The state of Nevada is currently the fifth largest gold producer in the world. First discovered in 1849 by prospectors on their way to the California gold rush, gold and later silver caused several booms, with production really picking up in the 1960s thanks to new metallurgical techniques which meant recovery of more gold than ever before. Looking at old mines from the 1800s with our modern perspective provides great opportunities.
Newrange Gold is bringing new things to old places at the Pamlico project, which was one of the highest-grade gold districts in Nevada in the 1880s. Records of the mine workings are lost and the workings have never been systematically studied, leaving an enormous opportunity to map, survey, and sample the old exposures. With 5 miles or more of historic mine tunnels dating from the period of 1884 to about 1928, you can understand why no-one has done it before: it would be too time-consuming and costly to do with conventional surveying.
My company, Carrington Consulting, invested in the ZEB Horizon to expedite surveying, mapping and sampling at our client company, Newrange Gold Corp., at the Pamlico project. Systematically scanning the complex, interconnected workings has generated an unprecedented 3D map of the mine workings and has resulted in greater than 50% savings to date over conventional surveying and mapping techniques.
“Our experience with the ZEB Horizon so far is vastly superior to traditional methods and is an indispensable part of my exploration toolkit.“
In addition to revealing very subtle structural details of the geology, this mapping will form an essential part of modelling historic production and the remaining gold resource at the project going forward. This revolutionary hand held LIDAR scanning technology allows us to complete extremely accurate underground geological and sampling maps, volume analysis of material moved, and careful planning of exploration drilling to better calculate mineral resources in preparation for possible resource definition and mining at Pamlico.
Carrington Consulting’s team is scanning more than 5 miles of tunnels at Pamlico for Newrange. These workings extend over an area more than 1,500 feet long and 800 feet wide with a vertical depth of roughly 300 feet and form an extensive network of adits, tunnels, stopes and raises with at least 30 major entrances that are largely interconnected. Scanning is tied to established surface survey control for registration and orientation so the scan can be accurately carried underground. Underground survey control points are established using a series of spheres to allow Newrange’s geologists to later reoccupy the points to complete the geological mapping.
Many of the mine workings are less than a metre wide and in some cases, they are also less than a metre high following the gold vein, wherever it goes, forming a very irregular, complex network of tunnels and stopes. It would be prohibitively slow and expensive to do this essential mapping with conventional surveying or terrestrial scanning, but the ZEB Horizon makes it realistic for Newrange to accomplish this ambitious goal.
As always safety is paramount, especially when entering old mine tunnels and stopes. With the 100 meter distance capability of the Horizon no one needs to go into unsafe areas. In addition virtually every timber, ladder, and detail are recorded.
We have produced highly accurate data of mine workings up to ¼ mile in length in less than 15 minutes, which changes the game for Newrange at Pamlico. As Newrange gathers information on gold grades from sampling throughout these workings, we are integrating additional layers of information to build a comprehensive 3D model of the geology across the entire area of old underground workings.
Iowa Department of Transport uses SLAM to create 3D models of salt stockpiles
10 mins per scan
Words by Tina Greensfield | Iowa DOT
At Iowa State DOT (Department of Transport) it is our job to make sure over 24,000 miles of road remains clear and safe to use in winter. We have 109 maintenance areas across the state where stockpiles of salt are kept for distribution. Each facility can each hold up to 1200 tonnes.
Throughout winter salt is loaded onto trucks and spread on roads to stop the surface from freezing. Pay loads are measured in weight as salt is loaded onto spreading trucks and supplies are depleted. But as the salt is used, there is a clear discrepancy between the volume of salt in the shed and the paper records – it is not reliable to just look inside a half-empty shed and assess how much material remains.
If volume of salt is too low or we don’t know how much is available, we may find ourselves forced to make snap decisions about redistribution which is both costly to the state and inconvenient to residents and businesses alike.
We needed another solution and following a few severe winters where salt reserves around the country ran out, the Great Lakes froze and shipments were halted we were determined to invest in a reliable measuring process for managing stockpiles in future, which led us to a GeoSLAM volumes solution.
“In terms of speed and accuracy, this was a real game changer for us!“
Using the handheld SLAM device, we can produce a three-dimensional model of the stockpile in just a few minutes. We have never experienced this level of accuracy before and capturing data was as easy as surveying the site with the naked eye.
The surface of the stockpile is very uneven with lumps on one side and big cliffs on the other where loaders have dug-out salt for spreading, in the past our ‘best guess’ used to involve looking at the stockpile against some markers on the walls of the shed which provided limited accuracy to say the least, so this was a real game changer for us.
