Over the years the mining industry has been leading in innovation to reinforce safety measures, reduce the impact on the environment as well as to keep up with market demands.
Automation is becoming increasingly prevalent in the race to make “intelligent mines”. Self driving trucks have started to take on more workloads. There are also initiatives to automate trains using robotic automation. Essentially, this will free up workers making it possible to drill even deeper into the earth. Previously this was deemed unsafe or virtually impossible to accomplish by human workers.
The innovations in drone technology have enabled the easy mapping of mine landscapes. Subsequently to monitor the landscape during the blasting and excavation process – therefore mitigating microquakes which could be caused during this process.
Multiple data streams are constantly being fed into data management tools and real-time dashboards. This is done to enable better planning and detect risks sooner. Coupled with the exponential intelligence of AI and machine learning, mines are able to mitigate risks and manage downtime. All this information is processed in real-time.
RADAR GEOSPATIAL DATA
Radar geospatial data, which can be remotely managed, deduces what lies beyond obstructions or detects faults and instabilities within slopes in open pit mines. The feedback is received in real-time. Thus evacuations of both humans and machines from unsafe areas can be done quickly and timeously.
ALTERNATIVE BLASTING METHODS
A major innovation is finding alternatives to using explosives to blast open the earth. This includes machinery that is able to drill into rock or even cut or chip away at rock. This also enables people to return to abandoned mines to reach valuable minerals such as ore.
Lastly, the use of digital twins is becoming increasingly valuable to predict outcomes and scenarios related to specific machinery as opposed to relying on industry norms. What makes them a replica and not a copy is that sensors are attached to the machinery that feedback data and information of the real life situation that then empowers those in charge to plan accordingly.