.
2. Fill in the Schedule tab as shown.

Because the mine life of the final pit is relatively short, you will generate sensitivities on a final pit
of pit 9 with no cutbacks. The Schedule tab is common to all graphs and analysis nodes but not
all fields are relevant for each application. The specified case scheduling algorithm only affects
results if a result for the specified case is chosen in the Definition tab.
Next you will add the inputs you want to test.
3. On the Definition tab, click Add.
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Spider Graph

4. The Data Selector is displayed. You use this to find the variables you want to work with in this
case, to find out which variables the operation is most sensitive to.
5. Type mining capacity into the box in the lower left, and click Search.

6. Click Add to selection list, and click OK.

The spider graph will include mining capacity.


7. Add the following variables:

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Spider Graph

Note that items involving rock type can only be varied one at a time. For example, the processing
cost can only be varied for fresh or transition rather than all varied at once. Also note that slopes
must be run manually. For presentation in reports and flexibility, it might be easier to vary some
of the inputs manually and save the results to csv for graphing in a spreadsheet. The graphing
functionality of Whittle is not as comprehensive as a spreadsheet or dedicated graphing software.
It is suggested that you use the Spider Graph node to quickly determine the sensitive parameters
but not for presentation purposes.
This schedule assumes a top down sequence with no cutbacks. This sequence is called the
Worst case in Whittle (see discussion in next section)
8. In the Vary items by (%) box, type 10.
9. In the Set indicators at (%) box, type 15.
10. Set Value to display in output to Discounted Open Pit Value for Worst Case.
11. Run the node and then go to the Graph viewer.

Typical of a gold project the most sensitive input tested is gold price. The next sensitive inputs are
metallurgical recoveries. The project is less sensitive to mining capacity than mill capacity which is
expected in a project that is milling limited.
No inputs caused a variation in NPV of 25% or greater so the project is not particularly sensitive to any
one input.
Apart from the graph shown above, the spider graph node generates a csv file (with a single column of
data) and a print file as shown in the Report tab.

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Spider Graph

Support desk tip


Be careful when selecting values to vary. If you choose an input that is illogical such as the limit on gold
produced (au_c throughput limit)when there is no limit set in the operational scenario, Whittle displays an
error message similar to below and puts a red exclamation mark next to the node.
*** Invalid value or range
*** THE INPUT LOG FILE IS NOW OUT OF STEP WITH THE QUESTIONS
*** INPUT NOT ALLOWED - PROGRAM ABORTED
*** INPUT NOT ALLOWED - PROGRAM ABORTED

It is also invalid to use a value that is based on complicated expressions or one that changes with time.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Assessment

Exercise 2 Assessments
What causes the nested pit shells in the Pit Shells
node?
Where is the reference mining cost entered in Whittle?
What number range should the mining dilution be?
What number range should the metallurgical recovery
be?
What is the cut off grade shown in the Report tab of
the Pit Shells node?

Exercise 2 Assessments
What affects the process time of the Pit Shells node?
What are the 2 ore selection methods?
What are implicit costs?
Where is the Discount Rate entered in Whittle?
What is the number for % change in value to measure
against for a sensitive parameter?

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Assessment

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Sequencing and Scheduling

Sequencing and Scheduling


In order to determine the optimal pit, the sequence and schedule of the pit and any cutbacks (pushbacks)
must be defined. The time value of money affects the optimal pit shell selection. So far, you have
performed only a simple cash flow analysis.
The sequence specifies the ORDER in which mining occurs. In the diagram below, will you mine pit 5 (in
red) or will you mine pit 1 first, and then pit 5. You could also mine pit 1, and then pit 3, and then pit 5.

After you have chosen the sequence, you can develop the schedule. The schedule allocates the parts of
the sequence to time periods. The schedule determines when the cashflow occurs. The optimal pit is
not known until a schedule is completed.
The 3 types of sequences available in Whittle are
1. best
2. worst
3. specified
Imagine a final pit to be mined with a series of possible smaller intermediate pits in cross section as
shown in the following diagram:

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Sequencing and Scheduling

In the worst case scenario, no intermediate pits are mined. The final pit is mined top down, bench by
bench.

Top Down
Mining

This sequence is almost always feasible (and simple) to mine. Over the life of the mine, waste is mined
early while most of the ore is mined towards the end. The high cashflows occur at the end of the mine life
and hence give the worst NPV.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Sequencing and Scheduling

In the best case scenario, each pit is mined out before the next pit is started.

Depending on how many revenue factors were chosen, the sequence is not normally feasible (cutback
width less than minimum mining width, access is a problem, vertical rate of advance is not achievable).
The waste and corresponding ore are mined in a similar time frame so the cashflows are brought forward
and occur closer to the start of the mine life.

Inner
shell
out

The specified case is somewhere between the best and the worst case. You specify which cutbacks to
mine to gain the advantages of higher cashflow of the best case while still being practical and feasible.
The NPV lies somewhere between that of the best and worst case.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Pit by Pit Graph

Pit by Pit Graph


Initially you will generate a pit by pit graph for the best and worst case, knowing that the reality will be
somewhere in between. The graph will show ore and waste tonnes and NPV to allow selection of a
starter pit and final pit. You can use this node to generate a large amount of graph types or even just to
produce a csv to manipulate in a spreadsheet program.
1. From the Operational Scenario node, Add a Pit by Pit Graph.
2. Go to the Schedule tab.

The Schedule tab is available in all of the graph and analysis nodes. The Final Pit pane is
unavailable because the Definition tab will override the input. It is possible to define a specified
schedule but because you are yet to choose the starter and final pit, there is not a specified case.
Because you are not using a specified case, the sections beneath Specified Case Scheduling
Algorithm and Specified Case Pushback Definition are irrelevant.
3. Leave the defaults for the Schedule tab, and select the Definition tab.
The default values are shown for the definition. You will graph all pits so leave the default of pits
1 to 0 in a step of 1.
4. Delete the values to display until only the following variables remain.

5. Run the node


6. Go to the Output tab of the Pit by Pit Graph.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Pit by Pit Graph

Note that there is no difference in the mine life of the best and worst case until the mine life is greater
than 4.3 years. The mine life of the pits around revenue factor of 1 is about 4 years and there are several
pits of mine life between 0.4 and 2 years which could be starter pits. The difference in cashflow between
best and worst case for pit 9 is around $3.5 million. The actual achieved schedule will be somewhere
between the best and worst case.
7. Go to the Graph Tab and click the magnifying glass icon.

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Pit by Pit Graph

A larger view of the graph is shown.

8. To make the graph easier to read, select the Display Preferences tab and change the Scaling
Factor for the Y Axis to 1,000,000.
9. To return to the graph, click the Graph tab.
nd

10. In the 2

Y Axis Preferences tab change the tonnage scaling to 1,000,000.

11. Click the Graph tab.

Notice how flat the value curves are around the revenue factor of 1. Even for the worst case, the
difference in NPV between pits 7 and 10 is less than $1 million in a total of $42 million. Conversely, the
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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Pit by Pit Graph

difference in ore tonnes is 500,000 t (0.6 years milling) of 3 million total tonnes. If the corporate objective
was maximum mine life, you might choose pit 10. If the corporate objective was lower risk through
decreased exposure to variation in gold price, or lower geotechnical risk through shorter mine life, you
might choose pits 7 or 8.
Also note an obvious jump in stripping ratio between pits 11 and 12. Looking at a starter pit, there are
several jumps in stripping ratio between pits 2 and 4.
The actual cashflow is somewhere between the best and worst case. The highest NPV for the worst case
scenario is pit 8. For this exercise, you will investigate pit 8 for the final pit, and pit 4 for the starter pit
because it has a low stripping ratio for 1.7 years of milling.
The output of a Pit by Pit Graph node is a csv file of the results shown in the Output tab, and a print file.
12. Click OK to exit the Graph Viewer.
13. Go to the Summary tab, and display the summary for pit 8.

