Location Intelligence

Precision mapping from Pitney Bowes helps drive greater profitability for Cominco.

Ability to map remote regions aids in ecologically responsible mining completed on time and on budget.

Client profile

Small mining company based in UK

Licensed to explore phosphate deposit in Republic of Congo

Needs to find right location for building mining operation

Business goals

Complete mining project within budget

Use location intelligence to inform business decisions

Limit impact on local populations, environment


Completed detailed mapping of the region and the phosphate deposit

Field work is managed efficiently and cost-effectively

Executives can make better business decisions




Technology used


"There are no maps of the area or any digital 3D models, so each company that wants to explore the region needs to create its own cartography and topography." Helena Vilchez,
Geographic Information Systems Expert,
Cominco Resources Ltd.

On the west coast of equatorial Africa, between the rainforests and the Congo River Basin, sits a strip of land that can help alleviate world hunger. The Hinda Phosphate Deposit is more than 20 kilometres long and 400 to 700 metres wide. Containing at least 580 million metric tons of high quality phosphate, a fertiliser in increasing demand as the world population grows, it is quite possibly the largest undeveloped phosphate reserve in the world. The deposit has significant profit potential for Cominco Resources, if Cominco can cost-effectively develop it. 

Business Needs

As a junior mining company, Cominco has little room for project overruns or delays. Precise mapping of the deposit itself, the region's topography and the distance from mine to port was integral to planning an efficient, ecologically responsible mining, processing and export operation. Geographic information also needs to be presented in a manner useful to everyone, from technical professionals to board members, government relations managers and administrators.

The problem? There were no existing maps or models of the area to be explored.


To most effectively map the Hinda Phosphate Deposit and surrounding regions, Cominco worked with Pitney Bowes to deploy MapInfo Pro™, MapInfo Discover and MapInfo Discover3D software programs.

Pitney Bowes tools first helped Cominco determine where to place more than 900 exploratory bore holes. Information gleaned from those bore holes was imported into MapInfo Pro, helping the company develop cross-section views of the deposit's geology. Importing this information into MapInfo Discover 3D provided Cominco with multi-dimensional views of this geology, stratum by stratum, as if looking at a slice of layer cake. The solution also allowed Cominco to integrate previously-captured aerial lidar images with MapInfo Discover3D for an even more complete view of the area.

The resulting maps and topography fulfill a variety of organisational needs. They help Cominco manage fieldwork more efficiently and cost-effectively: for example, the software can help engineers determine the presence of water and locate activities that require water near those sites. They can also present geographical information in a way that is understandable to Cominco executives, leading to better business decisions. Cominco consultants across the world can export and import MapInfo Pro data to and from commonly used software such as Windows Excel™, making collaboration easier. 


"Pitney Bowes location intelligence software has helped every member of our team make better tactical decisions, and that's helped a lot." Helena Vilchez,
Geographic Information Systems Expert,
Cominco Resources Ltd.

Using software from Pitney Bowes, Cominco is poised to meet the challenges posed in the on-time, on-budget development of the Hinda Phosphate Deposit, making money for the corporation and producing fertiliser that is in ever-increasing demand by a growing world population.