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An integrated approach to mine planning – building the integrated planning model at Tropicana gold mine


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Author B Catto, D Elder, R Edwards, M Kent and J Woodward


At Tropicana gold mine (TGM), mine planning is completed from ‘one source of truth’ known as the Integrated Planning Model (IPM). The IPM is a block model which forms a core component of the TGM Mine Planning System – used for short, medium and long-term mine planning cycles, and for Mine to Mill reconciliation.

The IPM was developed from a desire to consolidate long-term information contained in mineral resource and ore reserve models, with short-term information from the grade control processes, including grade control models and ore polygons.

The IPM is informed initially by resource models, upon which the longer term budget and schedules are based. The IPM is routinely updated with grade control models and ore design information, providing increased confidence for short to medium term mine planning. In this format, the IPM also provides a framework for reconciliation of resource performance with grade control, mining actuals and mining schedules, and ultimately milling. As well as a means for analysing past performance through reconciliation, it has proven its worth as a predictor of variation and an input to successful schedule sequencing and change management. The IPM is a critical component of the TGM Mine Planning System, providing a centralised framework for short interval mill feed prediction through to life-of-mine (LOM) planning.

Current development of the IPM is working towards incorporating Mine to Mill optimisation and real-time material tracking projects at TGM. If successful, the model will provide a truly powerful mine planning data source. Current development outlines a mechanism for tracking material from Mine to Mill, and for transferring mill performance data back to the IPM. Increasingly advanced material classification and mine planning, incorporating the multiple geometallurgical variables, will enable the mine to provide consistent mill feed products and result in a steady state and optimised mill.

This paper outlines the vision, creation and benefits of the IPM at TGM. It also introduces the ongoing developments to ensure the IPM becomes only more relevant to successful and integrated mine planning as TGM matures from the new kid on the block to the old hand in the neighbourhood.


Catto, B, Elder, D, Edwards, R, Kent, M and Woodward, J, 2017. An integrated approach to mine planning – building the integrated planning model at Tropicana gold mine, in Proceedings Tenth International Mining Geology Conference 2017, pp 305–314 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).