Achieving near real-time volume data delivery in opencast mining

July 21st, 2019, Published in Articles: PositionIT

The mining industry is currently experiencing one of the most evolutionary phases of its time. After witnessing a relatively reluctant adaption to drone technology, customers are now demanding a faster data turnaround due to increasing production pressures and internal incentives.

With faster processing hardware and improved software processing turnaround, raw drone data has now given birth to a full suite of practical and intelligent applications, which were previously unavailable due to slow data delivery.

It is a story as old as time itself – we do not know how much things can change our lives until they do.

When cell phones first came out, we arrived in a technology age only previously seen in sci-fi movies. We were mind-blown by the simplicity and speed of SMS and mobile phone-calling; just before the “futuristic” applications of Mxit or WhatsApp, which suddenly appeared, without notice. Through the upgrading of our cellular networks, from EDGE to 3G – mobile broadband then changed the game in terms of fast data access. Now our lives are so connected and so instant, we cannot imagine living any other way.

As mobile and fixed-line technology (ADSL) become more affordable, the older generations (like our parents and grandparents), who were not necessarily part of the initial technology adoption drive, found themselves communicating with their families in real-time over Skype; replacing the trusted paper, pen and postage stamp. Speed of information creates the necessary space for new software applications to develop, ultimately allowing us to make faster and more accurate decisions.

This same technological transition is now occurring in the mining industry with the help of frequently collected survey and mapping data from aerial drone technology: reports which were generally only available once a month are now available every single day. As with the mobile data industry, while this new-found frequency of data may seem excessive, it has recently given birth to a multitude of new survey and engineering software applications, driving an even greater demand for high-resolution imagery.

Reality capture and 3D modelling technology can also create a near real-time view of a mine pit or construction projects. Instead of sending project managers to monitor the construction of a new plant, one can model and track its progress remotely from the safety of an office, share it across the team, and collaborate online, making annotations and inspection reports for on-site foremen.

Data is only truly useful if it can be captured and processed within a single day, otherwise it becomes irrelevant.

Achieving this sub-24-hour turn-around is now possible because of evolving processing technology, matched with best-in-class drone flight techniques, creating a variety of data-intensive software applications. Now, not only is it possible to measure and report stack volumes within six hours of capture, but also to gather multiple layers of grade and location information.

Daily drone flights allow you to track fast-moving inventory stockpiles, making volume information available at the click of a button and giving you the ability to make critical and instant business decisions.

Rocketmine believes that this technology will change the mining space forever: saving lives, saving time and producing the most precise insights into mining and survey operations yet. This solution allows staff to avoid risky areas of operation, all while upskilling their technological abilities from more secure areas of the mine.

Through highly engineered technology and the consolidation of all data in a central system, the peak performance of a mining operation is now dramatically improved. We are no longer talking about the smart mine revolution – it is already here. Your mine does not need to only send SMSs anymore, you can experience the world of the high-speed data revolution with Rocketmine today.

Contact Kelly Clark, Rocketmine, kelly.clark@rocketmine.com

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