Cost-Estimating Software for Underground Mines
Sherpa Underground is an engineering-based, menu-driven program that uses production and deposit data supplied by the user to calculate over 800 engineering parameters, which are in turn used by the program to estimate equipment, labor, and supply costs. The user works through these parameters, changing them as necessary to tailor the estimate to conditions at a specific location.
Sherpa for Underground Mines is Designed to:
1. Handle four different deposit types: vein, massive, bedded, and elongate.
2. Examine variations of six different stoping methods, including Cut and Fill, Shrinkage, Room and Pillar, Vertical Crater Retreat, Sublevel Longhole, and End Slicing. The program will estimate all of the underground development requirements associated with these methods. Users may then alter these to accommodate their variations to the methods.
3. Report costs in a cash-flow format. The program handles up to six separate production segments, or phases, which may be spread over a mine life of up to 25 years.
4. Handle changes in all input variables from one production segment to the next. Items such as daily production rates, stoping methods, development requirements, wages, salaries, supply prices, equipment types and sizes, and a host of other project parameters can be altered as necessary to meet the user's specifications.
5. Apply combinations of two different stoping methods to the same deposit
6. Fully explain program operations through a user's manual. Stope and deposit models, utility functions, and equations used by the program are all defined. Also included is a detailed tutorial example that enables the user to quickly learn the primary features of the program.
7. Provide help screens for each entry. These screens explain the type of information requested by the program and the way in which Sherpa determines its suggested values. Help screens also provide the user with alternative data that can be used to modify Sherpa's suggested values.
8. Evaluate projects using either English or Metric units.
9. Send complete project output reports directly to any printer. In addition, program output may also be saved to text files. Theses files can then be imported into any major word processing program to further enhance printed output.
10. Provide current supply and equipment prices, operator wages, and staff salaries through a contained database, which is automatically queried by the program. Cost values in the database are supplied by Western Mine Engineering, Inc.'s Mining Cost Service. As an additional service, this database may be altered to meet the user's specifications for a $250.00 fee.
Here is how Sherpa for Underground Mines works:
Sherpa software estimates costs using an engineering approach. Users work through a series of screens on which parameters estimated by the software are presented in a manner similar to the typical progression used in a traditional engineering-based cost estimate. All of these screens are accessed from one main menu. Consequently, users are never more than one step from the menu and cannot lose track of their location within the program. At any time, users may return to any of the previously viewed screens, alter input parameters, and view the impact on project costs.
To operate the program, the user first enters information regarding production specifications such as tons mined per day, hours per shift, shifts per day, and the types of equipment used for primary hauling. Deposit parameters (height, width, thickness, dip, and location relative to surface) and appropriate mining methods are also specified.
Next, the program suggests preproduction and daily development requirements based upon the production, deposit, and method specifications provided by the user. Development requirements for adits, ramps, shafts, drifts, crosscuts, access raises, draw points, ore passes, ventilation raises, and underground openings are suggested as necessary. These requirements include items such as opening size, advance rate, rock support needs, and location. The program also suggests supply prices, hourly worker wages, and staff worker salaries. These suggested values are reviewed by users and adjusted as necessary for their particular site.
Continuing, the program then suggests all necessary equipment parameters. Requirements for stope and development drills, muckers, and haulers are all provided. Primary haul equipment available to the user includes hoists, load-haul-dumps, rear-dump trucks, locomotives, and conveyors. General production equipment such as rock bolt drills, crushers, raise borers, shotcreters, fresh water and drain pumps, ventilation fans, compressors, backfill mixers and pumps, ANFO loaders, exploration drills, and service vehicles are also considered. Equipment parameters provided by the program typically include size, type, and power specifications. As with all values suggested by the program, users review the equipment parameters and change them as necessary to accommodate their special requirements.
Engineering parameters are suggested next. Items such as the number of blastholes, drill penetration rates, and muck and haul equipment cycle times are suggested for each development heading. Daily use and power consumption values are provided for all equipment, including crushers, pumps, mixers, compressors, and ventilation fans, as well as for the primary haul equipment. Raise borer drilling and reaming rates are suggested by the program, as are daily rock support material requirements (rock bolts, timber, shotcrete, concrete, and steel.) In addition, daily manpower requirements for all the underground workers and salaried staff are itemized. All these variables are displayed for the user and are easily altered to reflect conditions at a specific operation.
Finally, project costs are estimated and displayed. Daily and per-ton costs for supplies, hourly laborers, salaried workers, and equipment operation are all displayed on an annual basis, as are the capital costs associated with purchasing equipment, driving adits, ramps and underground openings sinking shafts, and constructing surface facilities (shops, offices, plant buildings, worker change houses and warehouses). Values for working capital, engineering and project management fees, and a contingency fund and also provided. All costs are fully itemized.
Phone: +1 (509) 328-8023
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