The Role of Drone Technology in Mining’s Accelerated Purpose

| November 22, 2021

Nearly every industry around the world has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with businesses rapidly adjusting to a new normal. But after a time where business as usual has been anything but usual, business leaders in all sectors need to respond, turning challenges into meaningful change. 

The pandemic emphasized the need for businesses to have a purpose beyond making a profit. This includes the mining industry, where establishing a sense of accelerated purpose is more important than ever before. 

Here’s how mining operators can establish a clear, strong purpose by harnessing new technologies that make day-to-day operations more sustainable, people-friendly, and more attractive to stakeholders. 

accelerated purpose

What is an accelerated purpose in mining?

An accelerated purpose involves more than simply “doing the right thing” on the mine site. It’s an ongoing commitment to making a positive impact on stakeholders, society, and the environment. There are several actions a company can take to outline their dedication to a greater purpose, including:

  • Setting decarbonization goals. Many of the top mining and metals companies are making a commitment to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, and stakeholders are taking notice. Reducing fuel burn is one of the key ways miners can reduce their carbon footprint today.
  • Investing in new technologies. New technologies, including carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS), scrap recovery, and smart sensors. Drone survey technology, in particular, is quickly becoming the champion of safety and sustainability for mining operations. We’ll go into detail on this more below.
  • Committing to safety. For starters, stakeholders want to see a commitment to workplace health and safety for miners and site managers working on site. Responsible mining operations need to continue improving and consider how they affect outside the mine site and the surrounding community.

Stakeholders are paying attention to companies that follow a strong purpose—it’s becoming a powerful value proposition. A clear purpose helps build trust, serving as a guiding light for teams working on site and the stakeholders who help make the operation possible.

How drone survey technology can help

Implementing new surveying practices at your mine is an effective way to answer the call for an accelerated purpose. Traditional surveying is time-consuming, costly, and even dangerous. Forward-thinking mining companies are looking to drone surveying, which has become more affordable and accurate than ever before with all-in-one drone data processing solutions like Propeller. 

It’s now affordable and efficient to conduct surveys frequently, in some cases even on a weekly basis. How can drone data reflect your commitment to support an accelerated purpose? There are a variety of benefits, including:

  • Ensuring environmental regulations are met. With the help of drone data gathered from frequent surveys, mine managers can mark off protected areas of operational mines and share information with the team on site. Drone data with Propeller’s optimized workflow helps you keep tabs on site boundaries and no-go zones, so you don’t break regulations.
  • Reducing fuel burn. One of the biggest environmental issues associated with mining is fuel burn. As mining haul trucks move about a site, they consume huge volumes of fuel. Even something as simple as road grades has an effect on fuel burn. Drone surveys with 3D visuals give site managers accurate measurements of road grade, width and berm height, enabling adjustments to be made that can reduce fuel consumption. Additionally, getting these haul roads right helps your operation conform to safety standards and even reduces maintenance needs for machinery. 
  • Reducing the need for in-person inspections. The 3D surveys created with Propeller’s drone data platform provide accurate, up-to-date information on everything from traffic management around a mine to an in depth look at open pit mines for highwall inspections. In some cases, the need for in-person inspections is completely eliminated, consequently eliminating potentially significant safety hazards at your site.
  • Ensuring proper reclamation. When it comes time to repair the damage done by mining activities, drone data provides significant benefits. Mine reclamation is heavily regulated by the EPA, and part of the industry’s accelerated purpose includes making the site safe and stable, even providing a landscape that supports future use of the area. Drone data helps you make sure your reclamation efforts conform to design, offering a visual record of activities to back up your work.

Drone survey technology reinforces a commitment to an accelerated purpose

The most successful miners of the future must answer the call for an accelerated purpose for many reasons. From staying in step with stakeholder expectations to improving performance and even maintaining a license to operate, mining operators need to work with a clear purpose. By implementing new technologies, particularly drone surveying, mining firms can support a sustainable, safe and equitable business environment.

Want to leverage the power of drone surveying on your worksite? Let’s talk.

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