Drones are a revolution for the mining industry. Less expensive and offer all-important aerial perspective for mining companies. It is believed 70% of the mining majors have at least trialled drones since 2016, with companies such as Rio Tinto, BHP and Anglo American using UAV.
Yet, small and mid-sized firms have so far been slow to adopt the new trend.
Drones offer advanced data collection capabilities for companies in the mining industry.
Offering thermal and geographic imaging, drones provide real-time data for companies interested in mapping deposit sites, surveying mines, and more.
Drones facilitate potent data collection and accuracy. They’re ideal for companies exploring for minerals, tracking equipment, monitoring stockpile volumes.
The data produced by drones is accurate enough to rely on and generate reports from, and companies will benefit from the advanced intelligence.
Mining can be a dangerous industry, and drones serve to keep teams safe.
By doing the more dangerous surveying and data retrieval work, drones allow mining teams to limit costs and risks and protect their personnel.
Monitoring and inspection
Mining is the most dangerous industries for workers, especially those working deep underground. Workers can be subjected to hazards such as rock falls, humid conditions, gas leaks, dust explosions, and floods. Addressing this, mining companies have used drones in such mines to monitor and inspect deep shafts.
Automatic surveying and mapping
Surveying and mapping of mineral landscapes is typically a time-consuming process. By employing drones and a drone pilot, instead of a piloted plane, a mine can save around 90% of the cost-per-hour and collect unlimited aerial data.
This includes fine measurements by simultaneously capturing high-end ortho-images.
One of the biggest challenges any mining company faces while managing stockpiles is the extreme height and area covered, which tends to change frequently.
Drones can enable mining companies to generate aerial terrain models of their inventory and ensure companies can effectively keep track of stockpile movement
Haulage road optimisation
The haul road network has a significant impact on efficiency of mining activities. To achieve safe and uniform transit, road conditions must be constantly monitored. Drones can facilitate this process by collecting a large amount of aerial data, covering precisely, which can be used by engineers for planning, designing, construction and maintenance activities.
Tailings dam management
The use of drones to measure tailings dams could eliminate risk of manual surveying. There is no need for manual interference within proximity of the dump when drones are available. By analysing captured data on a digital platform, mining companies can maintain the structural integrity of the tailings dam to help prevent failure.