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How drones are assisting companies in the mining sector

How drones are assisting companies in the mining sector

With the rise in aerial vehicles, also known as drones, and artificial intelligence tools, the mining sector has slowly started to take advantage of these resources to help them improve operations and streamline operations for the better. Be it for efficiency, mapping or surveillance, companies in this sector are turning to drones for a number of reasons. Here are a few ways in which drones can be helpful in this industry: 


•    Helps to improve productivity 

Mining commodities are forever dropping, forcing companies to search for new ways to increase productivity. With helicopters and human resources having been the most advanced way for managers and workers to maintain and monitor their environments in recent years, it wasn’t always the most effective in terms of time. Today, drones are giving managers the ability to do more and see better results at a fraction of the cost. 


•    Monitors safety more efficiently 

Companies aren’t only looking for new ways to improve the safety around their own employees, but they’re also leveraging the latest technologies to help improve their equipment safety in high-risk areas. Drones are one of the few tools that can do several things at the same time. From GPS tracking to videos and more, these flying vehicles can monitor the workplace faster than any human could. For example, drones can be deployed to quickly assess a mine and identify any existing or potential hazards in remote areas. They also eliminate the need for helicopters to monitor the area before workers begin service. And project managers will also be able to evaluate the project’s needs in advance before organising the necessary equipment. 

Staff are no longer at risk, as nearly everything can be overseen by a drone. Information can be reported back to management, where they will be able to make further decisions without staff having to get involved and perform these tasks themselves. As a result, these incredibly smart business assets can act as an effective tool when looking to automate time-consuming tasks and security on-site and after hours. 


•    Easier for maintenance purposes 

Drones have the ability to complete tasks faster than any human being could dream of doing. In terms of maintenance, drones are mainly used to measure stockpiles on mining sites because of the time assistance. Before drones, this was an incredibly labour-intensive job that took hours to complete. Land surveyors were usually tasked to climb up onto areas with GPS equipment to try and record multiple data points when surveying the land. These tasks also require costly industrial equipment, therefore with the help of drones, business owners can be more strategic with their plant and machinery finance options. It’s no longer a case of deploying all types of equipment but rather the important units which are chosen based on drone footage. 

It’s not a case of eliminating the human aspect out of mining maintenance jobs. It’s simply about leveraging drones to assist humans in making more accurate decisions and speeding up the job. For example, if a human makes use of a laser scanner to view the irregularities on top of the ground's surface, they’re bound to make a mistake in the report back because they don’t have a bird’s eye or aerial view of the ground. You need to be able to look down on the stockpiles in order to see the depression in caves and undercuts. 


•    More accurate approach to mapping 

With stockpiles and mining pits in general, it’s easy for contractors and surveyors to say that something is complete when it’s far from the truth. Often times, this happens simply because it feels like you’ve touched on everything when you haven’t. Knowing this, mining companies can make use of drone footage to keep interactions honest and professional. Projects can be guided through drone footage, giving workers a clear representation of what has already been done and work that still needs to be completed on the site. 


Final words

Beyond these points, one of the biggest advantages of drones is how they’re allowing people to do and complete things that could never be done before. For example, the ability to share and preserve cultural heritage sites that might otherwise have been lost. With machine learning, artificial intelligence and IOT on the rise, many employees are looking at the negative aspect of losing their jobs, rather than coming up with more effective ways for how humans can work together with these technologies for a better outcome. While these intelligent tools are costly, businesses cannot look past them. There are many plant and machinery finance or asset finance companies in South Africa which would be happy to help you grow your business. 

Drones are playing a huge role in the engineering and mining industries. Not only to help automate and streamline tasks but simply to cut costs and time spent on delivering each project. The mining sector is only getting started with the employment of technology and automated tools in their operations. Soon, these little machines will be able to help managers contribute to the safe, productive working environment mining workers have always dreamed of having. As technology becomes smarter, so will a drone’s capability. Be it through equipment finance opportunities or loans, companies need to invest in these opportunities for a brighter future. 

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