UAV in Mining sector
Drones are being used vary effectively to moniter mining areas as well as calculate volume extracted. Till date, volume calculations were being done by the experienced employees having experience in that specific area for many years. Error margins were also high in such calculations. But now a days, drones are playing a major role in it.
Drones are fitted with RGB sensors to acquire aerial data of mining sites. GIS
experts process the data accumulated and create Orthorectified Imagery, 3D Point Cloud, Digital Elevation Models (DEM), Digital Terrain Models (DTM) and/or Digital
Surface Models (DSM). These models mirror vital characteristics such as safety berm heights, crests and toes, road boundaries, slope length, elevation change, etc., which promote the improvement of worker and site-safety management.
Important application areas of Drones in Mining –
a. Stockpile management-
Regardless of the work in the construction, mining or aggregate sector, stockpile management is a must. Assigning the workforce for stockpile measurement can be hazardous, time-consuming, and costly. All stockpiles vary in shapes and sizes, making it challenging to estimate their volumes with high accuracy through traditional methods. Instead, the most effective solution would be to use high-quality drones to accumulate survey data. Data is acquired using RGB sensors connected to the drones & later this data is processed to create 3-D Terrain maps. This map is further used to calculate volumes of various stock piles. This helps in effective inventory tracking & better financial reporting.
b. Mine monitoring and operation planning-
Highly accurate drone data and GIS maps help design haul roads accurately, optimize traffic flow, and initiate team collaboration to ensure quick decision making to restore and retain safety. Periodic inspection and assessment of haul roads are vital to ensure the smooth running of mining operations and diminishing possibilities of a catastrophic event. As compared to traditional methods, Drone Surveying preserves time, money, and acquires data that could never be obtained by human surveyors. GIS personnel produces various GIS maps like DTM, 3D Models, 3D Point Clouds, colour Slope Maps, etc. to provide excellent and valuable knowledge such as length, slope, and turning angles to mine managers. With this information, companies can optimize the roads and significantly diminish fuel costs for moving materials out of mining sites.
c. Water and sediment flow-
Monitoring water and sediment flow are essential as they can induce operation
disruptions and hinder or stop the mining sites. Data acquired using drones can be used to create Digital Elevation Maps which can further be utilized to trace water flow and tailing pond. It assists site manager in ensuring safety and adequate smooth water flow.
d. Mining exploration-
UAVs (Unmanned aerial systems) are continually growing as a less invasive approach for procuring authentic images for mineral exploration due to its safe, efficient, and sustainable nature. Drones equipped with advanced RGB sensors, produce high-quality data, which further helps to generate high-resolution orthophotos and DSM maps. The accumulated data is produced as a 3D terrain model to learn and examine the structural control of mines. Drone Surveying for mining exploration is sufficiently economical and demands fewer on-foot exploration requirements. Drones further improve personnel and site safety.
e. Blast Planning & Assessment– One of the principal applications of drone technology can be seen in topography and mining operations, especially in planning, charging, and requiring blasting operations. Usage of Drones & 3D Photogrammetry deliver High-Precision Inspections of the blasting area to make critical evaluations regarding safety. Experts can replicate data such as GIS Maps, 3D models, and Photogrammetry to guide clients to carefully examine the site to be drilled, extracted and guarantee sufficient resources. The detailed data obtained guide mine planners and project managers to plan thoroughly for future blasts, cut costs, time, and on-site drilling.