Yet another innovative application of drones is using them for mining. They are used in a similar way as they are for aerial surveying and they can save mining companies tons of time and money. Let’s look at this new service a bit closer.
Drones in the mining industry are used for two main things: mapping and mineral exploration. Let’s look at these two areas and see exactly how drones help.
Drones being used for mapping is nothing new and it is a service Droneworxs offers as well. The mapping aspect isn’t really different for mining operations. Most companies want an accurate 3-D map with contour lines so they can measure distances more accurately and drones are the quickest and cheapest way to do it.
One thing to note is that mapping is done throughout the entire mining process, not just at the beginning. It is crucial in monitoring volumes of the mine, to determine how much has already been mined out and how much minerals are left. This has been a big innovation because mining companies can get accurate maps every single day if they want to monitor changes in the stockpile volume.
Drones using multi spectral imaging can determine which types of minerals lay in a mine.
Multi-spectral imaging is a technical toolsurveyor’s use all the time. To simplify it, it is a sensor that measures the bands of the electromagnetic spectrum. Different minerals, like gold, copper, silver, and anything else mined, all give off different colors.
Therefore, a drone with a multi-spectral sensor attached to will fly over a reservoir and send the data back to people. Then they can analyze it and determine which possible minerals are lying in the mine and estimate a size. From there, they determine if it is economically feasible to extract the minerals.
If you’ve read these articles before, the first great benefit mentioned about drones is speed. That’s also the case with mining, as drones’ cut the time down on nearly every part of the process.
The first part is mapping, as mining operations are usually extremely large and need extensive mapping constantly. What might’ve taken ground surveyors days to complete, drones can finish the job in a couple of hours. Using photogrammetry, the drones can snap pictures and generate an accurate 3-D map of the mine within no time.
But there’s more. Drones’ ability to upload data from anywhere right after it is collected in invaluable. Being able to upload this data instantly means it can be accessed and analyzed by people both in the office and the field. This allows for better communication between workers throughout the entire process.
The other great advantage these drones provide is accurate measurements. Being able to provide instant measurements on the area, volume, and distance are all crucial for mining companies in helping them determine how large the mine is.
The bottom line is that drones assist these engineers and surveyors in doing their jobs more efficiently. There are still many technical aspects in how they read the data and the various powerful software tools they use, but drones make capturing this data much easier.
The drones used for these mining operations are some of the best in the aerial surveying and mapping business. Therefore, they are not cheap.
One that is used by several companies is the Aibot X6. It’s lightweight, only 3.5 kg, with a flight time of up to 20 min and a max speed of 40 km/hr. It’s specifically designed for surveying and it comes equipped with many of the sensors commonly used. Its price? Nearly $30,000 AUD!
So while you may not be able to afford one of these drones anytime soon, it’s still fun to dream and drones being used in mining aerial surveying is another great application of this powerful technology that we love.