The acquisition is part of a three-year collaborative research partnership with MIRARCO, based in Sudbury, Canada. MIRARCO is an innovative solution research provider for the mining industry and research arm of Laurentian University. They were instrumental in the original research leading to the development of RPM’s Schedule Optimisation Tool (SOT). SOT, along with Attain and Surface SOT, were products acquired by RPM as part of its July 2020 acquisition of Revolution Mining Software.
Commenting on this strategic acquisition and collaboration, RPM CEO and Managing Director Richard Mathews said, “We are very proud that MIRARCO continues to place their trust in RPM to further develop and commercialise these important optimisation programs.”
One of MIRARCO’s core research domains is furthering the research and development of decision support software for the mining industry.
MIRARCO has developed three separate but complementary underground mine planning optimisation products, which RPM has under this agreement agreed to acquire and commercialise. These products extend and complement the functionality of RPM’s mine optimisation software solutions in the areas of Advanced Valuation, GeoSequencing, and Ventilation.
As part of a strategic multi-year collaboration arrangement, RPM and MIRARCO will continue to work together on research and development projects that deliver demonstrable and innovative solutions for the mining industry.
The Advanced Valuation Module (AVM) facilitates the generation of optimised underground mine plans that are robust to uncertain product prices and ore grades. The mine planner specifies distributions for product prices over the mine’s life and ore grades. AVM will then optimise the life-of-mine schedule, maximising the operation’s Net Present Value (NPV).
The GeoSequencing Module (GSM) facilitates the generation of optimised underground mine schedules adhering to stope sequencing constraints that are motivated by geotechnical considerations. The mine planner selects the rules for stope sequencing and GSM automatically generates alternative sets of stope-to-stope dependencies, or GeoSequencing scenarios, while enforcing the selected rules. The output is an NPV optimised life-of-mine schedule based on the mine’s geotechnical considerations.
The Ventilation Constraint Module (VCM) generates optimised underground mine schedules based on ventilation constraints. Through interaction with a ventilation solver, VCM automatically generates airflow-based constraints on the equipment for each ventilation district. Using these constraints, VCM generates optimised NPV life-of-mine schedules that are feasible from a ventilation perspective.
Mathews said, “This acquisition is strategically important for two reasons. Firstly, it further supports our commitment to delivering real innovation to the industry through the ongoing investment and collaboration with the leading minds within key research and development institutes such as MIRARCO. Secondly, it continues our commitment to owning and further investing in the development of innovative strategic mine optimisation solutions particularly for our underground mining clients.”
“With the completion of this transaction, RPM is now the proud owner of nine underground mine planning software optimisation products that are used by software suppliers to the mining industry particularly in the underground space to build optimised underground life of mine plans.”
Mr Mathews concluded by saying, “RPM is very proud to add Advanced Valuation, Geosequencing and Ventilation to its suite of mine optimisation products. We started acquiring and developing underground mine optimisation products back in August 2017, starting with the acquisition of MineOptima (borne out of research of the Network Optimisation Group at the University of Melbourne) and then in July 2020 with the acquisition of Revolution Mining (borne out of research of MIRARCO, the mining research arm of Laurentian University) and now with MIRARCO once again.”
Dr. Nadia Mykytczuk, Interim President and CEO of MIRARCO and Executive Director of the Goodman School of Mines said “RPM’s global reach and drive to deliver innovative technology solutions for the mining industry make them a perfect industry partner for MIRARCO. We are looking forward to building on our already strong partnership and collaboration with RPM over the next three years and beyond.”
The acquisition has been completed with settlement contemporaneous with signature on 17 December 2021.
For a PDF version of this announcement, click here.