Formatting the Block Model

  1. Block Model Basic Requirements

1.1. Block Model

MiningMath requires the following formatting specifications:

    • Regularized block model: This means all blocks must have the same size.

    • Non-rotated model: All blocks must be aligned to the default axis.

    • Air blocks must be removed prior to importation. This is the way MiningMath recognizes the topography.

    • Coordinates or Indexes of each block in the 3 dimentions.

    • Header Names should not have special characters or exceed 13. Use this recommendation for folders and files also.

    • The data format should be a CSV file (Comma Separated Value), which might be compatible with most mining packages.

1.2. Good practices

    • Configure Microsoft Windows number formatting to use dot as the decimal separator.

    • Use the metric system.

    • Set multiple fields that will consider different economic values, material types, contaminant limits, and any other variable you wish to analyze or control.

2 Formatting Steps

2.1. Understanding Field Types

Field Types are the fields MiningMath can understand. Each column imported should be assigned to the proper field type so that the software treats each variable accordingly with its meaning.

Figure 1: Field types

2.1.1. Mandatory Field Types and their meanings

    • Coordinates X, Y, and Z which are related to your refer to your geo-referenced information. The same applies to Index X, Index Y, and Index Z, which requires a column for each one of the 3D axes.

    • Average refers to any variable that could be controlled by means of minimums and maximums considering its average: grades, haulage distance, and other variables.

    • Economic Value refers to the columns with the economic value, that represent the destinations available. It is possible to import multiple economic values at once, whether they will be used simultaneously (ex.: multiple processing streams) or calculate them in the internal calculator mentioned on the next page.

2.1.2. Optional Field Types and their meanings

    • Density refers to the block's density. This field is used to calculate the block's tonnage.

    • Slope refers to slopes varying block-by-block, which gives the flexibility to define create slopes by lithotype and sectors.

    • Recovery refers to recoveries varying block-by-block.

    • Sum refers to any variable that could be controlled by means of minimums and maximums considering its sum.

    • Other refers to information that you want in the exported outputs.

    • Skip refers to any variable that should be ignored. This field type might help improve the runtime since these variables will not be considered and exported along with the optimization outputs.

2.1.3. Field names shortcuts to automatically regonition in the importation process

Coordinates: X, Y, Z,
Average: "@", "grade",
Density: "%", "dens", "sg",
Economic Value: "$", "dest", "val",
Recovery: "*", "recov", Slope: "/", "slope",
Sum: "+",
Skip: "!"

2.2. Mandatory requirements

Considering the specifications mentioned before, the formatted data set should have the following information for each block:

    • Coordinates or Indexes.

    • Grades (at least one element assigned as Average).

    • Economic values (at least 1 process and 1 waste).

The following video gives an introduction on how to setup your block model.

2.3 Attention to software conventions

The modelโ€™s origin must be placed at the bottom portion, starting to count from the minimum coordinates at X, Y, and Z.

Figure 1 highlights a block model origin at the corner of the first block and the coordinates on its centroid.

Each software uses its own conventions for data format, naming and numbering systems, etc. These differences should be observed to prevent conflicts when transiting data from multiple software, each one for one specificity.

What you must know:

    • MiningMath uses coordinates (X,Y,Z) for which Z, which represents the elevation, starts upwards (Figure 3a).

    • Other mining software may use indexes with IZ starting downwards (Figure 3b). MineSight is an example that uses this notation.

Figure 2: Blocks Matrix.


There is no right or wrong convention, but there is a correct procedure for each software.

How to invert coordinates:

The formula to convert it is the following one.

new(Z) = max(Z) + 1 - current(Z)

Figure 3a: The lowest IZ value is at the bottom of the model.
Figure 3b: The lowest Z value is at the top of the model, which will not fit MiningMath requirements.

2.4 Air Blocks

MiningMath recognizes that all imported blocks of your model are underground. This means it is necessary to remove all the air blocks prior to importation. Unless your topography is totally flat, which is unlikely, the image below shows an example of your model should be displayed.

The non-removal of air blocks may lead to unsatisfactory results and long processing times since it would be considering blocks that do not exist in reality.

Figure 4: Example of how block models should look like with a rectangular base.

Do you want more details on Air Blocks?

The following video shows how to do remove air blocks using filters on MS Excel. These tips are also applicable to any mining software of your choice.


Common Issues related to this page.