Roussos Dimitrakopoulos

  • Director of the COSMO Stochastic Mine Planning Laboratory
  • McGill University

In welcoming you to our website, let me outline our current research directions as well as some of the history behind the COSMO Laboratory.

COSMO was launched in September 2006 with the support of its founding industry members: AngloGold Ashanti, Barrick, BHP Billiton, De Beers, Newmont, and Vale. In addition, substantial support has been provided by the Canada Research Chairs Program, the National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

COSMO is devoted to advanced research and graduate education with particular emphasis on modelling orebodies and strategic mine planning, areas that are arguably the backbone of the mining industry and represent an intricate, complex and critically important part of mining ventures. Our ongoing research includes three key interrelated elements: (i) stochastic mine planning, design and production scheduling frameworks that are founded upon novel mathematical optimization models; (ii) high-order, non-linear, non-Gaussian stochastic models of geological risk and new concepts for the stochastic simulation of complex natural phenomena; and (iii) financial models of mineral market uncertainties as related to mine planning and project valuation. These elements are part of a broader agenda aiming to contribute to the sustainable development of the Earth’s natural resources, recognising climate change and the multifaceted challenges it poses.

Launching COSMO was not a random event. In 2004, BHP Billiton made a substantial investment to McGill Mining that lead to the university’s successful pursuit of a Canada Research Chair (Tier I) in Sustainable mineral resource development and optimization under uncertainty. This prepared the ground for the formation of the COSMO Lab with the support of the above-mentioned group of global mining companies. COSMO encompasses a decade-long journey that started in Australia, an effort towards understanding the uncertainty stemming from our incomplete knowledge of the supply of raw materials from ore deposits and its intricate relation to the uncertainty in market demand for these raw materials. The concepts entailed and subsequent mathematical models constructed to forecast reality and make decisions, together with the related realities we face, are termed stochastic mine planning.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to several colleagues who have been a part of our efforts in a multitude of ways over the last decade: Jeff Whittle, Gavin Yeates, Peter Forrestal, Peter Ravenscroft, Wynand Kleingeld, Jean-Michel Rendu, Peter Monkhouse, Martin Whitham, Allen Cockle, Georges Verly, Olivier Tavchandjian, Duncan Campbell, Andre Journel and Paul Greenfield. In addition, I would like to express my gratitude to a new group of colleagues that have joined our efforts through the process of forming COSMO: Rick Allan, Edson Ribeiro, Brian Baird, Ian Douglas, David Whittle, Kapila Karunaratna, Jaimie Donovan, Peter Stone and Malcolm Thurston.

On behalf of our students and research staff, my McGill colleagues and collaborators in COSMO, as well as the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Christophe Pierre, and the Vice-Principal (Research and International Relations), Denis Therien, I would like to thank you for interest in COSMO.

We look forward to working with you.