Virtual Reality Software Advances Orebody Knowledge

In the Northern Territory of Australia, around 80 miles of tunnels run up to 5,000 feet below the surface of our Tanami mine, which is currently completing an expansion project to increase gold production capacity. According to Newmont’s Vice President for Resource Evaluation and Mine Planning, Marcelo Godoy, crews plan to complete approximately 76 miles of core drilling aimed at increasing gold reserves over the next two years.

To help geologists create enhanced three-dimensional models of the deposit, we partnered with Kitware Inc., an advanced technology, research and open-source solutions provider, to visualize ongoing expansion of the Tanami mine in virtual reality (VR).

“The virtual environment in ParaView has helped geologists investigate whether their expansion plans will allow miners to reach gold in the most effective and efficient manner,” said Ken Martin, who led the visualization effort at Kitware.

In collaboration with our team, Kitware created a customized version of ParaView that enables users to virtually travel at scale-appropriate speeds. Further refinements have allowed our geologists to quickly navigate the virtual mine model. This added functionality grants users control over the exact scale of the virtual world in ParaView, making it easy to transition from viewing the entire model of the mine to touring life-size tunnels, branches and stopes.

“VR offers a competitive advantage over traditional visualization methods,” said Godoy.

“Our geologists can interact more completely with the models and we are better placed to demonstrate those models to decision makers. It has proven to be a powerful communication tool to showcase our operations and projects to investors, analysts, reporters and Board members.”

Newmont’s modelers are now using VR routinely to visualize huge amounts of data at real-world scale, enhancing our abilities to recognize mineralization patterns and make better design and project investment decisions.