Hexagon’s Mining division has, today, introduced HxGN Underground Mining, an integrated sensor-software portfolio built for the unique challenges of underground environments, at its HxGN LIVE Global 2023 event in Las Vegas.
Featuring what it says are robust systems for collision avoidance, drill optimisation and production planning, the new portfolio helps mines to achieve the best results while protecting drivers, pedestrians and equipment in the most demanding environments.
For Hexagon’s Mining division, meanwhile, it enables the company to further diversify its revenue stream, which is currently skewed towards the open-pit mining sector.
Hexagon says today’s announcement responds to industry demand as more mines push deeper beneath the surface for deposits and face ever more complex conditions. The aim is to provide mines transitioning from open-pit to underground operations – or those mining orebodies from surface and underground simultaneously – with a holistic solution for the life of mine.
HxGN Underground Mining, the company says, effectively creates a seamless technology transition from open pit to underground mining. Its safety suite, for example, leverages collision avoidance and operator alertness systems proven in more than 40,000 vehicles worldwide in open-pit environments.
Similar integration is at work in the portfolio’s operations suite, which helps mine operators and supervisors to manage underground fleet equipment and to optimise production in real time via a dynamic activity scheduler and fleet management system (HxGN MineOperate UG Pro fleet management system). Engineers, via the HxGN MinePlan Underground Engineering product, can avoid flawed mining processes and minimise downtime by using 3D visualisation, and CAD tools to create mine designs and activity-based schedules, the company says.
The portfolio’s optimisation software for production and development enables mines to achieve consistent blasting outcomes with high-precision drilling and optimal set-up processes. The company added to this portfolio recently with the incorporation of Minnovare. The Australia-based company has established four solutions – The Azimuth Aligner, Development Optimiser™, Production Optimiser™ and Minnovare Core – to improve the speed, cost and accuracy of underground drilling.
Beyond benefitting business, better drilling practices are good for the planet, reducing CO2 emissions and supporting sustainability goals, Mateus Quintela, Hexagon’s Head of Product, Underground Mining, said.
“We know mines are looking for ways to mine smarter, safer and in more environmentally and socially conscious ways,” Quintela says.
“HxGN Underground Mining will help our customers answer this search by increasing the efficiency of machines and miners throughout the operation. Well-choreographed scheduling will minimise the downtime of working areas, like headings and stopes, and there’s a real opportunity to reduce diesel emissions through better truck-to-loader planning.
“Perhaps most importantly, our new portfolio offers ways to ensure operators and supervisors are capturing and using safety data, so whether above ground or below it, everyone gets home safely.”