IN THE FIELD
MineSight serves clients in some of the remotest parts of the planet. Recently, business development manager Mark Gabbitus left Perth, Australia, on a client visit for Kalimantan on the Indonesian part of Borneo.
So I am back on the road again. This time, I’m in Kalimantan, which is the Indonesian part of the island of Borneo. Borneo holds a special place for me as it`s where my wife and I honeymooned. That was in the northern Malaysian part, called Sabah. Kalimantan occupies the southern part of the island.
I was invited by Kutai Energi, a new Indonesian coal mining company that heard about MineSight software after using Norwest for consulting work. Currently Kutai is using a combination of Minescape and Excel to manage the business, but it had to look for an alternative to their current modeling methodology because the seams in places were too steep for a traditional stratigraphic model. Norwest had built them a 3DBM in MineSight using a clever combination of relative elevation and inverse distance to interpolate the seam locations from drilling.
To get to the Kutai operation I first had to get to Balikpapan, which is the capital of Kalimantan and a big oil and gas hub. To get here from Perth involved a fun day of flying. First, I was on the early morning hop from Perth to the beautiful island of Bali. Going to Bali for work is pretty depressing as everyone else is usually on holiday and full of smiles. After a wait in Bali it was onto Jakarta then finally to Balikpapan. Arriving in town in the early evening it was a case of taxi to the hotel, dinner and bed.
The next morning I was picked up by a Kutai driver and one of the guys from site, Arry. Arry was to be my guide and translator over the next few days and a great job he did, too. The drive from Balikpapan to the site was only two and a half hours but it was through some thick Borneo jungle and villages. Our first port of call was the site exploration office, where I hooked my machine up to a monitor and started presenting MineSight to the mining group.
The exploration office at Kutai Energi.
We started with basic MineSight functionality like the CAD tools and Surface intersections before looking at MineSight Torque and block models. I had got some site data from Norwest so I was able to demonstrate MineSight with their data, which was helpful. We then had a look at MineSight Economic Planner and the Pit Design tool.This was the real winner on day one with lots of oohs and aahs from the engineers as I built pits with roads and switchbacks for them.
We decided to call it a day because it’s a lot to take in and I didn’t want to overload them. I wasn’t really sure where I would be staying, but I wasn’t worried. We jumped back in the car and drove to Samarinda, a big city on the banks of the Mahakam River. This is the main coal town (there are around 80 coal mines in this area) in the region and the Mahakam serves as the main transport highway for the coal with huge barges being pulled downstream to waiting bulk carriers for export, mostly to China.
Samarinda only has a single bridge crossing the river and is choked with traffic.
The next morning I was picked up and taken to the mine port office. This will be the main office for the mine operations and is still in construction. To get there we had to drive through the mining operations which was interesting to see. We set up in a meeting room (minus air conditioning) and spent the next few hours looking at MineSight Schedule Optimizer, MineSight Haulage and MineSight Interactive Planner. More oohs and aahs from the crowd !
The big winner here was MSHaulage, as Kutai has some pretty long hauls to contend with, but they loved the end of period maps as well. They will be using three different mining contractors (one per pit) so being able to express a mining sequence easily will be a major boost to productivity. Much better than an Excel spread sheet.
Coal mining in Indonesia.
We looked at licensing and pricing and discussed training and support. The decision rests with Kutai’s director in Jakarta. They were intending to send him a letter that day expressing their requirements and why they want MineSight, so fingers crossed. Due to the flight timetables I was unable to head home until the next day so I stopped in Samarinda again that night.
The next day my host and driver picked me up again and we headed back to Balikpapan. I walked across the bridge, which was cool, and I got some good shots of the city and river. On the way to Balikpapan we stopped at a traditional roadside restaurant and had lunch. The most common food around Indonesia (and the one you’re least likely to get in trouble with) is Nasi Gorang (Nasi = rice and Gorang = fried). This is usually served with Satay (Sate) or fried Chicken (Ayam) and a hot chilli sauce.
As always, trips end with the most disappointing part of the trip, the flight home. While I love going home, the flight always seems to take forever and is not filled with the wonder of visiting a new place and seeing new things.