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How Is Technology Helping To Create A Safer And More Productive Mining Industry?

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Workers pushing the cart in the mine.

Several different technological advances have, in recent years, seen the world’s mining industry become a safer place. The use of explosives and the unpredictable ways that rock can crack when they are incorrectly placed means there is a strong need for adequate training. This training has up until now consisted of videos and classroom exercises but all that is set to change.

Virtual Reality Blast Walls

A South African company called Simulated Training Solutions created the first Virtual Reality Blast Wall in the world in 2016. The Idea behind it being that it allows trainees to learn how to correctly place explosives by using an electronic ‘spray can’, then they watch how the rock face reacts. It also allows them to see their mistakes. With better training comes a higher level of both safety and productivity and the VR Blast wall serves as the next step in ‘on the job training’ for miners.

Other Tech Changing Mine Operations

It would seem though, that VR is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to new tech being put to use in the mining sector. Worldwide mining giant Rio Tinto has spent the past few years introducing drones as well as autonomous vehicles such as trucks and drills to their mines in Australia.

The drones are used for all manner of tasks in high or hard to reach areas. They are able to film the blasts, check equipment for damage and assess the terrain. Meanwhile the use of automated trucks and drills is having a massive effect on productivity as one engineer can now control more than one drill at a time.

Safer And More Productive

With these pieces of tech taking the place of human workers, there is far less risk in what can be an incredibly dangerous line of work. But safety is just one benefit; another is the rise in productivity. With automated drills able to provide ‘near real-time’ data that can better decisions made in the moment and drones providing high definition footage of the blasts, it would seem that the mining industry is yet to see the full potential of this new tech. What other technologies can help the mining industry? the future is looking promising

 

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