Justin Smith, CIOReview

The mining companies are using drones to increase workers’ productivity and increase safety on the site. 

FREMONT, CA: According to Global Data’s survey of more than 200 mine sites, mining is a hazardous sector, which helps to understand its willingness to apply Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) technology in the last few years, particularly across the regions of Australasia and Africa. Drones can provide advanced, accurate, and real-time data as it has numerous survey and mapping photogrammetry software.

According to Global Data’s survey, along with enhancing mining activities’ safety, data can be gathered more reliably and accurately by drones. Moreover, switching a drone and drone pilot for manned aircraft can save about 90 percent of the cost per hour. Other advantages include:

• Enhances worker and site-safety management.

• Decreases the need for costly manned aircraft and highly skilled personnel.

• Surveys are easily repeatable.

• Lowers variance in stockpile volume calculations.

• Unlimited aerial data that can gather enable engineers to focus on analysis and interpretation.

Use cases

Tailings dams

Tailings dams are earthen embankment dams that preserve the mining process’s highly hazardous chemical byproducts. In order to maintain their integrity and avoid any environmentally harmful spillage or pollution, drones can provide continuous surveillance of tailing dams.


Continuously flying drones can secure perimeters and protecting devices, identifying and altering employees of unusual activity. The aerial viewpoint is also useful while planning emergency response efforts that may be necessary by safely guiding response vehicles through the mining site.

Drilling and blasting

For regions that have to be blasted or drilled, the surveys may create 3D reconstructions and surface models. Thermal imaging and photometry are utilized during blasting to ensure that no potentially harmful material changes have occurred. Comparisons between pre-and post-blasting surveys lead to more accurate volume calculations to enhance planning for future blasts and reduce explosives expense, time on site, and drilling costs.

Quarry management and operation planning

The aerial drone images can also develop an accurate site model. The mining companies can manage and design the site operations more efficiently and safely by evaluating the volume of material to be extracted or moved and optimizing haul roads to reduce fuel costs and ensure that they comply with legal standards.

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