4D Multi-Disciplinary Data Management for Mineral Exploration and Mining


John McGaughey (Mira Geoscience)

Data management systems purpose-built for managing multi-disciplinary exploration and geotechnical data are required for project teams to share data, models, and analysis for optimal decision making. This has been long recognized in the oil and gas industry for a similar business purpose, while not historically embraced in the minerals industry. Although drillhole databases are commonplace in mineral exploration and mining, there is currently a lack of systems and best practices to manage an organization’s comprehensive technical project data, interpretation, and decisions. We anticipate the importance of such a capability growing in mineral exploration as exploration becomes more technical and quantitative under the current imperative for deep search. At the mine site, the pressing geotechnical hazard assessment problem in deep mining cannot be addressed properly without a multi-disciplinary 4D data management system. This is because geotechnical hazards are time-dependent, the underlying data are time-dependent, and results of analysis must be routinely updated. Geohazard assessment cannot be done by modelling and analysis systems without an underlying data management framework that can handle the entire range of both static and dynamic data pertaining to the geotechnical hazard problem. A 4D data management system has been developed over the past two years by Mira Geoscience under the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI) “Smart Underground Monitoring and Integrated Technologies” (SUMIT) program and the “Mining Observatory Data Control Centre” (MODCC) project. The system we have developed is called “Geoscience INTEGRATOR”. The system design objective under SUMIT was to “provide SUMIT researchers with user-friendly access to mine datasets and their contextual information in order to facilitate and optimize research efforts.” Under the MODCC project the system has been extended to exploration data with a powerful 3D visual query interface. The focus of these projects was general exploration and underground mine data management. The system is being further extended to support, track, and automatically report on a 4D dynamic mine models and associated geohazards, in addition to the current capability of managing the underlying primary data.