Underground software gaining rapid acceptance

RUNGE’S new XPAC Underground Coal Module is fast gaining momentum in the underground coal industry. To date the software has been sold to 16 underground mines, including eight South African mines owned by Sasol.

Staff Reporter

Runge’s Underground module includes a CAD package, which has been customised for drawing underground coal operations.

Drawing a gate road, for example, is as simple as clicking and dragging a mouse, Runge said. The CAD package contains all the usual layers and drawing tools and the inclusion of a gridding system vastly reduces the requirement to go back and forth from a geological package.

Another feature of this software is the ability to have automated reserving and scheduling updates when the mine design is changed. The package uses ‘smart objects’ which means one design change automatically realigns all other design parameters, including scheduling. This speeds up the planning cycle.

Runge said its vision is to provide automated software tools, which takes information from any variety of geological modelling system and processes the data into reports and results. This puts the onsite engineer in the "box seat" for making decisions based on sound economic principles.

Similary, Runge's Automated Scheduling Package - the AutoScheduler, which has been on the market for over seven years and used in metalliferous mines - is gaining acceptance in open-cut coal operations. Four such Australian mines have adopted the software which provides a total solution for mine planning, scheduling and costing analysis and reporting.

All Runge’s systems come together to provide input to economic analysis using the XERAS financial modelling package. XERAS is a financial modelling system designed specifically for capital intensive operations. It features a user friendly interface, with an "excel" look and feel, while combining the real power of a database.

Recent developments have resulted in a new product named "XERAS Advanced Budgeting". This product adds a whole new dimension to XERAS budget development as it allows a number of users to update a single XERAS budget model, across an NT network, simultaneously. This provides great efficiency in development and useability of detailed corporate budget models, Runge said.

"As far as software development is concerned, Runge is unique," said Christian Larsen, business development manager at Runge. "While other software development companies are now realising the benefits associated with consulting to their customers, Runge has always maintained a close consulting relationship with our customers, and this ensures that our software development is headed in the direction which adds the most value to mining operations."

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