The pit utilisation in the summary above is 72.4%. The formula for pit utilisation is shown below:

Pit util% = recovered metal*100/(metal input + rejected)

Rejected material is material for which there is a processing path (that is, a method/rock-type
combination) but which is not processed because its grade is not high enough. The pit utilisation is a
combination of metallurgical recovery and the contained metal in parcels beneath the cut-off grade.

Support desk tip


For a given pit shell, why are the ore tones reported in a pit by pit graph node different to the ore tones
reported in a pit shells node?
The ore tones in a pit shells node are calculated based on the metal price equivalent to the revenue
factor for each pit while the pit by pit graph uses only one metal price chosen in the $ node for all pits.
Example
In a pit shells node, for a base price of $1000/oz, the pit with a revenue factor = 0.5, uses a cut
off/cashflow decision based on a gold price of $500/oz.
If a $ node is added with a gold price of $1000/oz and a pit by pit graph node is then run, the pit with a
revenue factor = 0.5 uses a cut off/cashflow decision based on a gold price of $1000/oz and not $500/oz.
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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Pit by Pit Graph

Hence the cut off grade for that pit, in the pit by pit graph, is lower than that used in the pit shells node
and the ore tones are greater in the pit by pit graph.
In the case of a pit with revenue factor > 1, the reverse is true. That is, the ore tonnes are greater in the
pit shells node.
Note that the Waste (other) value is negative. Negative waste tonnages and strip ratios are possible due
to the way dilution is applied. When a mining dilution is specified, the ore tonnes within the block are
increased while the metal content remains the same. To ensure the total tonnes are correct, the waste
tonnes are decreased by the amount that the ore tonnes are increased. On benches where there is little
or no ore, the waste tonnes are negative.
There are several ways to deal with this issue.

The preferable way to handle dilution is in the block model in Surpac. You can apply dilution
skins or use changes in block size to simulate dilution.
You can set very small negative tonnages to zero.
You can set larger negative waste tonnes to zero, and decrease the ore tonnage by the negative
amount to ensure integrity of the total tonnes. In practise, benches of all ore are not likely to have
additional waste mined because this would mean mining outside the design.

A fourth option to avoid using dilution factors is to use reblocking in Whittle to simulate the effects of
dilution. If the reblocking function is used with a maximum number of parcels of 1, the amount of material
above a certain cut off grade can change. To quantify the changes due to reblocking you will use a grade
tonnage graph.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Grade Tonnage Graph

Grade Tonnage Graph


We are going to generate a second grade tonnage graph to compare to the 4 x 5 x 4 graph at an
approximate cut off grade of 0.75 g/t.
1. Highlight the reblocked block model node called 12 x 10 x 8 (1 parcel) Used for sensitivity.
You will add a Grade Tonnage Graph beneath this node. Although you could create a graph as
you did the first time, it is quicker and easier to simply copy the first graph.
2. Highlight the first Grade Tonnage Graph, and choose CTRL+C to copy the item.
3. Now select the reblocked block model node, and choose CTRL+V.
4. Change the description to 12 x 10 x 8 Grade Tonnage Graph.

5. Run the node.


6. Click on the Graph tab, and then click the magnifying glass.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Grade Tonnage Graph

7. When you have finished looking at the graph, click OK.


You can import the output from this node into a spreadsheet to give the total of 3.73 Mt @ 1.74 g/t for 209
koz above a cut off grade of 0.75 g/t.
8. Compare the grades and tonnages for each block model above a cut off grade of 0.75 g/t.
Item

Tonnes

Grade

Grams

Ounces

4x5x4

3,519,177

2.15

7,575,319.5

267,211

12 x 10 x 8

3,730,928

1.74

6,508,896.2

229,594

211,751

-0.41

-1,066,423

-37,617

6%

-19%

-14%

-14%

Variance
%

The change in block size has resulted in a 6% increase in tonnes, and a 14% decrease in contained
metal. When applying the dilution factor in Whittle, the tonnes are increased, the contained metal stays
the same, and the average grade decreases.
Given that you have also included a dilution factor in the optimisation of 5%, and that the project is
sensitive to the dilution factor, it may be prudent to review the method for defining dilution and choose to
use either the dilution factor or the reblocking. The 12 x 10 x 8 block size was chosen to determine
sensitivities in this case, and it was not intended for final results. However when you do generate the final
pit optimisation, you will investigate the amount of dilution represented in the reblock, and then decide
whether or not to use a dilution factor.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Schedule Graph

Schedule Graph
The Schedule Graph node generates graphs and csv output for the defined inputs by period. The node
also produces an msq file which is similar to the mod file with 3 extra columns.
First, you will generate a simple worst case schedule of pit 8 to define the lower threshold.
1. At the Operational Scenario Node, add a Schedule Graph.
2. At the Schedule tab, choose a Worst case schedule for pit 8.

3. Accept the defaults in the Definition tab, and Run the node.

The Schedule Graph node has generated a csv file of results shown in the Output tab, a graph and a
summary for the total pit.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Schedule Graph

These three items are shown in the following images:

Note the large amount of waste mined in the first year in the graph below.

The node has also produced a mining sequence file (msq file). The file has the same format as the mod
file except:

Page 233 of 308

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Schedule Graph

In the block header line the zone field has been replaced by the period, fraction and pushback
fields
In the parcel line the destination of np (not processed) or MILL is added

Looking at the previous graph, the mill is filled each year but the mining capacity is not reached in
any year although the first year is close. This operation certainly has potential to defer waste
stripping and increase the NPV.
4. To investigate which benches are mined in each period, add a Bench Schedule beneath the
Schedule Graph.
5. Accept the default values and run the node.
The Output tab shows that only one pushback is mined, that is pit 8 top down. The bench RL column
slowly decreases as the period increases until the end of year 5. The negative waste tonnes are also
seen in years 4 and 5.

The only output from the Bench Schedule node is a csv file containing the previous results.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Schedule Graph

6. Ensure the Schedule Graph is named Pit 8 Worst.


You are about to add many Schedule Graph nodes under the Operational Scenario. The node
names will become important for distinguishing the various schedules.
7. Copy the Pit 8 Worst nodes for schedule graph and bench schedule.
8. Call the copy Pit 8 Best and change the case to Best in the Schedule tab.

9. Run both the Schedule Graph and the Bench Schedule nodes.
The bench schedule output (below) shows 8 pushbacks (pits 1 8) mined consecutively. Each pushback
is mined from the top bench to the bottom bench, and then returns to the top bench for the next
pushback.

Page 235 of 308

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Schedule Graph

A comparison of the two graphs shows the difference in the timing of waste mining. The graphs have
been resized so that the Y axis scales are similar. This highlights the large amount of waste that the
Worst case schedule mines in the first year.

Using a final pit of pit 8, these two schedules represent the worst and best extremes. Now you will start
using specified schedules with a final pit of pit 8 but with 1 starter pit.

