The Mining industry is one of the most highly labor-intensive sectors and requires huge investment to ensure the safety of the laborers along with preventing pilferage from stockpiles. due to heavy pressure, the Mining industry is constantly exploring new technologies that help them minimize costs and improve productivity, profit margins, and the safety of the workers. The Mining Industry Still has the potential to improve its performance if miners plan Their operations thoroughly, implement proper inspection of the assets regularly and keep strong surveillance of the mining site. However, with the conventional methods, the Mining industry will never be able to March the expectation of performance required to keep up with the stringent environmental and Labour regulations.
The application of drone technology in the Mining industry has revealed incredible results by empowering the industry with the ability to collect greater data, ensure proper safety of the workers, and by improving productivity. This has led to the increase in the demand and popularity of Drone Technology across the Mining industry. Aerial photography and Drone imagery have much more to offer as compared to the traditional ground-based inspection and mind mapping for example Drone Technology can offer high-resolution images and videos with higher accuracy than the traditional method. Therefore, the application of drone technology in the Mining industry can make on-site operations far safer and productive to contribute to the growth and development of the Mining industry. Drone Technology has the facility to carry different types of sensors based on the requirements such as chemical, biological, visual, and acoustic sensors. researchers now focus on the design optimisation of drones to enhance their performance and efficiency and as a result, the development and fabrication of various types of drones with diverse capabilities are transforming the Mining industry.
Advantages of using drones in the mining industry
The application of drone technology in the mining industry is advantageous is two of the biggest reasons. First is that drones can carry different types of sensors that make the inspection of the site faster, safer, and more accurate. The second is that the drones can also be used in the inspection and unblocking of blocked box holes and ore-passes, and not only that but the use of drones is also useful in blockage inspection, detecting explosives, and the delivery of packages. The monitoring of mines that are located in vast and remote mountainous areas is a challenging task and requires manpower. The use of traditional methods may not be able to provide surety of the safety of the workers, would be time-consuming, and increase the cost. The use of drone technology, on the other hand, offers safe monitoring, surveying, and mapping of the mines.
Challenges in the mining industry and their solutions
The challenges in the mining industry have made mining companies come out of their comfort zone and optimize their operations to improve the growth and performance of the mining sector. The collection of geotechnical data from dangerous rugged regions and inaccessible regions is one of the biggest challenges in the mining industry. Mapping the engineering geology of the site is another biggest challenge that the mining industry is facing. Drone technology has the ability to take detailed images that solves the challenges of engineering geology. Blasting is one of the most common activities in the mining industry and with it, comes its challenges and risks. However, with the help of drone technology, the risks involved in blasting activities can be inspected and avoided.
Application of Drones in Underground Mines
Even after the growth in the application of drone technology in the mining industry, the use of drones is limited in underground mining due to the risks and challenges of underground mining. The environment in underground mining is harsh and creates hindrance in the flying of drones. Challenges such as confined space, poor visibility, the velocity of the air, dust concentration, and the lack of wireless communication occur for the operator to fly drones in underground areas. It becomes difficult to impossible for the operation to fly drones in dangerous and unreachable locations in underground mining. Therefore, using drones in underground mining has the potential to ensure health and safety while working to map the surface roughness, analyse rock mass stability, ventilation modelling, detection of hazardous gas, and monitor leakage.
Application of Drones in Search and Rescue Operations
Mines are usually located in remote areas which makes communication difficult due to the unavailability of common and reliable communication networks. Therefore, the application of drones Technology can act as a tool that solves the problems of communication, especially in rescue operations and emergencies. The advantage of using drones in the rescue operation is that it can provide disaster warnings and also accelerate the process of rescue and recovery operations in times of the unavailability of proper communication networks. In emergency situations, drones also have the ability to carry medical supplies to areas that are hard to reach. Therefore, the use of drones in search and rescue operations can improve the overall performance of the mining industry and help in its growth and development.