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ZPM – An Irregular Block Orebody Model


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Author Teoh B and Wooller R


The 3-D regular block model used for long term mine planning at Hamersley Iron did not fulfil the requirements for short term mine planning in terms of accurate representation of geological structures, contacts and boundaries in the orebodies. A computer model, based on zone plans, is being created as a single orebody model for all phases of mine planning. The zone plan is the primary interface between the geologists and mining engineers. It is essentially a bench plan at mid-bench height showing geological structure, material type boundaries, the grade and physical characteristics of ore blocks. The method allows for the dilution of ore zones by waste material. The stratiform nature of the orebodies allows zones of varying grade to be readily delineated on the plans. The Zone Plan Model (ZPM) is the interface between geological and mine planning computer systems. It is the basis of all mine planning with applications including long and short term mine plans, reconciliations, general ore reserve estimations, pit design and general model enquiries. The system was designed to be user driven. The user has complete control at all times as all computer generated data are fed back to the user who may then elect to override the computer. Various controls were built into the system to ensure model validity and integrity. The system has proved to be invaluable as a tool for users with little or no computing experience.