Maptek Vulcan 9.1 delivers widespread improvements to the flagship modeling and mine planning product.

Standout new features are Gantt Scheduler for underground operations, Level Designer for stope access design, and enhancements to the established Implicit Modelling feature. Vulcan 9.1 also offers major upgrades to Pit Optimiser, Borehole Geophysics and stratigraphic modeling tools.  "We want to ensure customers spend less time processing data, leaving more time to apply their expertise to critical analysis and decision making," said Vulcan product manager Eric Gonzalez. "For example, pit optimizations for both single- and multi-pit designs are up to 95-percent faster in Vulcan 9.1. A calculation that may have taken four hours now takes seconds."

The Gantt Scheduler is straightforward to set up and run, with scheduling activities created directly from mine designs. Attributes can be generated on the fly, allowing schedules to be seamlessly updated when designs are modified. "Gantt Scheduler sets a new standard for integrated design and scheduling," said Gonzalez. "Underground mine engineers will benefit from a faster, streamlined approach to long-term strategic planning and detailed design tasks."

Level Designer creates hundreds of crosscuts in seconds. Design strings and cost information are provided for each development scenario, allowing engineers to determine an optimal plan for stope access. "Stope Optimiser generates stope shapes, which Level Designer leverages for designing access points, and the information is then scheduled in Gantt Scheduler. Vulcan Ring Design tools are then used to drill out the stope for handover to production," explained Gonzalez. "Underground mine development is now done entirely in Vulcan."

New Implicit Modelling options in Vulcan 9.1 include sample selection tools and triangulation output controls. More complex settings can be modeled into domains, including on-the-fly combinations of geological database codes. "Vulcan users can set up large, multi-domain geological models. The models can be applied and updated for ‘what if’ scenarios throughout the mine planning cycle," said Gonzalez.

New predefined pit-by-pit graphs or period-by-period charts in Pit Optimiser reduce the amount of customization required in Excel. Users do not need to regularize and manipulate models, or import/export data for processing. Improved analysis and viewing tools allow more "what if" scenarios to be run in the same timeframe. The result is a superior pit design. "Both Pit Optimiser and Level Designer provide quick previews before running calculations in detail, so users can decide which designs are worth developing," said Gonzalez. "A combination of scenarios can be chosen for the final design."

Stratigraphic modeling upgrades allow users to combine different modelling methods into a "hybrid" approach which makes best use of their available data. A new interface to borehole geophysics streamlines database interpretation.

CAD data is now handled by graphics card drivers for improved performance, building on support for triangulations and block models introduced in earlier releases. "Vulcan 9.1 follows the Maptek philosophy to provide powerful tools that help make geologists, engineers and other mining professionals as efficient as possible," concluded Gonzalez. "The new functionality in this release rounds out the Vulcan underground planning cycle from drillhole manipulation, through implicit geological modeling, resource estimation, stope optimization and strategic mine design, to detailed resource based scheduling. Engineers can feel they have really done their due diligence." Vulcan 9.1 is in the final stages of beta testing. Release to customers is scheduled from mid-November.

Maptek is a leading provider of innovative software, hardware and services for the global mining industry with offices in North and South America, Europe, Africa and Australia. Products marketed by Maptek cover the whole mining cycle from exploration to reclamation, and are in use across 1,700 sites in more than 70 countries. Vulcan is the world leader in 3D mine planning and modeling packages. I-Site is an integrated hardware and software system for 3D laser scanning, surveying and imaging. Sentry is a laser-based system for tracking changes to surfaces over time. PerfectDig helps companies "mine to design" by comparing excavation with designs in the field. BlastLogic is intelligent 3D drillhole validation and load design software. Maptek Eureka provides an interactive 3D environment for visualizing and interpreting geophysical and seismic data.