Page 236 of 308

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Assessment

Exercise 2 Assessments
What is a best sequence?
What is a worst sequence?
Describe a fixed lead sequence
Where is the Discount Rate entered in Whittle?
Which of the best and worst sequence is usually
achievable?
Which has the highest NPV?

Exercise 2 Assessments

What causes negative Waste (Other)?


What is another way of dealing with this issue?
Which node creates a res file?
Which node creates an msq file?
What is on the x axis of a schedule graph?
What is on the x axis of a pit by pit graph?

Page 237 of 308

Assessment

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Milawa

Milawa

Typical Pit by Pit Graph

Scheduling
will make a
difference
Need to find a
practical
schedule

Milawa determines what to mine in each period

Page 238 of 308

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Schedules

Best - each pit shell as a phase


Worst - bench by bench
Specified - constant lag between each phase
Milawa NPV finds a sequence that improves the NPV of
the project within the mining and processing constraints.
Milawa Balanced finds a sequence that improves the
throughput balance of the mining and the processes

Worst Case schedule


Bench
by
bench

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Provides a lower bound to NPV - generally practical

Page 239 of 308

Milawa

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Milawa

Best Case schedule

Pit
by
Pit

1
2
3
4
etc

Provides an upper bound to NPV - generally not practical

Specified schedule

Fixed lag, equal advancement


on all active phases.

Page 240 of 308

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Milawa

Milawa Algorithm

Ph 1

Ph 2

Ph 3

Amount per phase calculated to


improve NPV or throughput balance

Possible Milawa Inputs

Number of cutbacks (shells)


Maximum number of benches per period
Economic parameters for calculating values
Mining, Processing and selling limits
Any user controls over the lead between cutbacks

Page 241 of 308

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Milawa

Milawa Algorithm
Allows full user control

Max
benches
per
period

Max lead
Min lead

Milawa Rules

Mining in the next cutback can never advance ahead of the current
cutback
Applies any user defined controls over the separation between the
cutbacks and the number of benches that can be mined per period.
You can mine part of a bench in a period
All mining in a cutback is assumed to occur at the same rate

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Milawa
The algorithm then EITHER calculates NPVs of balances for
possible schedules and searches the domain of feasible solutions.

It does not generate and evaluate ALL feasible schedules but


samples the feasible domain until it converges on its solution.

Milawa NPV

Takes the user-specified pushbacks


Searches to find what should be taken from each bench to
maximise NPV

Page 243 of 308

Milawa

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Milawa

Milawa Balanced

Takes the user-specified pushbacks

Searches to find what should be taken from each bench to


maximise throughput
Will sacrifice NPV to achieve a better throughput balance.
Up to user to decide whether cost is worthwhile

Case Study 1 - Changing Rates

Throughput Rates

Tonnage (m)

40
30

Processing
Mining

20
10
0
1

9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Period

Page 244 of 308

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Milawa

NPV vs Tonnage
NPV and Tonnage
1000

500
Waste
Ore
Best
Worst

900
800

400

300

500
400

200

Tonnage (m)

600

300
200

100

100
0

0
1

11

16

21

26

31

36

Pit Number

Worst Case Sequence


W o rs t S e q u e n c e
45

3.0
2.5

O re

35

Cus

30

2.0

25
1.5
20
15

1.0

10
0.5
5
0

0.0
1

Ye a r

Page 245 of 308

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

Coppe r He a d Gra de
(%)

W as te

40

Tonne s (m )

NPV (m)

700

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Milawa

Best Case Sequence

B est S equence
3.0

40

W as te

35

O re

30

Cus

2.5
2.0

25
1.5
20
15

1.0

10
0.5

Coppe r He a d Gra de
(%)

Tonne s (m )

45

5
0

0.0
1

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

Ye a r

Milawa NPV Sequence


M ila w a N P V S e q u e n c e
45

3.0

Tonne s (m )

2.5

O re

35

Cus

30

2.0

25
1.5
20
15

1.0

10
0.5
5
0

0.0
1

10

Ye a r

Page 246 of 308

11

12

13

14

15

16

Coppe r He a d Gra de
(%)

W as te

40

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Milawa

Milawa Balanced Sequence

M ila w a B a la n c e d S e q u e n c e
3.0

40

W as te

35

O re

30

Cus

2.5
2.0

25
1.5
20
15

1.0

10
0.5
5
0

0.0
1

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

Ye a r

Case Study 2 - Milawa NPV Sequence

M ila w a N P V S e q u e n c e
50
W as te

45

O re

Tonne s (m )

40
35
30
25
20
15
10
5
0
1

7
Ye a r

Page 247 of 308

10

11

12

Coppe r He a d Gra de
(%)

Tonne s (m )

45

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Milawa

Case Study 2 - Milawa Balanced Sequence

M ila w a B a la n c e d S e q u e n c e

Tonne s (m )

90
80

W as te

70

O re

60
50
40
30
20
10
0
1

10

11

12

Ye a r

Conclusions

The mining sequence can have a profound impact on the


project NPV
Good solutions can require an iterative process as you
refine the sequence
Milawa NPV produces good NPV but may suffer from
poor equipment utilisation
Milawa Throughput may sacrifice NPV or require
adjusted mining tonnage targets to achieve a good result

Page 248 of 308

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Milawa

There are 3 basic types of specified schedule


1. Fixed lead (generally fastest process time)
2. Milawa NPV
3. Milawa Balanced
Fixed Lead Schedule
With the fixed lead option, you specify a number of benches by which the mining of each cutback is to
lead the next one. If, for example, you choose a lead of 4, mining starts on the first cutback and proceeds
until four benches are mined. Mining then starts on the second cutback and also continues on the first
cutback. Work starts on the third cutback when the fourth bench of the second cutback has been
completed, and so on.
If you simply wish to mine the first pit top-down, and then mine the second pit top-down, and so on, you
achieve this using a lead of 0 (and hence each pit is mined as a worst case until the next cutback is
reached).

Milawa
Milawa is a linear algorithm that utilises three routines.
The first routine takes a set of variables and generates a feasible schedule from them.
The second is an evaluation routine which calculates the NPV or balance for an individual schedule.
The third routine searches the domain of feasible schedules for the one which has the highest NPV or
best balance. The routine also has logic built in to decide when to stop searching.
The Milawa algorithm does not generate and evaluate all feasible schedules, because the number of
feasible schedules in any analysis is extremely large. Instead, it strategically samples the feasible domain
and gradually focuses the search (without necessarily narrowing it) until it converges on its solution.

Milawa NPV
Use this mode to specify that you want Whittle to find a sequence that improves the NPV of the project
within the mining and processing constraints.
In this case, both a mining and processing limit exists and the Milawa NPV algorithm might not reach one
limit (similar to the worst and best case scenarios)

Milawa Balanced
Use this mode to specify that you want Whittle to find a sequence with improved throughput balance. In
this mode, the Milawa algorithm seeks to maximise the usage of production facilities early in the life of the
mine instead of maximising NPV. This option will only be of use if you specify at least two of the possible
mining, processing, or selling limits.
For a quick and simple schedule, you will use the Fixed Lead algorithm with a lead of 0 to produce a
schedule for pits 4 and 8.
1. Copy the Pit 8 Best schedule graph and bench schedule nodes, and rename the copy to Pit 4
and 8 fixed (no lead).
2. Fill out the Schedule tab as shown below. Ensure that you have added the first pit (pit 4) under
the Specified Case Pushback Definitions section.

