Bulk stockpiles enable grade maximisation by blending and provide a buffer for mining companies against market and supply fluctuations. Demand forecasting is a compelling driver for identifying the best way to increase efficiency without decreasing value. This naturally means operations have to balance the volume of stocks against the cost of managing them.

One of the most common challenges sites encounter is accurate stockpile measurement. Stockpile volumes change frequently as ore is added or reclaimed and variances in calculations are common.

Maptek I-Site solutions provide reliable and repeatable stockpile measurement, reducing the time for survey and enhancing safety as there is no need to physically access the stockpile. Critically, I-Site laser scanning technology delivers – says Maptek – an incomparable level of surface detail. Efficient processing with I-Site Studio software produces final volumes with a rapid turn-round. Timely sharing of accurate results helps to integrate operational processes, promoting efficient and confident decision making.

I-Site technology facilitates efficient mine survey, transparent evaluation of stockpile inventory for financial reporting and export duty, compliance with regulations and improved planning across an operation. Timely data allows decision makers to settle on targets, create plans and account for fluctuations in product.

Leading the field with software which provided much-needed powerful, intuitive tools for modelling large volume point cloud survey data, Maptek released its first high-end laser scanners designed for mining survey applications in 2004. In 2017 Maptek unveiled a new line of purpose-built mining laser scanners, the I-Site R3 series.

The R3 series scanners help mine sites better manage reconciliation than any other survey methods. Compared to the previous I-Site 8800 series, the latest I-Site laser scanners are 30 % smaller and 25 % lighter, with 2,5 times faster data acquisition, and offer 25 % improvement in range capability. A new high-dynamic-range panoramic camera produces high resolution digital images for detailed geotechnical analysis and geological mapping.

The I-Site XR3 gives wide coverage and allows survey of otherwise unattainable areas, with a scanning range of up to 2 400 m. The I-Site LR3 scanning range of 1 200 m makes it the system of choice for small to medium open pits as well as indoor stockpile volumetrics.

“I-Site laser scanners remain the only truly mining-tough systems rated IP65 for environmental protection,” comments Nick Venter, Maptek General Manager for South Africa.

“Powerful I-Site Studio tools allow creation of custom workflows for routine survey tasks which you can share and adapt with team members to save time on data processing and analysis. We constantly add new features based on our customers’ specific needs. Mining isn’t static, and neither are our solutions.

“The key to properly harnessing laser scanning technology for stockpile measurement is preparation,” he continues.

“You need to consider how the stockpile base position will be determined. Indoor facilities often have existing floor plans while an outdoor site may have survey derived coordinate data. Information may exist from previous scans, or a new base may need to be created. Outdoor operators need to know if scans will be registered to pre-existing survey or processed using matching surface registration.

“Once you evaluate the requirements, the rest is simple because you can use the smart I-Site Studio workflows to streamline the process,” Venter concludes. “For most sites this is the most accurate way to model on-hand stockpile volumes. Only Maptek delivers a workflow this reliable and repeatable.”