Case Studies

Using 3D Models to Dispute an Illegal Mine Closure

By: Christine Carnell

The Challenge

International law firm Clifford Chance represented a mining company that sought damages for the illegal closure of a large mine. The government of the country where it was located claimed the mine was responsible for polluting surrounding villages and rice fields and causing high levels of heavy metals in blood samples of the local population. The closure caused a loss of revenue to the mine operators, who were prohibited from extracting the remaining minerals.

While the mine was in operation, the company ran a free testing program to area residents and was able to provide healthcare should anything concerning be found. Participants were grateful to receive services, and it allowed the mine operators to have more extensive records regarding the levels of contaminants across the local population.

The Solution

IMS | Z-Axis Global Executive Graphic Consultant Gary Freed utilized scientific and topographical data collected on the mine to create a 3D graphic that precisely detailed the locations of ore—including color-coded indications of where and what quantity of ore had already been extracted, and where and what quantity of ore was still present in the ground that the mine operators were not able to recover.

The custom 3D graphic was then transformed into a physical model via 3D printing. The tabletop model was an accurate, to-scale representation of the mine and surrounding property, created with precise relative dimensions. The model was well-received and relied upon by both parties and their experts during the arbitration proceedings.

The IMS | Z-Axis Global team also produced a multilayered interactive map of villages around the mind to show levels of various toxins in the water and soil, as well as any recorded presence in the local population.

The Outcome

The mine reopened after six years and was set to resume steady production following a major overhaul of the processing plant.

Media Examples

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