Drones are Changing the Process of Mineral Surveying
Drones are constantly evolving and BHP Billiton is turning to this new technology to obtain real-time aerial footage as well as 3D maps of its mining sites. Many companies across various industries are beginning to realize the potential of unmanned aerial vehicles in improving their operations.
There are many reasons why companies are turning to drones that include but are not limited to the following: cost savings, improved safety as well as increased efficiency and productivity. BHP Billiton is one of the first companies to adopt drone technology in its operations and it is a global leader iron ore, metallurgical copper and coal production.
BHP Billiton has a strong workforce of more than 60,000 employees and it mainly operates in Australia and Americas. The company has been using drones in various operations in Australia and it is moving on to adopt the drone technology for mineral surveying.
Drone use at BHP Billiton
BHP mainly uses drones for purposes like monitoring, maintenance and mapping. For instance, at one of its coal mining companies in Australia, BHP uses drones are used to ensure that all areas are clear before a blast and they are also use to track fumes from the blast.
The company also uses drones to improve road safety through monitoring traffic, hazards as well as road conditions. The maintenance team also uses drones for overhead inspection of roofs on tall buildings, towers and cranes so that no one works at great height.
Of late, the company, the company has begun testing specially designed drones to perform mineral surveys. BHP operates a consortium of coal mines and mineral surveillance drones can go a long way in creation of 3D maps of these mine sites. The technology will help BHP to monitor these mines in terms of progress as well as safety.
The mineral surveillance drones can also help in identifying potential sites with minerals for extraction. These drones provide real-time aerial data together with 3D maps for the company’s mining sites. The new technology is cheaper than using planes for surveillance work. The surveillance systems are developed together with supercomputers that can allow BHP to analyze data at super fast speeds which improve the decision making process.
BHP Company also uses drones to perform community work such as mapping areas consisting of cultural heritage closer to its mining sites. These places can easily be destroyed but drones help the operators to go beyond their boundaries and survey significant sites before encroaching onto them.
However, the downside of drone technology in the mining sector is that it has adverse impacts on employment given that fewer and fewer people are being employed over decades. Automation of surveillance is creating a new wave of highly specialized jobs like commercial drone pilots.
All the same, drones are set to significantly improve mining operations in terms of increased productivity and safety across the globe. Mineral surveillance technology could save both time and money to different companies that with adopt it in their operations.