The use of mining drones has revolutionized the way large mine sites and quarries oversee their operations. Unlike traditional surveying methods, a drone is able to provide exceedingly quick and accurate data across a large territory. This dynamic, real-time data collection also facilitates communication between workers on the ground and management at other sites.
Why Drone Technology Is the New Best Practice in Open-Pit Mining
Aerial images captured by drones are able to produce the most accurate site models to-date, which is important for two reasons: This allows mining operators to precisely calculate the amount of material that can be extracted, and quickly determine what equipment is best used for the site conditions in a specific area.
Since many mining projects are in geographical areas that are difficult to explore by foot, the precise, high-resolution data yielded by drones can be invaluable. This data in turn allows mine managers to better plan the supplies and resources that will be needed for a particular project, such as the number of trucks, the amount of explosives, and the size of the drilling or excavation equipment.
A Cost-Effective Surveying Tool
A high-quality drone is only a fraction of the cost of a traditional aerial survey operation, which requires a plane and a pilot. While accurate ground survey equipment does exist, it needs to be operated by a team of land surveyors who may spend several weeks amassing the same amount of information that a drone can gather in just a few hours.
How Do Mining Drones Work?
Drones are equipped with downward facing cameras that are able to capture highly detailed images of a mining site from a variety of angles. Once back on the ground, a technician uses specialized software to turn these images into 3D maps and digital terrain models of the mining site.
The resulting models and images allow for a very precise calculation of stockpile values and the amount of material that can be moved. These images also allow mine managers to pinpoint any safety concerns that might affect workers.
More Efficient Data Collection
The main appeal of using drones in mining operations is that they provide a very cost-effective and efficient way to manage inventory and equipment requirements. The frequency of data collection (which previously might have only taken place once or twice per year) means that these operations can now precisely forecast the amount of available mineral stock that can be sold at any given time.
The real-time nature of this data is also invaluable when it comes to targeting safety concerns and addressing them before they become a major workplace accident. Drone images can pinpoint potentially unstable areas of a mine or blast site, such as slopes, highwalls, and crests, and help management to ensure that mitigating measures are put in place at the earliest possible opportunity.
If you’re thinking of investing in drone technology for your workplace operation, contact xCraft. We have an incredible selection of state-of-the-art drones that are made in the U.S.A.