ViMINE: UNSW's innovative mine planning tool
What is ViMine?
ViMINE is a tool for mining engineering students to experience various aspects of a mining operation working together, integrating several types of simulation into one environment. In scenario-based learning activities run through the ViMINE environment, students can access information from multiple simulations and make decisions throughout the whole life of a simulated mine, from initial exploration to final site rehabilitation and evaluate their effectiveness for building systems thinking skills. Essentially students may access to a fully "operational" mine to experiment with.
The aims of using ViMINE are to:
- Give mining engineering students access to authentic experiential learning in which they are able to place technical decision-making in a socio-economic and environmental context.
- Develop ViMINE as an integrated simulation environment that combines use of technical, environmental and socio-economic simulation tools.
- Establish effective designs for learning activities in mining engineering using the ViMINE environment, with a view to developing these further in mining engineering and in other engineering disciplines.
Specific educational objectives of the ViMINE are:
- To develop an authentic 4D experience for students to build their understanding of complex mining operations throughout a mine life cycle;
- To provide a framework to allow students to build a simulation model of an authentic mining operation;
- To give students experience of the consequences of their technical decisions using different simulation scenarios;
- To allow students to learn from mistakes in virtual environments without causing any loss of life and damage to property;
- To engage students as more active and powerful participants in their learning process;
Although ViMINE focuses on developing and trialling the approach with students in the mining engineering program, the facility has the capability to be used at different levels of sophistication for study at different levels that could support a simple game activity for students to give them an overall picture of various mining activities and processes. Both the facility and the learning designs could also be easily adapted for other engineering disciplines where multiple simulation tools are already available, for example in chemical, civil and petroleum engineering.
ViMINE will allow students to carry out a number of mine design projects where they link separate mine planning and design simulation software packages, as part of one simulation exercise – i.e. the results from one simulation tool will flow through to another. Currently there are two modules that have been developed in the first stage of ViMine 1 – ViMine 1A: Introduction to Mining Methods and ViMine 1B: Mining Method Selection.
- Saydam, S, Mitra, R and Russell, R. (2011). "A four-dimensional interactive learning system approach to mining engineering education." 2nd International Future Mining Conference, Sydney, Australia. pp 279 - 286
- Saydam, S and Mitra, R (2011). "An interactive system approach to Mining Engineering Education: ViMINE - Virtual iMINE." Presented at the 22nd Annual General Meeting, Society of Mining Professors, September 12 - 15, 2011, Arequipa, Peru.
- Mitra, R. and Saydam, S. (2011). “Using Virtual Reality for improving Mining Engineering Education.” 34th International Conference of Safety in Mines Research Institutes and Mine Safety Exhibition. 7 – 11 December, 2011. New Delhi, India. pp 625 – 636.
Download the User Manual for ViMINE on the web.
The current modules are being regularly used at the School of Mining Engineering. If you would like a copy of the assignments, you need to contact A/Prof Serkan Saydam. This will be available for academic staff only.
A/Prof Serkan Saydam
Dr Rudrajit Mitra
ViMINE is currently offered to individuals free of charge for their personal research and academic uses upon request. We hope this offering will provide feedback to both improve the software and develop new functionality as such your feedback is integral to our future. Should you wish to implement the software on a wider scale or for commercial purposes, UNSW’s technology transfer office NewSouth Innovations would be happy to discuss this with you. Please contact us for more details and to arrange a discussion with NewSouth Innovations. We would welcome any feedback and comments regarding ViMINE on the web.