Surpac Mine Planning Software

Surpac is a leader of the mining software solutions that emerged during the 80’s as computing capability led to advent of computer modelling and design.

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Surpac is one of the most widely used resource modelling and mining planning software products for metals and non-seam resource projects globally. Key features include:

  • Global sales and support network.
  • Covers all disciplines, Geology, Resource Modelling, Mine Engineering, Survey, Production, Surface and Underground.
  • Multi-language including ability to add and customise.
  • Flexible scripting tools to allow automation of processes and development of product extensions
  • Reads and writes native file formats of other mine planning products, including some CAD and GIS formats.
  • Widely used and supported by consulting industry. High Mining school/University uptake.
  • Range of 3rd party product extensions available including GCX (Grade Control System – Cube Consulting), Ringking (UG Ring Design App – Mine Solutions)

A key feature of Surpac is the availability of the range of complementary products, also from Dassault/Geovia, including Whittle Pit Optimisation, MineSched Scheduler, Minex Coal and Stratified/Seam modeling and Gems.

History

Early years

Surpac began as a mine surveyor product, which resulted in early strength in volume calculations. Mine Surveyors have a strong technical role in mining operations in Australia and the expanding range of technical tools, and early .cmd macros allowed users to automate day to day production activities, including the production and plotting of sections and the grade control function. Direct editing of on screen data and flexible handling of files made the system intuitive to use, helping it gain in popularity as a production tool.

Block modelling

The introduction of in innovative new block modelling module in the mid 90’s, and first to market on Windows ’95 positioned Surpac as a Geology, Resource Modelling, Mine Planning and Production system, building on its reputation for ease-of-use and flexibility. The block model used a new approach, where the full block model was loaded to memory allowing the introduction of an ‘Octree’ decision algorithm for sub-blocking. Constraints such as solids, dtms and strings files remained separate from the block model data file providing users greater flexibility in building models. However, the increased memory demands initially constrained Surpac in processing very large or highly detailed models such as narrow vein systems that escalated the memory demands. The eventual release of a 64bit version of Surpac together with rapid increase in processing speeds and onboard memory has meant that the power of the Surpac block modelling system has continued to strengthen and memory limitations impeding the processing of large models have diminished.

Macros and scripting

From its inception, Geoff Bebb and his team realised the potential benefits of a user command language that could drive every function within the product, and hence the implementation of the .cmd macros and keyboard aliases. The ability to record and playback function sequences was significant. The macros were popular with users who found that they could automate many of regular activities, especially making production activities more repeatable and efficient. The popularity and important of the scripting tools led to the implementation of the .TCL Scripting tools in the mid 90’s, with command extensions that covered every system function. New custom functions allowed point and triangle data to be created and manipulated directly in the system together with drawing functions that allowed data to be presented and modified on screen.

The new .TCL (and Surpac Extensions .SCL) constitute a structured scripting language that allowed users to create procedures and functions that were more powerful and maintainable. The quality of third party applications developed since that time is testament to the quality and flexibility of the scripting tools and benefits that the industry has gained from those innovations.

Markets

Surpac was originally developed in Perth, Western Australia by Founder Geoff Bebb starting in 1978. By the early 1990’s it had sales and support operations in South Africa, US and Canada, with partners in South America and India. By late 90’s Chinese and Russian language translations were released  and sales/support operations established.

The release of Product Configurations for Exploration (Xplorpac) and Quarrying (Quarry) helped extend the product into related industries in the late 1990’s further extending its user and install base.

Surpac has historically had leading or strong market share in most regions of the world for non-seam or layered (essentially metals) mining projects, with the exception of North and South America where Gemcom (Now Gems) and MineSight established early leadership as local providers (Gems – Canada, MineSight – US). More recently Surpac has gained market share in the Americas as the benefits of its scripting tools, Spanish/French Language translations and ability to read and write the native file formats of complementary, CAD and GIS systems are increasingly recognised.

Ownership

Founder, Geoff Bebb, owned from inception to 2000 when new private investors were introduced.

In 2002 Surpac Software acquired the Minex Company forming Surpac Minex Group.

In mid 2006 Gemcom Software acquired Surpac Minex Group.

Dassault Systemes acquired the group in mid 2012.

Vendor Details

Dassault Systèmes Canada Software Inc.

Suite 1100 – 1066 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, B.C.
Canada V6E 3X1

P: +1 604 684 6550
E: GEOVIA.info@3ds.com

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