Page 249 of 308

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Milawa

To save time you will also test which pit produces more desirable results as a starter pit.
3. Before running the new nodes, copy them again to produce a series of fixed lead schedule
graphs and bench schedules using pits 3 and 8; 5 and 8; and 6 and 8, similar to that shown
below.
4. When all of the nodes have been added, run all nodes.

The graphs show that as the starter pit number increases, the waste is mined later in the total mine life.
Compare the NPVs of the various scenarios. Pits 4 and 8 have a similar NPV of $43.3 million as Pits 5
and 8. The cashflows are the same, however the total tonnage mined each year is very different.
Page 250 of 308

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Milawa

Despite the very similar cashflows, the pit 4 and 8 option is much more attractive in terms of mining
capacity. All of the schedules so far have fully utilised the mill while there is spare mining capacity in
many years.
You will now use Milawa to generate the highest NPV schedule for pits 4 and 8.
5. Copy a Schedule Graph and Bench Schedule branch, and call it Pits 4 and 8, Milawa NPV.
6. Complete the form as shown, and run the branch.

7. Compare the bench schedule and the graphs of the fixed lead and NPV schedules for pits 4 and
8.
For this project, the top-down mining of pits 4 and 8 is the highest NPV option.
8. Now create a Milawa Balanced schedule for pits 4 and 8, and compare the NPV and the timing
of mining pit 8.

Page 251 of 308

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Milawa

The Balanced option tries to fill both mining and milling capacity each year. Because there is a large
mining capacity, the mining limit has not been reached in any year but all of the waste mining has been
brought forward.
The bench schedule shows that pit 8 (pushback 2) is mined in every year in an attempt to reach the
mining limit.

Page 252 of 308

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Milawa

Finally you will investigate the effect of adding a lead to a fixed lead schedule.
9. Copy the pit 4 and 8 fixed (no lead) branch and change the lead to 4 as shown below:

With no lead, pit 4 is completely finished before the waste stripping of pit 8 occurs. With a lead of 4
benches the waste of pit 8 is brought forward into year 1 and the bottom of pit 4 is pushed back from year
2 to year 3. This change in schedule reduces the project NPV by $0.5 million.

Page 253 of 308

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Milawa

You have explored the basic scheduling options using the chosen pits of 4 and 8. Next you will
look at changing the mining capacity to achieve a more realistic result. In this case, you will
assume the mill capacity is fixed because the mill is already built and the company does not want
to spend any money at the start of the mine life. The following process could just as easily be
used to test the financial impact of increasing the milling capacity.
10. Select the Operational Scenario node ($ symbol) and make a copy of the branch.
11. Rename the new Operational Scenario to 5 Mtpa mining, 800ktpa processing as shown:

12. Change the mining limit in the Limits tab to 5,000,000.


13. Leave all of the graphs and schedules beneath the node, and run all nodes.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Milawa

Investigate the changes caused by limiting mining to 5 Mtpa. Firstly comparing all of the fixed schedules
with no lead, the pit 4 and 8 combination still gives the highest NPV. The 5 Mtpa scenario makes about
$150 k LESS than the 9 Mtpa scenario. The output of the 4 and 8 fixed schedule shows that the mill is not
quite filled in year 2 due to the mining limit being reached. Whittle will mine within a period until any one
of the limits has been reached, and then moves to the next period.

As an interesting aside, do you know how much it costs for your mill to sit idle? An actual Australian hard
rock mine had a loss in revenue recently of $6000/hour! With this in mind, leaving a mill idle is usually not
the preferred option. Many operations are processing limited.
The fixed schedule with no lead is no longer the highest NPV scenario with the NPV scenario giving $80k
more cashflow. The graphs look very similar as shown below.

Page 255 of 308

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Milawa

The bench schedule for the NPV scenario shows that a small amount of waste from pit 8 is mined in year
1 which exposes more ore to be mined in year 2 as shown below:

In the 5 Mtpa scenario, the Balanced option gives an NPV very close to the NPV option (<$20 K
difference). The Output tab shows that the mining limit is reached in the first 2 years (although the milling
tonnage is close to the 800 ktpa limit) while the milling limit is reached in years 3 and 4.

In this way you could add more scenarios to gain the best balance between mining limit, achieving milling
limit, and NPV.

Page 256 of 308

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Reporting

Reporting
So far you have used the schedule graph, pit by pit graph and bench schedule nodes to choose a starter
and final pit. You can also use these nodes for reporting purposes. Typically you need a certain format for
the csv output which you then import into a spreadsheet program for further processing. This section will
focus on the Milawa NPV schedule for pits 4 and 8 using 5mtpa as the mining limit.
1. Select the Output tab of the Milawa NPV Schedule Graph.

2. Select the Definition tab.


The default values are shown in the Values to display in output.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Reporting

3. Click Add to show the Data Selector.

The possible selections are divided into groups depending on their activity basis:

All material mined


Waste mined
Ore mined
Ore processed
Stockpiles
Outputs

You might want to report ore tonnes and grade by rock code, waste tonnes and strip ratio. You can
choose ore tonnes from Material processed.

Page 258 of 308

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Reporting

4. Fill in the Data Selector as shown, and click Add to selection list.

Brackets (<>) indicate that Whittle needs additional input. In this case, there are 4 rock types.
You must choose one or all of them.
5. Instead of selecting each individually, select the Select all items box to add all the possible
choices.

6. Now for the grade of the 4 rock types, choose Material processed, Grade of <element> mined
in <rock type> input into processing, and click Add to selection list.
Note:
Be careful because the first items listed in the Element and Grade category are
total contained units rather than grades.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Reporting

7. Click OK.
Alternatively, instead of selecting from the lists in the Data Selector, you can use the Search field at the
bottom of the form. When you type the word grade, all the items whose description include the word
grade are listed in the middle section of the form.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Reporting

8. For waste tonnage mined, go to the Material mined as Waste category, and add Tonnage of
waste rock to the selection list.

Page 261 of 308

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

9. Finally add the stripping ratio.

Page 262 of 308

Reporting

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Reporting

10. Click OK.


You can change the order that data will appear in the csv file by moving items up or down the list.
11. Include a blank column to make reading the output file easier.
12. Rearrange the items to the order shown below, and delete any additional variables:

13. Run the node and go to the Output tab.


Because this node is a Schedule Graph, the report lists data by period.
14. For pit totals, either import the data into a spreadsheet and sum them, or run a Pit by Pit Graph
which lists only totals for the pit.

Page 263 of 308

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Reporting

Support desk tip

What is the difference between tonnage in ground selected for processing and tonnage input to
processing?
In the Data Selector, there are two items that are similar for reporting ore tonnes tonnage in ground for
processing (TG spreadsheet code) and tonnage input to processing (TI). In our case TG is less than TI
although its possible for the reverse to occur as well. These items vary due to mining dilution and mining
recovery. The tonnage of material in the ground above cut-off is around 761 ktpa. However you have
used a 5% dilution which increases the tonnage put into the crusher for processing (waste included as
dilution) to 800 ktpa.
If you had given a value for mining recovery of 0.95, for example, and no mining dilution, ore tonnage in
ground is 842 ktpa while the processed tonnage is 800 ktpa due to ore accidently taken to the waste
dump.

