Simulus Engineers offer services to clients in the minerals industry for all stages of a the project development cycle. We cater for projects up to $100M on a stand alone basis and can partner with like-minded groups to deliver larger requirements. As a boutique, multidisciplinary team we always put our best team forward. You’ll never get the B or C team because we simply don’t have them.

We tend to do things a littel bit differently than at the big guys. We have a tech saavy team and utilise design automation tools in ways others haven’t event thought about. This reduces our workload and enables us to deliver your project with a smaller team and for a lower budget than you might expect.

Detailed design

Simulus Engineers provides detailed design and project implementation services to mineral projects large and small. We provide services in a standalone capacity for projects up to $100M and partner with likeminded groups for delivery of larger projects.

Simulus Engineers has been able to carefully select and use the best available engineering and design technology without regard for legacy items such as sunk capital, engineering systems designed for pen and paper engineering and significant training invested in outdated technologies. All of these items hamper large engineering firms from changing and therefore encourages the industry status quo to remain.

By adopting software widely used in other industries, including manufacturing, Simulus Engineers has been able to leverage the time and money already spent by companies with the primary focus of doing their job better, faster and cheaper than anyone else. Simulus Engineers has now brought this technology to the engineering and design sector of the minerals industry. We offer design services from conceptual layout through to shop detailing, all in house and using the same software package to remove interface issues.

However, the software alone is not the answer. Our systematic approach, work flows and simulation background allow us to provide high quality detailed information and repeatable engineering outcomes significantly faster than anyone else. We call this repeatability-ability.

Scoping studies

A Simulus scoping study delivers a rapid outcome with multiple scenarios and analysis of the total project, not just the process plant. We provide the information for early optimisation of the project flowsheet, plant throughput and thus project NPV.

We address the key questions asked by project financiers:

  1. What will it cost to develop?
  2. What will it cost to operate?
  3. How much power and water does it need?
  4. What other inputs are needed?
  5. What are the environmental factors to consider?

Simulus adopts an integrated engineering approach to scoping studies. Our team of process engineers have significant experience in process route selection and testwork analysis. This enables us to quickly determine the most likely economic process options for consideration. Process flow diagrams and the process design criteria are then prepared along with a conceptual 3D model. 

Feasibility studies

A Simulus feasibility study provides comprehensive information about your project. There are no factors or hidden allowances. At Simulus we believe you should have the information and confidence to purchase long lead time items at the completion of a feasibility study, not months into the detailed design.

We believe the deliverables of a feasibility study should include every piece of mechanical or electrical equipment, calculated pipe and cable lengths and diameters, full valve and instrument lists and full civil and structural quantities. This makes the detailed phase of a project a chance to reduce costs by fine tuning the design, not a time to include what was overlooked earlier.

We achieve all this with the continued use of our integrated simulation and cost estimation tool, the inclusion of intelligent P&IDs that can be linked to the plant 3D model, and design and layout assemblies rather than starting from scratch each time.

Metallurgical consulting

From early concept studies through to definitive feasibility, the metallurgical test work program is the key source of information for the process design. Simulus provides overall test work direction and management, ensuring that the program is:

  • Aligned with the client’s development strategy
  • Coordinated with mining, geology and other disciplines
  • Structured to provide the right information when required
  • Managed to budget and schedule

Test programs are tailored for each project, depending on the complexity of the mineralogy, size of the project, and level of technical risk. Simulus outlines the entire test program as early as possible, from initial sighter testing to definitive feasibility and piloting.

As far as possible, Simulus applies professional project management systems to the test program. Detailed schedules are prepared and aligned with key tasks in the overall project schedule. Commercial laboratories are selected by methodical vendor evaluations, based on a clear written scope. Budgets are tracked to avoid any nasty surprises. Most importantly, the overall program is documented to tie together sample selection and the various parts of the test program. Simulus often conducts independent project reviews and we appreciate the importance of a traceable, well documented decision process.

Flowsheet optimisation

Simulus Engineers are market leaders in the use of cutting edge software with in-house customisation to deliver rapid and efficient flowsheet optimisation. We have developed custom add-ons for third party process simulation and capital estimation tools that enable us to rapidly model a flowsheet, automatically size all the equipment and export equipment lists, motor load list and piping line list direct to the capital estimation package.

