Gemcom Software has developed a new sub-level cave module called PCSLC which runs within the company’s geology and mine planning application Gemcom GEMS.
Inspired by Gemcom PCBC, which is widely used within the block caving community, PCSLC is a complete production scheduling and planning tool for sub-level caving operations.
Conventional mine planning software tools are not well suited to use with sub-level or block caving deposits due to their inability to model dilution behavior. PCSLC incorporates an algorithm called Template Mixing to simulate the flow of material between the mined out rings and into the active mining areas.
The module also provides the tools necessary to take a project from the block modelling stage right through the process of generating tunnels and then rings along the tunnels.  The rings are populated with tonnes and grades from the block model from which an insitu (or un-diluted) reserve can be estimated.
Following this process, a production schedule is set up, including the detailed mining sequence, level and total production constraints. The constraints are set up separately for drilling, loading and blasting activities. This makes for a more realistic production schedule – especially when one is looking at a variable extraction percentage from each ring, which is usually the case in a sub-level operation.
Thus far PCSLC has proved its capabilities by being calibrated against Itasca’s REBOP program as well as against some of the published results from Newcrest’s Ridgeway mine. In addition, PCSLC has been successfully used at De Beers Finsch and Venetia mines.

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