Top Four Trends in Underground Mining Technology

It is no news that technology is gradually taking over different sectors. Businesses are able to solve problems easily and simplify tasks that would have consumed a lot of time without an efficient system. In the mining field, technology has been able to help reduce the risk to miners and make it easier for companies to implement eco-friendly practices.

Underground mining technology has helped the miners in more than just one way as it has significantly enhanced underground communication and emergency response. Presently, there are quite a few trends in mining technology that are on the rise.

1. Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has proved to be quite beneficial over the years, but more so to insight-driven firms. This is because AI technology uses collections of smart data and machine learning to improve efficiency in the workflow. In the case of underground mining technology, AI is used to aid in operational efficiency, mine safety, and the production of workflow.

Incorporating AI technology allows mining companies to generate data within half the time than it previously took. Some common examples of how AI impacts the working mine include mineral exploration and the use of smart trucks.

With the help of AI technology, companies can find minerals easily. This method proves to be much faster as compared to the manual techniques that were used previously. Similarly, smart trucks or self-driving trucks have replaced the autonomous vehicles that were utilized in the past. The self-driving trucks can easily navigate through narrow tunnels, with this technology, miners no longer have to work in congested areas.

 2. Underground Drones

Drones or unmanned aerial systems (UAS) have made remarkable progress in the mining industry. The drones are simply set to perform operational tasks such as recording gas levels, site mapping, measuring stockpile inventory, and recording high-quality visuals of caves.

Moreover, drones are sent in to estimate the safety level underground. This protects miners from walking right into unfortunate incidents such as explosions and collapses.

3. 3D Printing

More recently, mining companies are making use of 3D printing technology to print replacement parts through the help of first-rate metal powders. The main benefit of incorporating this technology is that companies will no longer have to wait 12 to 18 months for replacement parts to be manufactured.

This underground mining technology allows companies to create parts on demand while avoiding costly downtime. Additionally, parts that are not working to their satisfaction can quickly be replaced with new ones.

4. Geographic Information Systems

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are valuable tools that allow miners to solve pressing issues where location and accessibility are crucial. Spatial database construction and GIS-based spatial analysis are incorporated to manage the drainage systems. This helps promote safety and prevent accidents during mining operations.

With geospatial data software, companies can provide training to mine managers through virtual interpretations of real-life examples.

Technology is becoming essential within most industries at a surprisingly fast rate. It is, undoubtedly, increasing the efficiency in different sectors by offering unmatchable advantages. Underground mining technology has also made great changes in the mining sectors, and with the ever-growing need for efficiency, the techniques are expected to progress with time.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.