This enables us to run multiple flowsheet options or throughput rates in a matter of hours and to provide a comparative capital and operating cost for each one, supported by a full equipment list and individual equipment costs.

Process simulation

Getting a model built can be a painful experience, but it doesn’t need to be that way. At Simulus Engineers our vision is to simplify and speed up the whole process by making the most of our experience and our passion for efficiency.

We offer a library of standard, verified model blocks that can be readily assembled and customised to your specific project. All metallurgical processes can be accommodated on either a steady state or dynamic basis.

We’re confident enough to offer a fixed price package for most modelling applications. Our customers know exactly what they’re getting and exactly what it costs. As always, our approach is open and transparent so the client has full access to the model to scrutinise, verify and use as they choose.

Process simulation provides the critical link from data to decisions. Simulus builds models which demystify the behaviour of complex systems and uncover the information needed for informed business decisions.

Our simulation engineers are focussed and skilled in making the best use of the available technology. The cornerstones of our approach to model development are:

  • The right tools – there is a wide range of simulation software to choose from. We take an independent stance and adapt to specific client and project requirements.
  • Systems based – A methodical, disciplined approach helps minimise errors, avoid repetition, and give the overall shortest path to completion.
  • The team approach – Process simulation is a specialised skill, but should not be seen as an isolated task. The model is central to the process design and the engineer building it gains an intimate understanding of how the process behaves. Simulus stresses the need for modelling to be closely integrated with metallurgical testing, process design, cost estimation and other related tasks.

Simulus models fall into three broad categories:

  • Steady state
  • Dynamic – plant level
  • Dynamic – enterprise wide

Steady state simulation
The fundamental model of a continuous process flowsheet is the steady state mass and energy balance. All information about material and energy flows, stream composition, chemical reactions, and physical separations is combined into a single model. The model generates flow, temperature, pressure and composition, on a stream by stream basis.

The balance feeds into all facets of plant design:

  • Line sizing
  • Equipment sizing
  • Material selection
  • Reagent consumption
  • Utility requirements
  • Environmental emissions

Dynamic models – Plant level
Dynamic models account for the key economic drivers over time, and show the real variability that occurs through mining, processing and transportation operations.

A plant level dynamic model applies discrete events and dynamic constraints to a flowsheet mass and energy balance. Models are customised to each site, but normally include data such as:

  • Ore grade and tonnage profile
  • Equipment throughput capacity
  • Equipment failure statistics
  • Planned maintenance schedules
  • Storage and surge capacity
  • Utility and reagent supply limitations

Model outputs mimic the real production data of interest to the operation, such as tonnes processed, plant utilisation and delay times.

The main purpose is to determine the likely realistic production rate of a process, and to support key functions in plant design:

  • Optimising the surge capacity and throughput rates in each area
  • Identifying key process bottlenecks
  • Evaluating, debottlenecking or expansion scenarios

Area throughput rates and surge tank levels are tracked and plotted over time. By examining the output data one can answer questions such as:

  • Are the surge/storage vessels big enough/too big?
  • Which equipment or area is frequently holding up the process?
  • Which equipment or area is being under-utilised?
  • Is the reagent/utility supply ever a limitation?
  • Where is standby equipment justified?
  • Are parallel trains better than a single train?

The model ultimately helps find the most cost effective way to maximise production.

Dynamic models – Enterprise level – Production and supply chain logistics

Dynamic models can be used to simulate an entire operation from the mine to the final customer. The processes are typically a combination of continuous and discrete event operations. The most common application is production and supply chain logistics for bulk commodities such as coal and iron ore. Operations include:

  • Mining
  • Trucking
  • Stockpiling and reclaiming
  • Ore/product blending
  • Processing
  • Rail transportation
  • Port operations
  • Shipping

An enterprise level model ultimately tracks the entire process from mine to market. The tension between customer demand and mine supply, impact on stockpile levels, product blending requirements, and transportation constraints are all treated in a single supply chain model. The model outputs help to answer questions such as:

  • Where are the true bottlenecks?
  • What happens when a new mine comes on line?
  • What impact will we see from:
  • Increasing the trucking fleet?
  • Installing passing loops in the rail system?
  • Increasing conveyor capacity?
  • Increasing stockpile capacity?
  • How do we minimise ship wait times?
  • How fast can we meet customer demands for product specifications?

A visual display shows truck/train/ship movements, stockpile levels, and other key indicators.