What is the difference between the various options for reporting bench number or RL?
If you search for the word bench in the Data Selector, you see the following results.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Reporting

There are only 4 items above that actually report bench number, and they are only applicable to specific
nodes. The table below summarises which item is used in which node.
Description

Code

Pit by pit
graph

Schedule
graph

Bench
schedule

BENCH/FI

Yes

No

No

Period starting bench

BENCH/ST

No

Yes

No

Period ending bench

BENCH/EN

No

Yes

No

BENCH

No

No

Yes

Final bench

Period
bench
used
(bench report only)

Report templates
When you have a format that you wish to use again, it is possible to save the definition as a template and
use it in other projects.
1. Highlight the Schedule Graph node of the Pit 4 and 8 fixed, Milawa NPV node, and right click.
2. Select Other > Convert to Template.

3. In the Template description field, type Standard physicals, and click OK.
4. Click OK in the Maintain Graph Templates form.

Page 265 of 308

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Reporting

5. Under the Operational Scenario node, add a Pit by Pit Graph for a Milawa NPV schedule of
pits 4 and 8 with the same definition as the schedule graph above.
6. Edit the Definition tab so that it contains the following data.
Note:

Be careful to choose variables for the specified case only.

7. Run the node and select the Output tab.

Page 266 of 308

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Reporting

Still at the Pit by Pit graph, you will add some financials to the report.
8. Change the definition to include total discounted cost of mining, total discounted cost of
processing and discounted open pit value.

Page 267 of 308

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Value Calculation Block Size

Value Calculation Block Size


You have completed an investigation of the project and its sensitivity to parameters and you have
examined possible shells for selection and scheduling. You performed this first pass using the larger
sensitivity block size of 12 x 10 x 8. Now you will create a second branch to perform an optimisation at
value calculation block size.
The value calculation block size represents the practical mining size, that is the smallest mining unit
(SMU). Factors such as truck capacity, bucket dimensions, minimum working area, bench height and
mining style can affect the SMU size. Remember that the mining cost was selected on the basis of a
given mining fleet. If you choose too small an SMU size, the ore tonnes and grade cannot be achieved.
The processing time in Whittle will also be very long. An example using given hardware specifications for
this project of block size versus optimisation node time is listed below:
Block dimensions

Process time

12 x 10 x 8

1.5 min

8 x 10 x 8

5.5 min

8 x 10 x 4

17 min

After consultation with production personnel, a SMU block size of 8 x 10 x 8 is chosen.


1. Select the 4 x 5 x 4 model node, and add a Reblocked Block Model node.
2. Change the description to 8 x 10 x 8 (1 parcel) block value.
3. At the Adjust Framework tab, extend the model north and west as you did for the previous
branch.

Page 268 of 308

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Value Calculation Block Size

4. At the Adjust Blocks tab, combine the blocks to give a block size of 8 x 10 x 8, and only allow 1
parcel per rock type per block.

You can add many nodes in a branch, and then run all nodes rather than add each node and
process at each step. The easiest way to add the nodes is to copy an existing branch. However,
in this case, you cannot add the slope node and other nodes in the rest of the first branch without
running the reblock node first.
5. Run the reblock node and check for error messages.
How many blocks exist in the reblocked model?
6. Select the slope node under the reblocked block model node above, right-click, and choose
Copy Branch.
7. Select the 8 x 10 x 8 (1 parcel) block value node, and choose Paste.
It is now possible to run all of the nodes in the copied branch, but it might be better to stop after
the slopes node to check the slope error.
8. Delete the 9Mtpa Operational Scenario branch because it is not needed.
9. Copy the grade tonnage graph from the old reblocked block model node to the new one.
The new block size represents a 5% increase in tonnes and a 16% decrease in contained metal
so you will change the mining dilution fraction to 1.
10. On the Pit Shells node, on the Mining tab, change the Mining Dilution Fraction to 1.
11. Run all nodes.
The following table shows how tonnes or ore, grade, and ounces of gold differ depending on the
block size (using a cut-off grade is 0.75).
Item

Tonnes

Grade

Grams

4x5x4

3,522,312

2.15

7,575,320

8 x 10 x 8

3,730,928

1.74

6,508,896

Variance

208616

- 0.41

- 1,066,424

5.6%

-19%

-16%

Investigate the effect of using the smaller block model. Which two pits are you going to select?
Page 269 of 308

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Exporting Data to Surpac

Exporting Data to Surpac


Assuming the analysis of the project is complete for the moment, it is necessary to export the two chosen
pits to Surpac.
There are several options for exporting data to Surpac

dxf of pit shells (forms a dtm)

res file (created at the pit shells node and includes pit number)

msq file (created at the schedule graph node and includes pushback and period mined)

You will perform all 3 options of exporting results to Surpac to see what data they contain.

DXF File Export


Firstly you will export pits 4 and 8 from the Block Value branch as separate DXF files. The Export DXF
function has two options. You can export the pit shell as block outlines (similar to the Surpac block model)
or as centroids (which looks smoothed). You will try both options.
1. Select the Pit Shells node under the 8 x 10 x 8 (1 parcel) block value node, and right-click.
2. From the menu choose Other and then Export DXF.

3. In the Export file box, type a name for the dxf file.
4. In the Selected pitshells box, type 8.

Page 270 of 308

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Exporting Data to Surpac

Note that although it is possible to create a single dxf file with all 19 pit shells, the resulting file is
not useful, or usable, in Surpac.
Do NOT select the Block centroids option which would cause the dxf to be formed using
centroids. If the Show topography box is ticked, the dxf is extended to the edge of the model
space. If it is not selected, the dxf ends where the pit reaches the surface and intersects the AIR
blocks. If the Contour Plot option is selected, the dxf consists of lines representing contours
rather than the usual surface that converts to a dtm.
Note that the dxf filename must have the extension of dxf in the previous form so that Surpac can
recognise the file as the correct file type and allow the import.
5. Export pit 8 again using the Block centroids option, and save to a different file name.
The following image shows the difference the brown dtm is the block outline option and the
blue dtm is the centroids option.

Page 271 of 308

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Exporting Data to Surpac

You can open the dxf files in Surpac, and then save them to a dtm file. Further processing might include
creating contours of the pit shell (using Contour Extract) or writing values to a block model using the pit
shell dtm.

Page 272 of 308

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Exporting Data to Surpac

Res File Export


You can create the res file at the Pit Shells node. The res file contains the information from the mod file
(for all blocks) as well as a pit number. The pit number is the number of the lowest pit shell that the block
is contained within. Remembering that the revenue factors generated nested pit shells, if a block is
contained in pit 5, for example, the block is also included in pits 6 and larger pits. Although the res file
contains the pit number for each block it does NOT contain information about when the parcel is mined
and where it was sent (that is, waste dump, mill, and so on).
The res file has two options for importing into Surpac. Both options create a Surpac block model (mdl
file):
1. Create a new block model containing some or all of the res file information including tonnes,
grades, mcafs, pcafs, pit number (but not zone number because it is not contained in the res file).
2. Read the pit number only into an existing Surpac block model. The restrictions on this option
involve both the origins and the block sizes of the respective models. The restriction on block size
is that the Whittle block size must be an integer multiple of the Surpac block size. The Surpac
block model must also have an origin of the same co-ordinates as the Whittle model OR the
origin is lower than the Whittle origin and the offset is an integer multiple of the Surpac block size.
For this exercise, you will export the res file from the Pit Shells node for block size 8 x 10 x 8.
1. Select the appropriate Pit Shells node, right click, and select Other > Export Files.

