Leapfrog Geo developments and the future for 3D modelling

Implicit Software Modelling technologies are designed to improve 3D geological modelling for exploration and resource definition. Since 2005 when SRK consultants in Australia sought to replace CAD-based, wire-framing tools, SRK has actively promoted these implicit technologies, because of their scientific, commercial and economic benefits.

Implicit Modelling defines an approach to 3D modelling that is fundamentally different from CAD-based, semi-manual software, using a mathematical function to profile 3D geological surfaces directly from primary observations without laborious manual manipulations. The main advantages are: speed, cost, better use of complex data sets and repeatable models. SRK got involved with innovative software vendors to provide them technical feedback from end users and independent market insights, such as ARANZ Geo the provider of Leapfrog Mining software.

With Leapfrog Mining’s tool box approach users began developing models of stratigraphy, veins, faults, intrusions and other geological formations. Other developers – GOCAD-SKUA and BRGM-Intrepid GEOMODELLER – tackled this problem with varying degrees of success using a workflow-based approach. So I asked the question:

“Can Leapfrog Mining expand into this area and provide rapid modelling of complex general geology for the minerals industry in a workflow style?”

ARANZ Geo eventually produced the commercial products Leapfrog Hydro and Leapfrog Geothermal for the water and geothermal resource industries, and now, based on this success, ARANZ released Leapfrog Geo, its first commercial version of a general geological modelling package for the mining industry, in February 2013. Geo provides an integrated workflow approach to building complete geological and resource domain models. Geologists can use the software to construct a complete, integrated, 3D geological model from fault systems to grade shells, and making it possible to build complete geological models of a mine.

Robust and reliable, cost-effective geological models enable clients to realise cost savings in modelling as well as geological control that previously were not practical. These models can help clients perform risk analyses quickly, avoiding a single static model, producing a wide range of scenarios instead.

These new software technologies open up Leapfrog’s capabilities in a wide range of industry applications. For SRK, using Leapfrog Geo expands our ability to bring geology back into resource estimates. In the past only large corporations could afford to engage SRK to build these complex geological models. Now, juniors can benefit from having projects underpinned by robust geological models. 

Introducing such new technologies can result in a win–win situation for all. It can spur other mining software companies to compete – healthy competition among vendors in this new and exciting area will benefit the geologist and industry in general.

Peter Gleeson: pgleeson@srk.co.uk


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