Drones have become an increasingly important part of mining technology, helping to streamline and improve mining operations and safety in every respect, from aerial surveillance to stock pile inspections. For example, drones are able to swiftly supply mining teams with large amounts of safe, accurate data, making them valuable tools in the productivity chain. And, when it comes to the benefits of using drones, open cast mining is no different.
What is open cast mining? Also known as open pit mining, this term refers to an excavation (or deep cut) made at the ground’s surface for the purpose of extracting ore. In doing so, it is most often necessary to excavate and relocate large quantities of waste rock to reach the ore through processes like blasting.
The effect of drones on open cast mining include
1. The generation of excellent survey data
Due to their advanced technology and speed, drones are able to provide blasting units with accurate, up to date information on the blasting site. When used in conjunction with blast planning software, a higher accuracy in the blast is achieved. And, best of all, this can all be done at a safe distance.
2. Help with drill hole alignment
The geo-referenced images of drill hole positions provided during a drone’s survey flight can be used to align drill holes with the positions laid out in the blast plan. The resulting drilling is more precise, helping mining units to achieve the desired after-blast fragmentation size. This helps to improve the overall efficiency of blast operations, from loading and clean-up costs to streamlining work processes.
3. Improved blast quality
The way a blast is planned and executed can have a significant impact on the effectiveness of the blast, as well as the longevity of the blast equipment. The results include finer fragmentation, higher digging rates, and reduced power consumption for drilling machines, increasing their lifespan.
4. Accurate fragmentation analysis
Sampling, measuring and analysing the fragmentation after a blast is more easily done from an aerial perspective (as with a drone) than on the ground. Drones can give a clear picture of where fragments lie and in what quantities, as well as deliver aerial scan images that allow for analysis for use in improving future blasts.
Drones are changing the way big industries, like mining, do business. Want to implement the use of drones in your industry or learn how aerial mapping and surveying services can enhance your work flow processes in 2018? We’re the team to ask! We work with professional organisations and government bodies across Africa to help our clients achieve the best possible, most productivity, budget-friendly results, through a range of commercial services and turnkey drone surveying and mapping solutions.