2. Choose the directory for the res file to be written and enter names for both the res and par files.

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Exporting Data to Surpac

3. In Surpac, change the working directory to the directory where you exported the res file.
4. Highlight the block_val.res file in the navigator and drag into Graphics.

In this case, the res file will NOT be read into an existing block model but a brand new Surpac block
model (mdl file). The Import Whittle file form is displayed. The Parameter file name field has the same
value by default as the res file you are opening. Enter a different file name if the parameter file has a
different name to the res file. The Model file name field is used only if the pit number is being read into
an existing block model. Leave the Model file name field blank to create a new block model.
The block size, origin and other information from the parameter file is displayed. Check that these are
correct for the Whittle res file. The reference block coordinates fields are used if the res file block with
IJK of 1,1,1 is not located at the origin coordinates that are displayed.

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5. Select the Retrieve Parcel Information box, and click Apply.


If the box is NOT selected, the form is displayed as follows.

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Exporting Data to Surpac

If the Retrieve Parcel Information box IS selected, the form is displayed as follows.

You can exclude any item of information so that it is not imported.


6. Click Apply and the new block model called bg_blockval.mdl is loaded into memory.
7. Display the block model.
Note that all of the blocks are the same size (10 x 8 x 8) and no super-blocking or sub-blocking
has occurred. This is deliberate to allow correct reporting of tonnes.
8. Save the block model.
9. Display a Block Model Summary.

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Exporting Data to Surpac

Note that the X origin has changed from the original Surpac block model of 9950 E because of
the reblocking. The data that is stored as block lines (rather than parcel lines) is converted
directly to attribute information mcaf, pcaf and block tonnage. Storing the block tonnage as an
attribute is different to most Surpac block models, so you will have to define reports carefully.
The IJK value of each block is also stored to allow easy reference between Whittle and Surpac.
The pit number is also unique for each block in Whittle and has been directly transferred to the
Surpac block model. The attributes relating to grades and tonnages are split by rock code.
In the original res or mod file, there were up to 999 parcels per block. In the resulting Surpac
block model, all of the parcels of the same rock code within a block have been combined to allow
usable data. It is important to remember that it is possible that some of the parcels from the same
rock code in the same block could be sent to the mill (that is, they are ore parcels) while other
parcels in the same block are sent to the waste dump. The imported res file will NOT show what
destination the parcels went to and will not allow reporting of processed and non-processed
statistics.
10. Use the identify block value function to look at the values of a block outside the largest pit (the
top right block in plan view in this case).

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Exporting Data to Surpac

The pit number is 20 for this block. Looking at the results of the Pit Shells node in Whittle, the highest pit
number was 19. This block is outside of all pits found in the Pit Shells node. If a block had a pit number
of 4, it would be included in pits 4 and above but not pits 3 or less.
The sg of the block is 0.73 which indicates that it included parcels of AIR and parcels of rock (HCAP for
this block).

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Exporting Data to Surpac

Note that the IJK value (60090038) is concatenated and only contains 8 digits when the expected number
of digits is 3 x 3 or 9. To interpret the IJK value, read from right to left and know that any leading zeroes
are dropped. The above value is an IJK of 60,90,38.
11. Add a graphical constraint of pit_num<=8 to display the blocks in pit 8.

You could extract sections, as string files, from the block model to use in pit design.

Reporting from an Imported Res File in Surpac


The only tonnes or grade information that you can report from the imported res file is total tonnes within
the pit (or tonnes split by rock code). Reporting by an ore/waste split is not possible due to the combining
of parcels that occurs during the import process. For example, a block in the res file in Whittle contains 2
parcels of the same rock code 100t @ 2 g/t and 100t @ 0 g/t. If the cut-off grade is less than 2 g/t,
Whittle reports 100 t of ore @ 2 g/t. However, when the file is imported into Surpac, the 2 parcels are
combined to give 200t @ 1 g/t. If a block model report was run using a cut-off grade of less than 1 g/t,
then Surpac would report 200t @ 1 g/t where Whittle reports 100 t @ 2 g/t.
When reporting total tonnes within a pit shell, use the sg attribute in the normal way. Reporting tonnes by
rock code is more complicated this is explained in the section on msq file import. See the following form
for an example of the format to report total tonnes within a pit.

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Exporting Data to Surpac

The tonnage of pit 8 on the Output tab of the Pit Shells node was 16,400,467 tonnes.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Exporting Data to Surpac

Msq File Export


The msq file is created at the schedule graph node. It contains the information from the mod file (for all
blocks) as well as the periods the block is mined in, the fraction of the block mined within the period, the
pushback number and the destination. Note that the pit number is not used in the msq file but the
pushback number as reported in the schedule graph node.
In the following example, the first block has 1 parcel of OXID which is part of pushback 1. The first block
is mined completely in period 1, and the block is sent to the waste dump (see the np- destination). The
second block has 1 OXID parcel mined completely in period 1. The second block is part of pushback 1
and it is sent to the MILL.

1. In Whittle, highlight a schedule graph to be exported.


2. Right-click, select Other > Export Files.
3. Select Parameters File and Mining Sequence File, and enter the par and msq file names.

4. Click OK.
5. In Surpac, drag the msq file into Graphics to create a new mdl file.
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The pushback and period information could have been read into an existing mdl file similar to the
res file and with the same restrictions.

6. Perform a block model summary for the model.

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Exporting Data to Surpac

There are a series of grade and tonnage attributes that are a combination of rock code and
destination For example, the oxid_rejected_tonnage attribute reports OXID tonnes sent to the
waste dump. Unlike the res file import, the msq file import does not combine all OXID parcels.
Instead the import process in Surpac combines all parcels of the same rock code AND
destination. This allows reporting by ore/waste split and also reporting by destination.
In the previous example, there are 4 attributes related to when the block is mined, grouped in
pairs of fraction and value. The mined period fraction is the amount of the block mined during the
period (because blocks can be mined in multiple periods). A value of 0.43 indicates 43% of the
block is mined and that means that 43% of each parcel is mined as well as 43% of the total
tonnage. The mined period value is the actual period number the block is mined in. For example,
a value of 2 means the block is mined in the second period.
The a pair and b pair indicate that no block took more than 2 periods to mine. For example, a
particular block might have been mined first in period 3 and again in period 4. So the
mined_period_a_value would be 3 and the mined_period_b_value would be 4.
7. Display the block model

Note that there are blocks larger than the Whittle block size of 10 x 8 x 8. The original msq file
only contains blocks inside the largest pushback used. The blocks outside of the largest pit have
all been assigned the background values and have been superblocked by Surpac. The res file
did not behave this way because it contains all the blocks from the mod file so the IJK was
unique for each block and did not allow superblocking.
8. Use Identify Block Values to look at the values of a superblock.
In the following example, the block size is 160 x 128 x 128 which is obviously larger than the msq
file block size of 10 x 8 x 8.

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9. Save the block model.


10. Add a graphical constraint to view all of the blocks mined in period 2.

The lower levels of the inner pit (pushback 1), and the upper levels of the cutback (pushback 2), have
been mined.
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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Some Exercises To Try


Using graphical constraints, display the following blocks:

Those mined in period 2 and sent to the mill

Fresh blocks mined in period 3

Fresh blocks mined in period 4 and sent to the waste dump

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Exporting Data to Surpac

Reporting from an Imported Msq File in Surpac


When you report tonnes other than block tonnage, you need a different format because the sg attribute
only relates to block tonnes and not, for example, oxid_mill_tonnage. Instead of using the sg attribute,
you must report the tonnage attribute as an aggregate (rather than an average) without any weighting.
1. Create a block model report for tonnes by destination, and complete the form as shown
below. Note that no constraint is required.

