Maptek™ Vulcan™ 9.1 offers a range of improvements to the flagship modelling and mine planning product. New features include the Gantt scheduler for underground operations, level designer for stope access design and enhancements to implicit modelling, as well as offering major upgrades to pit optimiser, borehole geophysics and stratigraphic modelling tools. Eric Gonzalez, Vulcan Product Manager said: ‘We want to ensure customers spend less time processing data, leaving more time to apply their expertise to critical analysis and decision making. For example, pit optimisations for both single and multi-pit designs are up to 95% 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 Schedulersets 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.’A 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.’The new implicit modelling options in Vulcan 9.1 include sample selection tools and triangulation output controls. More complex settings can be modelled 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,’ added Gonzalez.New predefined pit-by-pit graphs or period-by-period charts in pit optimiser reduce the amount of customisation required in Excel. Users do not need to regularise 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. ‘Both Pit Optimiser and Level Designer provide quick previews before running calculations in detail, so users can decide which designs are worth developing. A combination of scenarios can be chosen for the final design,’ concluded Gonzalez.Stratigraphic modelling 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.‘The new functionality in this release rounds out the Vulcan underground planning cycle from drillhole manipulation, through implicit geological modelling, resource estimation, stope optimisation and strategic mine design, to detailed resource based scheduling. Engineers can feel they have really done their due diligence’, said Gonzalez.