Data is then processed using GeoSLAM Hub and imported to the volumes software. As the granules vary in size, we apply a bulk density value as well as defining a floor and perimeter of each pile calculate the total volume of the stockpile in tonnes.
From start to end, the entire process took around twenty minutes. We now have depot staff going out and scanning the stockpiles regularly. This new level of insight means we don’t have to worry about compromising road users’ safety across the state of Iowa as we always know what volume of salt we have available to use.
Glencore uses GeoSLAM to assess risk in underground base metal mine
15 mins per scan
Base metal mine
Kidd Mine, Glencore | Natural resource company
When creating underground mapping for mines, mining engineers are often faced with having to work in hazardous and rugged environments, in difficult-to-access spaces and without GPS coverage. In order to address these challenges, mining companies are continuously searching for ways to plan efficient site operations, streamline tunnelling processes and optimise production and personnel safety.
Kidd Mine, an underground base metal mine in Canada and the world’s deepest copper/ zinc mine, epitomises this by adopting new and advanced survey technology. With the aid of GeoSLAM’s 3D mapping technology, the mine is able to assess risk associated with ground and support systems failure, magnitude seismic events, large-scale deformation or rock bursts associated with mining at extreme depths.
Built for harsh and demanding environments, GeoSLAM’s handheld laser scanners are robust, splash-proof and dust-tight (with ratings up to IP64 level). They’re adaptable to any environment – inside or outside, in daylight and darkness – without the need for GPS.
Lightweight and easy-to-use, you can walk and survey accessible areas quickly and easily – even those which are normally off-limits. For more confined or unreachable places, they can be attached to trolleys or mine vehicles for remote monitoring.
“It’s critical data that will help us lower the risk to personnel and keep mines safer“
David Counter, a senior ground control engineer at the Kidd Mine, emphasised the importance of using a hand-held laser scanning device to map the underground areas at the mine. “It produces a continuous 3D animation image of whatever underground areas are being scanned as the user walks along the drift. This allows the mine to map out problem areas and to carry out ground support rehabilitation in those areas.”
“The ZEB Revo provides a background dataset that can be used for comparative purposes if a future high-magnitude seismic event occurs or for determining how much static deformation has been occurring due to regional mine closure over time.”
Despite needing to rapidly map mines under intense time constraints, traditional underground survey techniques have proved to be slow. Mine engineers and surveyors all need access to user friendly technology that is easy to install and use, but is robust and reliable enough to do the job quickly and accurately. Within minutes anyone can be using a GeoSLAM scanner and immediately start creating a 3D point cloud of the area. Data is collected continuously while walking the survey area – with no time-consuming or cumbersome set-up required.
GeoSLAM’s award-winning software instantly turns data into actionable 3D information. So, you can rapidly gain insight into rock mass behaviour and map out deformations in rock walls & complex tunnel profiles. Plus, accelerated survey workflows help you deliver productivity and efficiency improvements, at the same time as helping you hit your zero-harm targets.
“There is a sound basis for SLAM laser technology to define areas where the ground support systems need to be replaced or rehabilitated,” Counter concluded.
Beck Engineering uses GeoSLAM for creating accurate underground maps for mining
Beck Engineering | Words by Evan Jones
“Beck Engineering is an Australian mining engineering consultancy specialising in mining and rock mechanics analysis. Creating highly-accurate underground maps for the mining and natural resource sector is one of the most demanding forms of surveying. Most mine environments are hazardous, and we need to work in tight, enclosed spaces, which are uneven and difficult to access. GPS coverage is, of course, non-existent.
We map mines under intense time constraints using versatile technology which must be adaptable to this tough environment. For this purpose, the we have chosen GeoSLAM’s handheld mobile mapping devices that are compact, portable and deliver a high level of accuracy. With GeoSLAM’s ’go-anywhere’ 3D technology, Beck Engineering has immediate access to invaluable data regarding underground conditions. This time-sensitive information means we can accurately measure the shape of an excavation or tunnel over time.
As a result, tunnels can be faster and better constructed, while being safer and considerably more cost efficient. The applications of the spatially continuous monitoring data collected by GeoSLAM’s devices are being applied to a wide range of geomechanical applications, providing their clients with a previously unattainable insight into rock mass behaviour.
“Laser scanning in underground mines is now routinely conducted to measure deformation, assess residual ground support capacity, determine rehabilitation requirements and confirm excavation stability “
We have continued to use GeoSLAM products as they have proven to be affordable, lightweight and sufficiently robust devices for their application underground. GeoSLAM continue to produce a high-quality device that is at the forefront of practical mobile laser scanning devices.