Resource characterisation/ Rolling forecasting

Operative deposit modeling for resource characterisation to support better mine planning

- Ongoing


The introduction of rolling forecasting is innovative as it ensures that long-, medium- and short-term planning decisions are always based on up-to-date predictions. The employed software, the Linear Octree Based Geological Modelling Systems proved to be fast and resilient. Diagnostic output is provided so that the system may be incorporated in future Mining 4.0 environments.


Operative Deposit modelling is a rolling forecasting technique which blends seamlessly into the existing planning procedures of underground or opencast mines. The approach is based on the use of production data (i.e. block grades or blasthole samples) to run daily updates of property models. This ensures that geologists and mining engineers are always provided with property predictions based on most recently acquired data. The employed software has to meet a number of requirements: In order to keep costs for system operation at a minimum, it has to be handled by the personnel at a mine's monitoring and control centre. In addition to that, it must perform all necessary tasks quickly and in a highly automated fashion. Reliability is of paramount importance as a system failure or the loss of data could seriously affect a mine's quality management. These constraints were met by the Linear Octree Based Property Modelling system, a generic toolbox for geological modelling conceived and realised at Free University of Berlin. An intuitive graphical user interface was set up using the Tcl/Tk scripting language. Monitoring the prediction performance rendered it possible to subject property modelling itself to a quality management scheme. Important innovations were the introduction of rolling forecasting, the automatisation of the property estimation as well as the paradigm shifts from user-driven to data driven prediction and from a task-oriented to a process oriented user interface. The first package was implemented at RHIM's Breitenau magnesite mine in Styria, Austria, where the bulk of raw material is extracted from underground workings. Later on, a software version for opencast mines has been developed which is used at the company's Weissenstein magnesite mine near Hochfilzen, Tyrol, Austria. The ongoing use demonstrates that the implemented Operative Deposit Modelling system is meeting all expectations.

Impact on the mining value chain

  • EXTRACTION (incl. Permitting)
  • DATA and knowledge base


  • reduced grade deposit mining
  • increased environmental performance

Linked policies


Rolling forecasting safeguards that models describing the spatial variability of grades or quality parameters are always kept up-to-date. This approach is transferable to any type of mining operation. Operative Deposit Modelling is a tool to blend property modelling into the planning procedures of running mining operations. In order to use properties of run-of-mine material from underground workings for model updates, georeferencing of the extraction site is an indispensable prerequisite. The underlying Linear Octree Based Geological Modelling System has proven to be fast, resilient, and fault-tolerant.

Impact area(s): 

Environment, Quantity of natural resources
Impact on listed area: 

+:  Higher resource efficiency due to higher recovery rates from an ore deposit

Economic, Financial flows and profitability
Impact on listed area: 

+: Reduction of costs to the company due to lower storage requirements; higher profitability due to better quality controls

Innovation drivers and barriers
Key economic driver for innovation at Breitenau magnesite mine was the just-in-time type of operation and the direct link to a magnesite plant. Raw material quality constraints are set by the adjacent plant on a daily basis according to the envisaged refractory product. Due to the location in the narrow Breitenau valley there is no sufficient space available for a large blending yard. The up-to-date planning base helped to avoid costly delays in providing the plant with raw material of the desired quality. In addition to that, the system helps reduce the capital employed by minimising the amount of material in the stockpile.

Good practice areas

Resource security
The availability of up-to-date geological models enables geologists and mining engineers to identify and to apply optimum mining practices for a sustainable use of deposit.
Economic sustainability
The availability of up-to-date geological models enables geologists and mining engineers to identify and to apply optimum mining practices for a sustainable use of deposit.

Organisations involved

Freie Universität Berlin, Institute of Geological Sciences, Berlin
EurGeol Dipl.-Geol. René Prissang, independent consultant, Berlin
Veitsch-Radex GmbH & Co OG, a wholly-owned subsidiary of RHI Magnesita NV of Arnhem (The Netherlands)

Innovation category