The most recent mining technology developments imply a strong industry drive toward sustainability. Digital technology is working harder than ever to provide a thoroughly modern, safe, and productive mine that meets the rising demand for mined commodities while exceeding consumer expectations and worldwide environmental goals.
Here are some of the most recent technological breakthroughs in the mining industry:
1. Geospatial Data Visualization
Mining is undergoing an exciting transformation as a result of spatial (or geospatial) data. Spatial data is becoming more detailed and distinct than ever before:
- Three-dimensional (3D) modelling produces a visible, life-like impression with depth perception, allowing the human brain to comprehend and react to complicated interconnected challenges. Firms benefit from 3D modelling by more effectively redesigning the mine.
- Virtual reality (VR) is a computer-generated software environment that incorporates real-world data. People are immersed in a user-created 3-D world in the virtual environment. Virtual reality provides an augmented impression to assist miners in feeling what it’s like to operate in a mine or develop a new mine without having to go out in the field.
- Augmented Reality (AR) is the process of superimposing a digital representation on top of a real-world environment. AR does this by augmenting the user’s visual field with computer-generated inputs, including music, video, apps, and graphics. Miners utilize augmented reality to train with virtual simulators, which helps the sector save money on equipment maintenance.
- The mining sector acquires insights into mine systems at a lower cost and less environmental impact by successfully utilizing modern technologies such as geographical data. The mining industry is progressively progressing toward a future in which it will be feasible to virtually construct and demolish buildings, factories, mines, and all related infrastructure before breaking ground on a fully intelligent mine.
2. Blasting Technologies
In surface and underground mining, miners typically excavate rocks by drilling holes into the rock and then filling those holes with explosives to blast away the hard rock. For underground mines, this poses a fire threat and the possibility of mine destabilization and collapse.
New improvements in micro-explosives, along with computer-assisted design and timing, appear to have the potential to lessen the risks involved with blasting. The use of micro-explosives would also result in larger control fragment size, lowering the cost, time, and energy required for downstream crushing and grinding.
3. The Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things, a new network technology based on the convergence of wireless technologies, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS), and the Internet, can revolutionize the mining sector by introducing new methods of ensuring mine safety and productivity.
The technology entails equipping machines, fleets, and people with unique identifiers based on radio frequency identification device (RFID) and sensor technologies, allowing them to automatically transfer and receive data over a network without the need for human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.
The IoT platform can improve the traceability and visibility of the entire mining operation. Still, it can also enable computers to observe, identify, and understand various aspects of mining operations without human intervention and automate and improve machine maintenance and operation.
4. Fully-Automated Drones
Drones, also known as unmanned aerial systems (UAS), have made inroads into the mining industry in recent years. UASs can now achieve the same goals as helicopters at a cheaper cost. Drones that are programmed to execute operational duties benefit the industry by delivering the following services:
- Doing safety surveillance in risky locations
- Asset administration
- Photographing time lapses
- Inventory stockpile measurement
- Inspection and maintenance of infrastructure
- Site planning
5. Self-Operating Ore Carriers
Using the same automation technology as seen in other self-driving vehicles, ore-carrying vehicles such as above-ground earthmovers and subterranean ore carriers may work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, while eliminating workers from the inherent risks in their work zones.
Some of these above-ground ore transporters are three stories tall and run efficiently because of automated programming. Underground ore transporters are being outfitted with radar and laser scanners, allowing them to navigate in the dark in breathing-hazardous zones. Battery technology advancements enable the development of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) for mining – both above and below ground.
Roles will continue to develop as mining businesses strive to become knowledgeable and sustainable mining organizations. Understanding how work must evolve to adjust to unanticipated events swiftly and harnessing technology to create more meaningful and safe work will assist the sector in transforming and overcoming disruption.
Group 11 is dedicated to implementing mindful, socially responsible, and environmental mining solutions. Contact us today to learn more!