Located in the Northern Cape province of South Africa, the Finsch mine is operated by majority owner Petra Diamonds, which developed a ZAR 700,000 integrated spatial data management system to manage geospatial data across its Environmental, Survey (geomatics), Safety (occupational hygiene), Geology and Geotechnical (water) departments that were functioning in isolation. The company also co-manages the mining town of Lime Acres, for which the GIS-based system captures data and bills residents for water and electricity usage.
The GIS links spatial data and information scattered in various databases. Survey and plan data are captured and digitized in MicroStation; Bentley Map links features representing the mining lifecycle, town layout, and residential setup; and Bentley Geo Web Publisher makes the geospatial mining and town information accessible to the whole mining group. For billings, the database interrogates the human resources system and automatically sends invoices to residents.
One of the key successes of this project was the ability to send monthly water and electricity bills automatically to the residents, enabling the mine to discontinue the costly legacy system and add direct value to the GIS. The Internet-based system also gives users access to CAD, mapping, and geospatial information without requiring them to have technical skills. Users no longer have to wait for plan requests, saving an enormous amount of time.
Bentley’s GIS solution solved the problem of data being accessible only to users with advanced technical skills. Geospatial data is now available to anyone in the mining departments with access to a web browser. This provided a tremendous return on innovation as the individual users in each department can work on their own data sets, update relevant portions, and share up-to-date data. By using handheld technology in the field, information is synced with the GIS without an unwieldy paper trail.