December 12, 2020

How to set up a new PCBC project

PCBC has been upgraded to include improved functionality and an easier workflow…
Avatar Thirusha Pillay

PCBC has been upgraded to include improved functionality and an easier workflow for better planning and scheduling of Block Cave mines.

Today’s article outlines the keys steps required in setting up a new PCBC project in GEMS v6.8.3 onwards.

This is a summarized set of notes to provide guidance around key inputs and general setup for a PCBC project. It should not be used as a substitute for proper user training.

The following sections are covered.

  • PCBC project setup
  • Basic block model requirements
  • Footprint Finder
  • Creating a Draw Point layout and Draw Cone geometry
  • Generating Slice Files
  • Calculating the Best Height of Draw
  • Sequencing and Scheduling

Summary of PCBC workflow:

STEP 1: Setting up a PCBC Project

    1. Create PCBC Block Caving Workspaces (Workspaces->Create or Modify Workspace)
    2. Create a SETUP Advanced Profile (PCBC->Projects->Advanced Profiles-> SETUP)
    3. Create a Grade elements list profile (PCBC->Projects->Advanced Profiles->GRADE0)
    4. Create a Economic profile (PCBC->Projects->Advanced Profiles->ECO0)
    5. Save Caving Area (Right click on Caving Area -> Save)
    6. Create Rock codes (Format->Other Profiles->Rock Codes)
    7. Create General Display Profiles (Block attributes, Tunnels, Lines etc.) (Format->…)
    8. Create Plan Views to represent the levels (View->Vertical Section)
    9. Create Vertical sections (View->Plan View)

STEP 2: Setting up the block model

    1. Check the Density attributes ( all blocks should have a density value except Air blocks)
    2. Percent attribute should be set to 100%
    3. Check the Grade attributes
    4. Create other block attributes if needed (Footprint Finder, Ore, Dilution, NSR)
    5. Calculate Net Smelter Return (NSR) block attribute (optional)
    6. Check the Rock types attribute

STEP 3: Footprint Finder – Determines elevation and footprint shape

1. Create and setup a Footprint finder caving area (Right click on Caving Area -> New Area)

2. Update NSR block model attribute using simple manipulation script (Block > Edit > Simple manipulation). If no NSR model available then use the ECO0 profile and calculate economic/dollar model (PCBC->Applications->Footprint Finder->Update Economic/Dollar Model).

3. Create and save clipping polygon around area of interest ( Edit -> Clip -> Create Clipping Boundary; Edit -> Clip -> Save Clipping Boundary)

4. Create and fill out FF2 Advanced Profile (PCBC->Projects->Advanced Profiles->FF2)

      1. Enter assumptions for FF parameters (i.e. vertical mining rate, draw point cost per area, production targets, etc.)

5. Run Footprint finder (PCBC->Applications->Footprint Finder-> Run Footprint Finder with Specified Surface)

6 Set-up for a Mini-Schedule

      1. Initialize SECTORS attribute in block model ( Right click on attribute -> Initialize)
      2. Create shape profile (PCBC->Projects->XY Curves)
      3. Set-up sequence sheet (sequence.xlsx) in Footprint Finder excel file

7. Run Footprint finder (PCBC->Applications->Footprint Finder-> Run Footprint Finder with Specified Surface)

8. Change name of excel file in FF2 advanced profile each time Footprint Finder is run so that excel file results does not get overwritten.

STEP 4: Draw Points Generation – Determines draw point locations

a. Option 1: Layout Generation Tool

  1. Create clipping polygon for layout (Edit -> Clip -> Create Clipping Boundary; Edit -> Clip -> Save Clipping Boundary). Usually determined from footprint finder results.
  2. Create and fill out LAY advanced profile and enter design criteria (PCBC->Projects->Advanced Profiles->LAY)
  3. Update the properties of the draw points. Select draw points and edit selected draw points (PCBC->Select Draw Points->Select All; PCBC->Select Draw Points-> Edit Selected Draw Points)
  4. Save caving area (Right click on Caving Area -> Save)

b. Option 2: Import the Draw Points from Excel

  1. Setup the Excel file to have the below header row, update the columns with draw point information. The columns highlighted in yellow are the minimum requirements, the orange column needs to be a unique value and the green columns are placeholders for the cone shape, production rate curve and draw point status.


To upgrade your software and take advantage of the new PCBC functionality, download GEMS from the GEOVIA Support Forum.

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