The resulting reports are shown below with the corresponding tonnages from the schedule graph node.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Exporting Data to Surpac

To report grades from an imported msq file, you must add an extra attribute to the model.
2. Add a calculated attribute which multiplies tonnage by grade for fresh material sent to the mill.
This attribute defines total metal for the fresh/mill combination.

3. Create a block model report using the format file shown below.

The third line is calculating a new value on the fly which divides total metal by total tonnage to give the
average grade for fresh/mill material.

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Exporting Data to Surpac

The average grade reported from Whittle for fresh material sent to the mill is 2.093 g/t.
You could create reports in a similar way for tonnages and grades by rock code, destination, RL, and
pushback using the appropriate constraints. Reports by period would require an additional set of
calculated attributes. This procedure is not covered in this document.

Pit Design
After the pit shells or schedule are imported into Surpac, you can complete a pit design. Due to time
restrictions, pit design is not covered in this course but is part of the Surpac for Open Pit Engineers
course.
The final step in the strategic mine planning process is to use the pit designs (based on the Whittle pit
shells) for further scheduling and analysis in Whittle. This requires a method of exporting pit designs from
Surpac and importing into Whittle. There are two possible methods:

Use the Import Surfaces node in Whittle to import DTMs (or other surfaces) that represent the
pit design.
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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Exporting Data to Surpac

Export the pit designs from Surpac as a .PIL file (that is, a pit list file) and, in Whittle, merge the
pit list file with the .mod file.

Both methods are explained in this training guide.

Import Surfaces Node


When you have one or more pit shells in dxf, dtm, or bt2 file format, you can use the Import Surfaces
node to start using those pit shells as pushbacks in Whittle. Therefore, you can use this method to import
pit shells easily from Surpac, GEMS, or any software that allows you to export a pit shell as a .dxf file.
Note: Before you import surfaces, make sure the files pitdes1.dtm, pitdes1.str, pitdes2.dtm and pitdes2.str are stored in
the folder c:\training\data\4_Designs. If they are in a different folder under c:\training, copy them to 4_Designs.

1. Select the 8 x 10 x 8 block model node in Whittle, right-click, and choose Add > Import
Surfaces.
2. On the New Import Surfaces node, select the Surfaces tab.
3. Click Choose surfaces.

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Exporting Data to Surpac

The Surface Chooser window is displayed.

4. In the Surface Chooser window, click Import.


5. Browse to the 4_Design folder, select pitdes1.dtm, and pitdes2.dtm, and click Open.
These DTMs represent basic pit designs, with ramps, created in Surpac.

6. Click Close.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

7. Clear the check box for pit 2 so that only pit 1 is displayed.

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Exporting Data to Surpac

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Exporting Data to Surpac

8. Scroll down in the left pane so that you can see the Display Settings, and Parameters sections.
9. Click each of the Display Settings, and Parameters sections to expand them.

In Display Settings, you can control the display of topography. The Parameters section displays
details of the block model.
10. Drag the Topography transparency slider
11. Use the mouse to rotate and pan in the Surface Chooser.
12. Click OK to import the two surfaces into Whittle.

Note: The order in which you selected the surfaces determines the pit number of each pit.
13. Click Accept, and run the New Import Surfaces node.
You have now specified that Whittle will use these two surfaces, pitdes1 and pitdes2, as
pushbacks. You can now enter costs and limits in an Operational Scenario node, and add a Pit
by Pit Graph to determine the NPV, tonnage, or the other measures or movements that you
would achieve if you mined those pushbacks as specified on the Operational Scenario node.
14. Copy the Operational Scenario node from the Pit Shells node to the New Import Surfaces
node.

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Exporting Data to Surpac

15. Copy the Pit by Pit Graph from the first Operational Scenario node to the new Operational
Scenario node.

16. Run the new Operational Scenario node and Pit by Pit Graph node.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Exporting Data to Surpac

17. Select the Output tab of the Pit by Pit Graph node.

18. Select the New Import Surfaces node, and use the 3D Viewer button
surfaces in 3D.

to display the

19. Close the 3D Viewer.

PIL Export to Whittle


Another way to import pit designs into Whittle is to export the pits from Surpac as a .pil file (that is, a pit
list file). The format of each line of the .pil file is:
<I>, <J>, <K>, <pit number> where <pit number> is the number of the lowest pit that the block falls
within.
To generate a .pil file, Surpac requires a block model containing an attribute with the lowest pit number
for each block.
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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Exporting Data to Surpac

In this exercise, the optimisation block model has an extra attribute added called pit which you will fill
using the two pit designs provided (pitdes1.dtm and pitdes2.dtm).
First, you will output the reblocked 8 x 10 x 8 block model to Surpac because 8 x 10 x 8 is a practical
mining width
1. In Whittle, select the 8 x 10 x 8 block model, right-click, and choose Other > Export Files.

2. In the Export files dialog box, set the options to export an export8.par and an export8.mod to
the 4_Design folder.

3. In Surpac, choose Block model > Block model > Import > Whittle file.
4. Select the export8.mod block model, and click Apply.

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Exporting Data to Surpac

5. Leave Retrieve Parcel Information cleared, and click Apply.

6. In the Input Whittle values form, click Apply.

7. In Surpac, display the two pit designs (pitdes1.dtm and pitdes2.dtm) from the 4_Design
directory.
Note that no part of pitdes1 is outside pitdes2 at any time. If it were, the data would be invalid,
and you should correct the data before performing the PIL export.
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Exporting Data to Surpac

8. Open the export8.mdl block model.


9. Add a new integer attribute called pit.
The Surpac export function requires that the pit attribute is an integer and that its value is 0 or
greater.

10. Choose Block model > Estimation > Assign Value, and fill the pit attribute with the values of 2
for the final pit (pitdes2), and 1 for the starter pit (pitdes1). Ensure that the blocks above the
topography have a value of 0.

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Exporting Data to Surpac

Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Exporting Data to Surpac

11. Check that the pit attribute has the values you intended.

Tip: You can use Colour by Attribute to colour the block model by the value of the pit attribute.
The block model is ready for exporting as a .pil file.
12. Under the Block Model menu, select Export > to Whittle and fill out the form as shown.

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Exporting Data to Surpac

13. Ensure that the Generate Mod File box under the Mod File tab is NOT selected.
14. Click Apply.
15. Constrain the export to pit > 0.
An example of a .pil file is shown in the following image.

You can merge a .pil file with a .mod file in Whittle to produce a .res file. You can then use the
.res file to generate an operational scenario node and perform all of the scheduling and analysis
that is possible under an operational scenario. The .pil file must be merged with a .mod file of
the same block size and dimensions.
16. In Whittle, select the 8 x 10 x 8 block model node and, in the Messages tab, find the name of the
.mod file (FXPE__35.mod).

Note: The name of the corresponding .par file is the same (except that the file extension is .par).

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17. Select Tools > Create pitshells from pit lists.

18. Fill out the form as shown.

You must click Edit to fill in the Model and Parameters boxes.
19. Click Check Data to check that the data is valid.
20. Click Run.
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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Exporting Data to Surpac

Whittle displays progress forms to allow you to check the data.

The resulting node has a blue version of the Pit Shells icon. It contains tabs that are the same as
those of the Import Block Model node.

