How to Perform Drone Inspections in Mining

Learn the Powerful Uses of Drone Technology in Every Stage of the Mining Cycle

Tue Apr 07 2020 00:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

As one of the fastest commercial adopters of drones, the mining industry has a myriad of use cases showcasing the benefits of drone technology. In an industry with many dangerous worksites, drones provide a quick alternative to manual surveying while keeping workers safe. Without drones, these time-consuming and frequently unsafe tasks are subject to human error and unexpected safety hazards. DroneDeploy enables miners to inspect their assets and terrain in every stage of the mineral resources development cycle.

Exploration

In the exploration stage, drones map areas of interest or potential blast sites through standard photogrammetry, which is processed and available to view within 24 hours. From here, users can use DroneDeploy’s collaboration tools to create Annotations or Measurements. The information gathered from these tasks can then be shared with stakeholders and decision-makers. Within the DroneDeploy app, users can share maps in an easily downloadable PDF format or add team members for real-time collaboration.

Environmental Assessment and Approval

Made in this stage are critical environmental assessments, crucial when protecting potential vegetation, landmarks, or waterways. For detailed plant health analysis, DroneDeploy’s Plant Health layers provide precise vegetative data to quantify areas of vegetation. By mapping out sensitive areas, users can ensure compliance with local regulations and governing bodies - and avoid hefty fines. This marked information on the selected map can also be processed into an Annotation Report for easy sharing later on.

Construction

During construction, it is essential to document all equipment, site hazards, and stockpiles. While a standard map can provide this information, DroneDeploy features like Stockpile Reports, and side-by-side comparisons make it easy to track progress over time. In a Stockpile Report, users receive a complete PDF document listing the total amounts of various materials on-site. Using Side by Side in DroneDeploy’s App Market, two maps of the same area can be overlaid and viewed at the same time, especially helpful when analyzing the selected area from start to finish or showing stakeholders site progress.

Operation

During standard operations are where we see many of the most practical uses for drone technology. A bird’s-eye view is necessary when locating equipment, stability hazards, or illegal mining activity. Routine, periodic flights can be performed for grade monitoring and pit or dump management. To minimize safety risks, drones can be used to inspect blast walls or terracing, with DroneDeploy’s Live Map displaying these insights in real-time. Drainage and water management, resource calculation, and erosion control are also detectable with Thermal Live Map. Further, drone surveys can monitor assets such as dams or levees.

Closure

After regular operations have commenced and the mine is ready to be closed, drone surveying confirms to the appropriate bodies the removal of all equipment or assets. From there, the process of remediation begins, including replanting vegetation, counting trees, and the like.

Drone software has numerous practical use cases in mining - from pit design to damage inspections to blast data. No matter the need, drone technology optimizes site processes and expedites operations while keeping workers out of harm’s way. To learn more about the benefits of drones in your workplace, read some of our customer success stories, or contact us.


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