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GSSA 3D Geomodeling Workshop

The Geological Society of South Africa

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Recent trends in mining and exploration are set to accelerate the demand and growth of 3D geological modelling software. These trends include the inevitable increase in cost per ton of resource and global economic slowdowns. These require companies to constantly cost-cut during extraction and to improve resource delineation. The versatile application of well-built, validated 3D models is one of the most important tools for achieving this and forms the basis for all downstream processes. From the point of view of geotechnical design, infrastructure and cost simulation, pre- and post-blast surveying, geohydrological simulations, truck and bucket volume calculations and many other routine mine tasks, 3D models are a common and necessary denominator.

The past decade has seen a tremendous growth in the capabilities of almost all commercial 3D geomodelling packages, to the point where they run on high-end PCs. This growth has changed the complexion of mineral exploration and mining; there is now a huge overlap in terms of basic volume modelling and manipulation between commercially-available, general modelling packages and those specifically tailored for use in geology and mining. Recent trends are away from software packages that have unforgiving data import routines, use explicit, section-based modelling and which incorporate limited data sets or types. The trend is towards software packages that have flexible import routines; rapid, dynamic, implicit modelling of surfaces and shells, integration of large numbers of disparate data sets and 3D querying of spatial data to determine trends and patterns. These typically incorporate an easy, workflow-driven approach.


  • Geologists (mainly Junior, Mining, Exploration, Hydraulic, Engineering, Resource)
  • Exploration Managers
  • Geotechnical Engineers (Engineering Geologists)
  • Surveyors
  • Mine Planners
  • Academics (Professors, Lecturers in Geoscience and Geology Departments)
  • Consulting Companies
  • Mineral Resource Managers
  • Mining Engineers
  • CEOs


Dr Ian Basson

Ian qualified with a Ph.D. in Structural Geology from the University of Natal (now Kwazulu-Natal) in 2000. He completed his Post-Doctoral Studies at the University of Cape Town, with a focus on the structural controls on kimberlite emplacement, in 2002. Ian is a professional structural geologist with over 17 years’ experience in mapping, structural analysis and 3D modeling. His skill set includes mapping of complex structural environments, including high-grade metamorphic terranes and those with a significant brittle-ductile or brittle overprints; structural and lithological mapping of open-cast mines; translation of structural features into parameters that are used by geotechnical engineers and mining personnel in pit slope design and mine planning; 3D modeling of complex geology; lithological and structural interpretation of geophysical and Landsat/ASTER data sets; forward structural modelling in greenfields or brownfields exploration projects using stress mapping and modelling. Ian has published 20 peer-reviewed articles and he is a Senior Lecturer External at the University of Stellenbosch, where he presents the Honours Geology class with a course on general 3D modelling and a practical course in Micromine.

Ian founded Tect Geological Consulting in 2002 (


  • Members R 5,400
  • Non-Members R 6,900
  • Academic R 3,900
  • Retired R 2,400
  • Students R 2,400

of attending

  • The course is not specific to any modelling package, but rather uses a “nuts-and-bolts” approach, by way of presenting the underlying data and techniques employed
  • The course provides an overview of the various data types that should be combined and examined in a typical model-building process, to create fully-constrained 3D models
  • The applicability of specific modelling techniques and philosophies, to various deposit types and problems will be discussed. Inter alia: 2D models vs. 3D models; exploration models; geophysical data inversion; resource estimation models; geotechnical models, conceptual models
  • Basic definitions of points, lines or polylines and polygons, and varieties in nomenclature, are covered
  • The attendee will gain a thorough understanding of the processes of 3D geological modelling and the techniques employed, to the point where they will have the tools to approach basic 3D modelling in virtually any software package
  • The differences between explicit, implicit and rules-based conditional modelling, and up-to-date trends in their related mainstream software packages, will be presented
  • Incorporation of structural data, to create a fault network, will be demonstrated by way of several examples
  • Tertiary use of 3D models, such as surface dip analysis, apparent dip analysis, 3D querying, intelligent targeting and trend analysis will be addressed
  • Most commercial or mainstream 3D geomodelling packages will be reviewed and discussed0
  • All the delegates are provided with a set of literature on 3D modeling in general and 3D geomodelling

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