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Exporting Data to Surpac

You can now use the Imported Reblocked Pitshells node in the same way as a Pit Shells
node.
21. Run the Imported Pit Shells node.
22. Use the 3D Viewer to show data for the Pit attribute in the XY plane.

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Exercise 2 Creating and selecting optimal shells in Whittle

Review Exercise

Review Exercise
Heres an example to work through by yourself. Imagine that I am your boss on site and I have asked you
to perform a very quick, first pass assessment of a project. You can use the validated block model from
Surpac for the geological data. The rest of the known information is shown in the following table:
Item

Type

Value

Unit

Metallurgical Recovery

All except Fresh

95

Metallurgical Recovery

Fresh

92

Au price

All

850

$/oz

Slopes

All except fresh

40

degrees

Slopes

Fresh

46

degrees

Mining cost

Hardcap/oxide

0.9

$/t mined

Mining cost

Tran

1.15

$/t mined

Mining cost

Fresh

1.30

$/t mined

State Govt Royalty

All

2.5

Discount Rate

All

Mill throughput

All

1 million

tpa

All ore cost

Hcap

12.50

$/t proc

All ore cost

Oxide

13

$/t proc

All ore cost

Tran

14

$/t proc

All ore cost

Fresh

16

$/t proc

I require a report showing NPV, mine life in years, ore tonnes and grade by rock type, waste tonnes by
rock type, total discounted mining cost, total discounted processing cost, discounted time costs, total
discounted cost in $/oz, mining capacity, break even RL and first year with positive cashflow.
Although we have a contractor for mining purposes, they will increase costs if the annual mined tonnage
varies more than 25%.

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Index

Review Exercise

Index
*

160 x 128 x 128 283


4 x 5 x 4 171
8 x 10 x 8 268
for geology 54
for mining 54
for sensitivity analysis 55
for value calculation 268
block value 41
formula 66
blocks
combining 184
splitting 184

* 170
3
3D Viewer 206
9
999 parcels per block 144
99999 blocks 84
A

adding
attributes 99
constraints 90
slopes to Surpac block model 113
Adjust Framework tab 182
adjusting framework 55
air blocks 101
density 107
displaying 99
algorithms 36
arcs 185
Assign Value command 98
Assign Value vs Block Maths 101
assigning value to attribute 98
asterisk 170
attributes 85
adding 99
assigning values to 98
deleting 96
viewing 105
au_cut15 attribute 85
audit trail 143
averse to risk 18

cable bolts 135


case sensitivity 100
cash flow ore selection method 72, 199
clock icon 215
combining blocks 184
commodity price 47
constraints
adding 90
removing 102
Convert to Template 265
COSTM 66
COSTP 66
costs 63
adding to Surpac block model 138
examples 121
mining 116
processing 116
selling 122
time 120
Create Pitshells from Pit Lists command 301
creating projects 166
cutbacks 222
cut-off 45
CUT-OFF 73
cut-offs ore selection method 72, 199

B
batters 186
bearing and slope 58
bearings 187
bench phases 203
bench schedule 234
berms 186
best case sequence 224
Block line in mod file 49
Block Maths vs Assign Value 101
block model
attributes 85
audit trail 143
dimensions 168
in Whittle 49
report 91
validating import 171
block size 53
12 x 10 x 8 182

D
Data pane 153
Data Selector 258
Def Mass 172
deleting attributes 96
density of air blocks 107
dilution 61, 200, 229
dimensions 168
directories 159
displaying
air blocks 99
block model audit trail 143

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Index

Review Exercise

dongle 158
DXF export 270

processing 215
system 163
litho attribute 85

Export to Whittle Four-x 144


exporting
DXF to Surpac 270
mod files 144
msg files 281
par files 144
PIL files 294
pit designs from Surpac 288
pit shells to Surpac 270
res files to Surpac 273

marginal cut-off 45
Max Lead 241
maximisation of reserves 19
Maximum Benches per Period 241
maximum parcels per block 184
MCAF 136
formula 140
METAL 66
Milawa 238
Milawa Balanced 239
Milawa NPV 239
Min Lead 241
mine planning 25
minimum mining width 54
mining
dilution 61
recovery 62
mining cost adjustment factor 136
mining costs 116
table 87
mining dilution 200
mining sequence files 281
mod files 49
exporting 144
model offset 182
modules licensed 165
msq files 281
reporting 286

F
Floating Cone 36
folders 159
Format Headers 92
framework 55
fresh 87
fxb file 159
fxp file 159
FXPE_1 160
G
Geometric Grouping 92
geotechnical attribute 86
grade
negative 102
non-zero 102
grade attribute 86
grade tonnage graph 179
graphical constraints 89

NASCO 17
Navigation pane 154
nested shells 70
neutral to risk 17
nodes 154
np 234
NPV 14
NPV curve 21
null values
checking for 99
in weathering attribute 99

hardcap 87
hardlock 158
I
IJK 50
Import Surfaces node 289
importing pit designs 288
installation directory 159
J
JORC Code (2004) 27
K
Keep Blocks Partially in the Constraint option
93
L
Lerchs-Grossman 37
licensing 158
limits
mining 215
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Index

Review Exercise

Retrieve Parcel Information option 275


REVENUE 70
revenue factors 69, 197
RF 69
ROCK 66
as a rock code 100
rock attribute 85
rock code 86, 98
royalties 201
running 157

Operational Scenario node 215


optimal outline 32
Optimize with Air Blocks option 202
ORE 66
ore selection method 199
other decision making 19
oxide 87
P

par files 144


parametric pit shells 70
Parcel line in mod file 49
parcels 50
PCAF 68, 142
PIL files 294
pit by pit graph 225
pit designs 288
exporting from Surpac 288
importing to Whittle 288
pit optimisation 32
pit shells 197
exporting to Surpac 270
Pit util% 228
Pivot Compatible 92
porphyry 87
position of dumps or plant 198
positional cost adjustment factor 68
price 47
PRICE 66
pro file 160
processing cost adjustment factor 142
processing costs 116
table 87
processing plant position 198
PROFIT (cash flow) 74
projects
creating 166
directory 159
prr file 160
pushbacks 222

sating the market's thirst 18


scheduling 222
sediments 87
selling costs 122
sensitivity analysis 181, 216
sentinel 158
sequencing 222
sg attribute 85
Show Topography option 271
slope
attribute 86
bearings 187
degrees 87
profiles 189
regions 190
slopes 110, 185
adding to Surpac block model 113
table of degrees 113
SMU 181
specified case sequence 224
spider graphs 216
splitting blocks 184
status bar 153
structure arc file 190
structure arcs 185
stu file 190
sub-blocks 50
superblocks 283
Surface Chooser 290
system limits 163

ramps 186
reblocking 182
recovery 62
RECOVERY 66
reference block 67
reference mining cost 140
reference processing cost 142
removing constraints 102
report templates 265
reporting 257
from imported msq file in Surpac 286
from imported Res file in Surpac 279
res files
exporting to Surpac 273
reporting 279

tabs 155
templates 265
time costs 120
where to record 215

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Index

Review Exercise

Tool Bar 156


transition 87

version 165
viewing block attributes 105

udt file 158


ultramafics 87
units of cost 63
Use Volume Adjustment 92

waste 45
waste dumps position 198
weathering attribute 85
workflow 76
working directory 160
worst case sequence 223

V
validating block model import 171
VALUE 66
value calculation block size 268

X
XYZ vs YXZ 144

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