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02 Aug 2023 - Technology – GIM Suite

GIM Suite delivers technical and commercial benefit for Coeur Mining

U.S-based mining company relies on acQuire software to maximise the value of geological data.

Managing geoscientific data has always had its challenges. When your company has more than one mine site, common issues can be exponentially more difficult. For a company like Coeur Mining, Inc., the cost of siloed data, site-specific workflows and configurations, and limited standardisation between sites adds up quickly. For more than 15 years, Coeur has used GIM Suite to solve these issues and reduce costs associated with geological data management.

Coeur Mining is a well-diversified, growing precious metals producer with four wholly owned operations in North America:

  • Palmarejo gold-silver complex – Mexico
  • Rochester silver-gold mine – Nevada
  • Kensington gold mine – Alaska
  • Wharf gold mine – South Dakota

In addition, Coeur wholly-owns the Silvertip silver-zinc-lead development project in British Columbia and has interests in several additional precious metals exploration projects throughout North America.

Due to the diversity across Coeur’s operations, both the corporate IT and Geology departments wanted to improve how they managed their geoscientific information. The Geology team wanted reliable resource data for modelling, while IT wanted scalable, standardised software they could roll out across the entire organisation. GIM Suite met all the requirements. As a long time user of GIM Suite, Coeur has experienced multiple benefits for geological data management.

Maximising the enterprise-wide value of GIM Suite

According to Matthew Hoffer, Director of Geology in the Technical Services Team, GIM Suite has helped Coeur maximise the value out of its geological data. He has participated in three successful new deployments of GIM Suite at Coeur and continues to support all the software implementations across four mine sites.

“I have been using acQuire’s GIM Suite my entire career, starting in 2005 as a junior geologist running simple data queries and limited data entry and have now advanced to the GIM Suite Professional level with the support of Coeur.”

Matthew said GIM Suite enables multiple efficiencies and cost savings while improving the quality of geological data. In addition, Coeur has discovered innovative ways to use the mining software to help improve the overall geoscientific information management (GIM) function and assist with reporting. He said GIM Suite has helped in six distinct areas.

Standardisation of GIM across multiple sites

With GIM Suite’s help, Coeur has been able to pursue standardised best practices in geological data management. They have an experienced team of deployers and developers responsible for the design and build of each new GIM project, with standardised tools, protocols, and workspaces.

“Our GIM Suite buildouts are aligned with our company-wide QA/QC policies and procedures, which

support further standardisation across all projects,” Matthew said.

GIM Suite’s model and workflows are standardised between locations, with the additional benefit of reducing or eliminating learning curves when employees move between mining operations.

Scalability of GIM Suite at Coeur

Coeur can quickly design and deploy new GIM Suite instances generated through organic growth and discovery, or through acquisition.

“In 2022 we have successfully upgraded all of our sites to GIM Suite 5,” Matthew said.

“The process provided the opportunity to build out new SQL and applications servers and standardise all the IT components and backup routines across the business.

“We now have bench strength across our IT team to successfully scale GIM Suite to new projects.”

Matthew said the new GIM Suite 5 licensing model has made it easy to manage licence usage and access to GIM Suite so his team can effectively manage audit requirements. They use the licence usage reports to review and evaluate their ongoing licence needs to maximise their benefits to the company.

Resource modelling

Coeur’s resource estimation team is part of the Technical Services group, allowing for direct and focused collaboration between data managers and modelers. Coeur has developed drillhole export tools in GIM Suite that are specifically designed for each project. They can manage data requirements for multiple deposit types from both surface and underground operations. GIM Suite has direct API connections to support Coeur’s third-party products throughout the modelling process.

“This level of integration allows real-time drillhole data updates and access to all the supporting metadata within GIM Suite,” Matthew said.

“It’s also used to standardise QA/QC reports and drillhole lockdown procedures, giving the modelling group the information needed to validate the data for inclusion in the estimation process.”

Automation to calculate drill results

Coeur is in the early stages of utilising automation tools for assay certificate importing.

“With the upgrade to GIM Suite 5 in 2022, we purchased automation licences for all the sites and are already branching out and developing new automated daily reports to support our logging teams and field geologists,” Matthew said.

Coeur has developed drillhole intercept KPI targets for each project. Then, they developed derived calculations in GIM Suite to quickly provide and report intercepts that meet the KPI criteria. This, in turn, allows for a standardised, structured, and controlled reporting of assay results. This has become an extremely useful benchmarking tool and gives Matthew’s team a clear way to identify opportunities and risks.

“We can look at how the project drilling results performs over the entire life of a mine, or more recent trends. Then we can hold our new drillholes to similar metrics to see if they are economic intercepts and will grow the deposit,” Matthew said.

Replacing spreadsheets and using GIM Suite for reporting

Coeur has been able to exchange cumbersome and often uncontrolled spreadsheet reporting for GIM Suite-generated drillhole intercept reports.

“Our big wins in reporting are using the drillhole-significant intercept reports, quarterly QA/QC and umpire assay reports, and the analytical laboratory submittal forms,” Matthew said.

“This has the potential to reduce errors, maintain consistency of what is a ‘significant’ intercept and produce both the associated dataset and a PDF report of the intercept tables.

“Our quarterly QA/QC and umpire assay reports allow the geology teams to quickly produce a standardised report with relevant tables and visualisation tools. This allows them to evaluate and visualise the results of all aspects of our quality control programs.”

Streamlining sample despatch

As part of Coeur’s drillhole sample despatch process, they developed reports to match the different submittal forms required from multiple analytical laboratories. GIM Suite allows them to automatically populate the submittals with all the information required by the lab. Not only has this reduced time for completing manual submissions, it’s also improved quality by reducing potential errors in the process.

Web and mobile blasthole capabilities

In 2021, Coeur deployed the GIM Suite mobile app at the Rochester open pit mine in Nevada, allowing them to perform mobile blasthole sampling and synchronise the data to GIM Suite.

“Within a few months, we were able to build the mobile tools. We have been mapping patterns in the pit for over a year,” Matthew said.

“Geology data and analytical data are then seamlessly transferred to GIM Suite through the mine wi-fi network and pulled into specific tables that directly feed the grade control module.”

Continually optimising and refining GIM Suite tools and strategies

Matthew and his team keep a ‘blue sky’ list of potential projects to get even more value out of GIM Suite in the future.

“We’re maximising our use of Arena for dashboards, adding more automation, integrating core photos and cross-section imagery, and planning on expanding our use of the activities and contracts modules,” Matthew said.

Partnering with acQuire to get the most out of GIM Suite

Matthew believes the people at Coeur are key to the success of GIM Suite. Coeur invests in annual training for employees and reviews training records every year with acQuire to ensure their team is up to date on all the current technology.

In short, acQuire’s GIM Suite helps Coeur develop their people, guide business decisions, increase the accuracy and efficiency of their team, and increase confidence associated with geological data management.

Find out more about GIM Suite

If you’d like to experience the many benefits Coeur has experienced in managing their geological data with GIM Suite,  get in touch with acQuire.

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