Students at the Wits School of Mining Engineering in South Africa are using a high-tech programme to manage mining operations.
The school has collaborated with decision-analysis software company Palisade and licensed access to the @RISK software for its staff and 100 computers in its mine design laboratory.
The software can be used by academics in different subject areas in their own research.
Wits Mineral Resources and Reserves JCI professor Dick Minnitt said: "An understanding of stochastic analysis or probabilistic analysis is a vital part of every mining engineer's skill set.
"Mines succeed on the basis of good decisions, and engineers must evaluate the uncertainties in every decision they face, before choosing the best one.
"Stochastic modelling is a significant advance in thinking about the answers we get for any calculations, especially those involving variables that can take on a range of different values."
The new software can be applied in various mine planning aspects starting from operations to finance modelling to enable the engineer to contribute to any assessment of risk and opportunity, systematically.
Palisade EMEA managing director Craig Ferri said: "@RISK is a software programme that supports this probabilistic approach, helping users to make good decisions in conditions of uncertainty.
"The software allows students at Wits to explore the sensitivities associated with optimal mine designs in a much simpler, robust and intuitive way."
The collaboration looks to leverage digital technologies to improve productivity, modern skill sets as well as encourage safer practices.
Image: Wits students familiarising themselves with the @RISK software in the mine design laboratory. Photo: courtesy of Wits School of Mining Engineering.