Drones can provide tools for managing tasks or controlling entire functions in a mining operation. Drones provide management tools to increase overall productivity and aerial monitoring can give an accurate picture of stockpiles, production, and process flow to determine the overall efficiency of operations.
The items listed below describe five ways that drones impact mining.
1. Mineral surveys with drone technology are faster and more productive than with traditional methods. Drones can help with sampling and searches for minerals using advanced remote sensing techniques. Personnel can spend more time assessing samples and selecting productive sites than in carrying out searches. Drones can look at mineral patterns and provide data for computer analysis. The system can operate in real time to offer constant assessments and remote viewers can watch 3-D imaging of a mine work to confirm progress and accuracy, measured against plans and designs.
2. Mapping is a difficult mining function by traditional means including small planes. The emerging drone technology offers mine operators a cost-effective alternative for mapping deposit sites. Drone mapping can work with ground surveyors to ensure accuracy and reduce the time and effort needed. Drones can perform in challenging weather and harsh conditions; aerial mapping minimizes human exposure to elements and hazards. Drones can perform mapping with details including 3-D imaging and elevations. Using geospatial references, drones can produce maps and surveys with precision, feature details, and testable accuracy.
3. Improved safety is a benefit of drone technology in the applications discussed here and, in mine operations, overall. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles can work in rugged conditions that pose safety risks for human activity. Drones can clear mine blast zones before detonations and then follow traces of fumes. Drones can fill roles in large, high-activity sites such as monitoring traffic flow and avoiding slowdowns or bottlenecks.
4. Surveillance systems require a significant amount of man power in mining operations. Mining sites can be vast and sprawling locations with powerful machines, valuable equipment, and storage areas for unrefined materials. Drones can reduce personnel needed to keep sites and assets secure. Remote viewers can observe multiple scenes simultaneously, and direct attention to specific areas as needed.
5. Security and emergency response are related to surveillance and more. Drones can reinforce mine safety by providing views of scenes and situations for remote viewers that can manually initiate safety protocols. Emergency response can hinge on matters in minutes in the event of accident and injury. Drones can visualize situations and provide information for fast and effective actions.
A mine operation’s investment in drone education and drone license classes will provide returns in nearly every area of mine operations.