July 20, 2020

How to import a Surpac block model into Whittle using an ASCII file

  Mining Engineers use Whittle in open pit mines to run the…
Avatar Stacy Epiga

Mining Engineers use Whittle in open pit mines to run the economic evaluation of any mining project or operation in order to determine the investment strategy. This also enables the development of a robust mine plan that maximizes profitability by taking into account real mining constraints. In addition, Whittle can also be used to determine the orientation of the mining sequence and to minimize any risks associated to the project while maximizing the net present value (NPV).

Whittle can read block models originating from some GMPs including Surpac. In this blog, we use Whittle 4.7.3 in conjunction with Surpac 2020.1.

There are three ways how to import a block model into Whittle using Surpac.

  • Users can import a block model as .mdl file which is a Surpac model
  • Users can import a block model as .mod and .par files which are Whittle models
  • Users can import a block model as ascii file which is .csv or text file

In this blog, we explore how to import an ASCII (csv) file as a block model into Whittle.


Mandatory attributes are:

  • Grade;
  • Density; and
  • Rock types

Note: ‘’AIR’’ blocks (above topo) must have zero for density, mass, and grade values at all times. Rock codes must have a maximum of 4 characters. Avoiding using reserved words like ‘’ROCK’’ for rock code.

Optional attributes:

  • Zone: consecutive integer
  • Mining Cost Adjustment Factor (MCAF)>0
  • Processing Cost Adjustment Factor (PCAF)>0

Note: No nulls and negative values for all attributes.

The ASCII file must have block indexes (I, J, K) as Whittle uses IJK. Coordinates (X, Y, and Z) are not used during the importation process.

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