Bentley Systems, Incorporated

Bentley Systems Showcases at Infrastructure Best Practices Symposium and Awards

Bentley Systems Showcases at Infrastructure Best Practices Symposium and Awards

Bentley Systems, Incorporated

Infrastructure is integral to mining. With well established infrastructure in the vicinity of a deposit, projects can potentially be fast-tracked into production. On the contrary, inadequate planning, design and construction can impact the viability and sustainability of a project over its life and affect the bottom line.

IM featured Bentley Systems in November 2009. However the symposium made it clear that the company's software could be far-reaching for mining. Programs such as MicroStation, Bentley Structural, PlantSpace, ProSteel, ProjectWise, ProjectWise Navigator, Bentley Map and Geo Web Publisher have been used on these projects to an extent that even surprised some Bentley employees. These helped facilitate major infrastructure design and reporting that reduced costs and timings for the respective companies.

These are only three examples, but as Bentley's software evolves, we could be seeing much more of its products in the mining marketplace. Pieter Neethling, global solution executive: mining and metals spoke to IM about the direction the company was hoping to take in the next few years, saying that mining was going to play a big part. At the current time its mining customers are predominantly contractors and consultants.

However, he is shaping solutions that will become more geared to owner-operators, covering the whole process from exploration, to construction, to production, to processing and rehabilitation. With the ever increasing need to go deeper to reach lower grade orebodies, Neethling and Bentley realise that 3D modelling software and integrated geospatial solutions will play a big part in the mines of the future, for owner-operators and consultant alike.

QMM ilmenite project, Madagascar

Starting with the winner of the mining category, Hatch Africa, whose work on the QMM ilmenite project (a partnership between Rio Tinto and the Malagasy Government) in Fort Dauphin, Madagascar involved the construction of the $900 million ilmenite and zirsill sand mining operation, with EPCM joint venture partner, Fluor.

This included designing and building extensive ancillary services and infrastructure including the materials handling at the port, power station, mineral separation plant, wet plant, road, water supply and communications network. In addition to logistics, the island also posed environmental challenges for protecting flora and fauna.

An integrated geospatial solution, Anglo Coal

In contrast to the other finalists, Anglo Coal South Africa's use of Bentley was somewhat surprising. The New Vaal operation, which produces 16.14Mt/y of saleable coal with a calorific value of 15Mj/kg, is the sole supplier of coal to Lethabo Power Station in South Africa.

To improve efficiency and increase the accuracy of reporting at the mine, it required a system to link spatial information to various databases, allowing analysis of possible outcomes based on changing variables. Most of this information was inextricably linked to the survey department, with the operation having 11 separate operations that it wanted to standardise.

BHPB Rapid-Growth Project Newman Hub, PDC Consultants

BHP Billiton retained PDC Consultants to provide mine information modelling with intelligent 3D review models and shop detailing for more than 7,200t of mechanical and structural steel and associated platework at the Newman Hub, in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

The expanded mining operations will include a car dumping facility, crushing and screening plant, coarse ore stockpile, stockyard and train load-out facilities, 12 conveyors and transfer stations, and associated infrastructure. The mining process was streamlined, with the company having all crushing and screening facilities at the mine, instead of the port, reducing the environmental footprint required.