Whittle is a suite of mine optimization and strategic mine planning products developed by Jeff Whittle from 1984. The Whittle Software business listed in 2000 and was acquired by Gemcom Software in 2001.
Jeff and Ruth Whittle established the Whittle Programming company in Melbourne, Victoria in 1984, focusing on mine optimization software and its application to strategic mine planning. Using his expertise in Nuclear Physics and Mathematics, Jeff developed the Whittle 3D pit optimization product based on the Lerchs Grossman algorithm. Whittle 3D was released in 1985, revolutionizing the optimization of surface mines around the world.
Whittle 3D determined, with mathematical precision, the optimal shape for an open pit mine, and could show the point at which it was more economic to proceed to an underground mine.
In 1987 Whittle 4D was released incorporating time, risk and optimizing around NPV. It allowed sensitivity analysis for long term planning. Whittle 4D won the Australian Technology Association Software Product of the year award and was accepted into the Permanent Collection of the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney Australia.
Whittle 4D produced a nested set of 40 – 100 optimal pits based on potential economic scenarios. The user could investigate an enormous variety of cut-off, scheduling, scaling and timing options within a financial analysis framework. Whittle aided in the design of pushbacks, wall slopes and the surface versus underground mining decision.
In 1995 Opti-cut was released for the purpose of optimizing cut-off grades over the life of the mine for both surface and underground projects, potentially increasing the NPV of a mine by up to 10%. Opti-cut produced the life of mine cut-off, stockpile strategy, tonnages and cash flows.
In 1997 Whittle 4X was released, handling multiple elements within the same orebody.
The Milawa algorithm was released in 1998 and incorporated into Whittle 4D. Milawa was able to manipulate the mining sequence to maximize NPV over the life of the mine.
David Whittle was the commercial manager, then Managing Director of Whittle Programming from 1991 to 2000. David worked with the General Mine Planning vendors, ensuring that interfaces between the Whittle products and other industry solutions were developed. The Whittle products were then sold through the Mine Planning Vendor partners. Concessional licenses offered to Consultants and Universities.
By 2000 the Whittle mine optimization products were used by over 400 companies in 48 countries around the world, with annual revenues of $1.5m. But the product was used on many more projects via the many mining consultants that used the Whittle product on their client’s projects.
Listing and Acquisition
The Whittle software business was listed on the ASX in 2000 as Whittle Technology Pty Ltd.
Whittle Technology Pty Ltd was acquired by Gemcom Software in 2001 for $1.76m.
Gemcom Software was renamed Geovia and acquired by Dassault Systemes in July 2012.
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