Participants in the basic users class learning how to generate surfaces from point data.

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau Central Office in cooperation with Paramina Earth Technologies, Inc. conducted a 12-day workshop covering the fundamentals up to the more advance applications of the Geovia Surpac geology and mine planning software. Two representatives per regional office took part in the course and were trained separately in beginner and advanced user parallel sessions.  MGB-X participants included Lea Therese N. Bondad, Supervising Geologist, and Brenz Ryan B. Bautista, Geologist-II.

A hands-on foundation course was covered for the first few days of the basic users class. It is composed of an introduction to the concepts and actions that will allow the user to perform basic functions in the software and involves understanding the Surpac interface as well as the Surpac data types, concepts and file structure. Data management and displaying procedures were also incorporated in the initial lecture. Succeeding lectures encompass the creation and modification of new points, lines, surfaces and solids together with calculating volumes for and validating the created solids. Geology-centric lectures immediately followed the foundation course and consist of software functions necessary for basic resource estimation, which include creation of geological databases, basic block model creation/manipulation and block model reporting. The last lectures deal with advanced geological data analysis through Surpac, resource estimation methods and limited geostatistics.

For the advanced users class of the Surpac training, a combined lecture and practicum was done on Database, Surfaces, Solids, and Block Model. A practice dataset was given to each of the participants to use in learning the essential tools of the Surpac application.

In the Database topic, the participants were honed in the tedious business of preparing and creating a database, which include: importing data from an excel file, adding attributes, and editing tables. Errors were encountered during the activity, particularly in the assignment of fields. There were also duplication of field values. An important note from our trainor is to create an organized and clean database prior to import to avoid such errors. Manipulation of the data included extraction, compositing, and variogram modelling. Cleaning of the string files created from the manipulation of data using Surpac was also done. This is important before proceeding to the creation of surface layers, which is in turn used in the creation of a solid. Validation of the solid created is needed prior to block modelling, in addition to the data acquired during variogram modelling.

In block modelling, the solids created were used in the representation of data resulting from database manipulation involving estimation (i.e. inverse distance, ordinary krigging, nearest neighbor, partial percentage). This part of the database topic was done parallel to block modelling. Values resulting from the estimation are represented by a range of colors set by the user, depending on the data the user wants to present (e.g. ore grade, ore resource classification, lithology, etc.).

After the first practice dataset, another practice dataset were given to each of the participants to try, learn, and manipulate on their own.