RPMGlobal extends optimisation tool to open pit operations in latest SOT upgrade

3 May 2021

RPMGlobal has announced a number of significant improvements to its leading Schedule Optimisation Tool (SOT), marking the most significant software release of the product since it was acquired by RPM through the acquisition of Revolution Mining Software Inc in 2020.

The latest release of SOT, SOT4, includes an extensive list of functionality enhancements designed to add additional value to the end-user, including the introduction of open pit functionality.

SOT has long been regarded as the industry’s only strategic, financial optimisation tool for underground mines that maximises productivity and profitability outcomes by optimising the net present value (NPV) of the mine schedule.

SOT4 now provides the same functionality that the underground operations have benefited from for many years to surface mining operations across all commodities.

The upgraded SOT is particularly relevant for open pit operations investigating a transition to an underground environment, with the latest release enabling end-users to identify economic considerations that will provide the optimal point for that transition to occur.

As a result, mine planners can now overcome the ongoing and time consuming process involved in determining when and how to transition from open pit to underground efficiently.

RPMGlobal Chief Executive Officer Richard Mathews said this new functionality would be important for open pit operations.

“SOT is relied upon by underground operations all over the world, and with this new release, open pit operations can now unlock greater levels of productivity and profitability,” he said.

“The ability to run multiple scenarios to find the optimal schedule that maximises revenue is critical to ensuring optimal value can be achieved.”

The latest upgrade to SOT encompasses a string of other important features, including an upgrade to the economic schedule which is a post-processing step after the initial schedule optimisation has been completed.

It labels each block as ‘contributing’ or not to the highest-value pit and re-assesses the NPV of the resulting pit.

There is also advanced blending capability whereby the mine planner can specify a set of blending constraints for each plant that defines a minimum and maximum ratio and allowable variances.

The embedded stockpiling capabilities have also undergone enhancements, with the end-user now able to specify the number of footprints to be used for stockpiles and maximum tonnages of each. SOT then determines the grade range for each stockpile and creates an overflow stockpile when necessary.

RPMGlobal acquired SOT — then owned by Revolution Mining Software— in July 2020 to complement its existing suite of innovative design, scheduling and optimisation products.

Mathews said that SOT would continue to be agnostic of the scheduling software that is being used by the operation.

“While there is some overlap in the software offerings of all these companies, it is RPMGlobal’s underlying philosophy that technological integration and seamless communication between solutions and vendors is critical to the advancement of the mining sector,” he said.

Existing users of SOT will receive the upgrade to SOT 4 as part of their maintenance package.

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