The Solar Mining Global Software System is planned to be the first system where a blast design and simulation system are fully integrated in real-time with data captured in the field from drilling, charging and stemming as it happens.

Solar Mining Services Steelpoort Chrome Surface Mine by Oliver Karstel

The power of the close-knit integration will be to give mining engineers the ability to run simulations and models in the blast design and simulation software from actual data in the field. The models will predict blast outcomes more accurately than models which are run on designed data that does not take bad drilling and charging variances into account.

 The design process will therefore be iterative, where an original design is updated real-time during the drilling and charging phase and intervention can be applied to the design or activity on the blast. An engineer who is doing a timing design will be able to run vibration and fragmentation models on the real positions of the holes and charge mass and will be able to adjust the timing as far as possible to accommodate this. By designing using historic and immediate information, engineers will also be able to better predict fly rock outcome and thus be able to apply focused mitigation.

The key is the real-time feedback (where connectivity in the field is available), which will give the users of the blast planning and design software the data instantaneously. The existing systems either target a reporting website, or they allow field data to be imported into their blast design systems, but not in real time.

Augmented reality and virtual reality views of the pits and the blocks will be available as part of the software suite (phase 2). Solar Mining Services plan to model the pit and all the blocks with data in 3D and push it on to a virtual reality platform. This is a longer view forward, but everything that they are building will work towards this.

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Crown Publications, one of South Africa’s largest business-to-business publishing houses, came into existence in 1986. Since then, the company has grown from producing a single magazine, Electricity SA (renamed Electricity+Control), to publishing six monthly magazines, three quarterlies, and a number of engineering handbooks.

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