Five Ways Drone Data Improves Mine Management and Operations

1. Accurately and efficiently manage your ROM pad volumes

More frequent flights and accurate volume calculations mean better ROM pad tracking and more consistent grades throughout the mill. Flying monthly or weekly is easy. Don’t want for that biannual flyover to tell you how much your stock it out.

Ensure everyone is pulling from the right piles to make the right grades for your mill. Propeller renders your mine drone data in 3D, as close to the physical world we live in as possible. In a few clicks you can see the volume and tonnage for a specific pile or multiple piles.

Mining stockpile report

Similarly, because you’ve been collecting multiple site surveys over time, you can create a visual timeline of changes. This provides direct and readable proof of changes to your ROM pad.

Overall, coupling the data and reporting with the ease of sharing said data can reduce contract disputes. Transparency increases and everyone is working from the same information. The have a single source of truth they can trust.

2. Avoid environmental fines

Environmental regulations are a normal part of mining. Whether it’s checking runoff after a storm or waste dump conformance, keeping everything to code is a regular part of your workweek.

While your mine is still operational, keeping tabs on site boundaries and no-go zones are necessary to avoid any fines associated with failed inspections or violations. In 3D drone surveys, you can mark off protected areas on your site and make them visible to everyone. This gets everyone on the same page and highlights exactly caution is necessary.

Environmental no-go zone on a worksite

But the big environmental jobs—and the big cost—comes during rehabilitation. Once your mine begins rehabilitation, you need to conform to design or risk losing money to EPA regulatory violations. Frequent surveying, accurate measurements, and a timeline of the life of the mine give you a rock-solid paper trail to demonstrate how you’ve managed rehabilitation efforts.

3. Track progress against design more often

Regularly tracking your mine’s overall progress against design goes a long way towards efficiency, but it’s difficult to generate those comparisons quickly with traditional methods.

With Propeller, uploaded design surfaces can be viewed at any time against any survey captured for that site. You can then export 3D DXF and point cloud files to use for updating pit and waste dump designs whenever you want.

And the return on investment continues to pay because you’re working with trusted data and easy-to-use tools you can count on more accurate planning and budgeting. This means less time starting over, fewer unseen delays, and tighter planning.

4. Ensure safety on your mine

The first priority on any mine is safety. However, safety plans, inspections, etc., take time and resources to get right, and they are mandatory. With useable mine drone data, you can trim time off these tasks with easy-to-navigate and shareable 3D surveys.

dam safety check using drone data

Quickly measure haul roads to ensure they meet safety standards for both grades and windrow heights. And because Propeller is browser-based, inspections no longer have to be done on site: inspectors with view-only access could visually inspect the mine from miles away on any browser-enabled device.

If you want a deeper dive on this topic, download our ebook on Drones and Safety:
Safety nad Drones

5. Keep your road grades consistent throughout the mine

Even small alterations from road design can increase cycle times and fuel consumption, in addition to falling outside of proper safety guidelines and wearing out equipment sooner. The time, effort, and risk associated with spotting and fixing those issues add up.

With mine drone surveying and Propeller, you don’t need to leave the office to troubleshoot any of it. Because the 3D survey is accurately mapped and rendered, you can measure grades and cross-slopes directly in your web browser. Check road widths and windrow heights in a couple of clicks and ensure they meet efficiency and safety requirements.

Road grade check in an open-pit mine

The value of frequent surveys cannot be overstated. With such data, you can monitor and stop problems before they become expensive or require rework; check road grades as often as you like; and see changes in roads, or your whole mine, over time with the timeline tool that easily connects past surveys into one visual timelapse.


Read more:

Get Accurate Stockpile Volumes with Drone Surveying

Improve Your Mine Management with Drone Mapping and Analytics

Komatsu Partners with Propeller to Bring Enterprise-Grade Drone Analytics Solutions to Construction Industry

Learn how your mine could benefit from drone data analytics:

Watch a demo of the Propeller Platform.

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