Tag Archives: stockpile monitoring

Drones continue to make mining activities safer, Anglo American says

Anglo American, in its 2018 annual report, says its use of drones for safety, surveying and security is continuing to expand as it looks to remote-control more of its mining activities.

The company has used drones attached to manned aerial-reconnaissance planes for many years and, today, considers itself an industry leader when it comes to drone use.

Anglo said it has an expanding fleet of drones, from fixed-wing aircraft to quadcopters, with about 50 skilled operators and another 30 people working in drone maintenance across the group. This is spread across its platinum group metal operations in South Africa, the Kumba iron ore mines (also in South Africa), and at De Beers diamond asset sites in Canada, Namibia and South Africa.

“Drones are an important part of our drive to remote-control many of our mining activities while gathering enhanced data and real-time operational performance metrics,” Anglo said. “They provide rapid visual access and multiple views, with smaller drones being used to inspect confined spaces on mines and in processing plants, while bigger aircraft are able to fly at night and stay aloft for up to eight hours.”

Drones are being used in varied tasks such as exploration, mine mapping and calculating the volume of stockpiles, Anglo said, adding that they are proving to be cost effective.

“The deployment of drones is assisting in making our activities safer. Crucially, their use avoids the need for people in potentially hazardous areas,” the company said.

Drones are now being used to inspect and monitor high-risk areas, including stockpiles, mine slopes, ore passes, tailings dams and chemical-storage facilities, Anglo said. They can check for the presence of personnel in a blast area, and measure fragmentation or the direction of dust movement after a blast. By employing them in such applications, it removes the possibility of Anglo personnel entering dangerous areas.

Other applications the company is using them on include traffic management at operations, as well as monitoring rehabilitation activity, including in areas where it can be difficult and risky for people on the ground to gain access.

Frans Kruger, Anglo American’s Global Aviation Safety Principal, said: “Drones increase our safety and efficiency, and they let us take human beings out of potentially dangerous environments.”

Anglo concluded: “Drone technology is evolving fast and, as a responsible operator, we are working closely with other drone operators and South Africa’s Civil Aviation Authority, for example, to develop appropriate standards, while also serving with other mining companies on the technical advisory committee of the Flight Safety Foundation.”

Airobotics raises more funds as it looks for further autonomous drone growth

One month on from launching its North American headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona, automated drone startup Airobotics has announced a $30 million fundraising plan.

The M Series D round of funding, led by Pavilion Capital, will bring its total capital raised to $101 million.

The new round of funding will be used to further scale Airobotics operations in the US and Australia, plus to continue servicing the mining industry and other industrial facilities globally, Airobotics said.

Ran Krauss, CEO and Co-Founder of Airobotics, said: “We have a strong business pipeline and, to keep up with demand for our technology, we are continuing to expand operations across the countries in which we operate, specifically our new headquarters in the US.

“Additionally, the new funding will drive our continuous work with Aviation Authorities to obtain BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) Certificate of Waiver in every geography we operate in, including in the US.”

Airobotics is the first and only drone solution worldwide certified to fly without a human operator.

Drone specialists Kespry and DJI combine forces to improve stockpile monitoring

Kespry and DJI are pooling resources to offer the DJI Mavic 2 Pro drone as part of the Kespry stockpile measurement solution for mining and aggregates companies.

“This solution delivers the unique Kespry autonomous flight and aerial intelligence experience for stockpile measurement using a DJI drone,” according to Kespry.

“Adding this affordable, powerful and portable solution will enable large aggregates and mining companies to standardise and capture stockpile data across all their sites in the Kespry platform, while continuing to use the high-accuracy Kespry 2 drones to support mine and site planning operations.”

Integration of data captured from a DJI drone is the next innovation in the development of the Kespry industrial sensor platform, according to the company.

To date, Kespry has built a customer base of more than 200 mining and aggregates companies by providing drones for more accurate, easier to use, and safer ways to provide inventory management and mine planning data.

“As these customers scale their use of drone data, they are looking to standardise on a single platform to organise and analyse that data across sites, geographies, and product divisions – even when those sites are highly distributed,” Kespry says.

The addition of the DJI Mavic 2 Pro to the Kespry lineup is designed to enable even more site data to be centralised in the Kespry cloud.

George Mathew, CEO and Chairman of Kespry, said: “Drone data is now the standard approach for measuring stockpiles at mine sites, however, millions of dollars are wasted through reconciling inconsistent data from different platforms and the time involved getting that data ready for analysis.”

“Our goal with the addition of the Mavic 2 Pro to our solution is to respond to our customers wishing to use the Kespry aerial intelligence platform across all mine sites to standardise how stockpile data is generated – lowering their costs and helping drive the profitability of every site.”

Jan Gasparic, Director of Strategic Partnerships at DJI, said: “Pairing the Mavic 2 Pro with Kespry’s industry-leading AI, ML, and analytics capabilities will be of enormous benefit to mining companies that are looking to take advantage of drone technology in a portable and powerful package.”

The integration of DJI’s drone and sensors into the Kespry platform is the latest innovation in the delivery of an industrial sensor network, closely following Kespry’s recently-announced high-resolution thermal capabilities for industrial inspection.

The Kespry platform is now capable of processing and analysing a wide range of sensor data, enabling the future creation of industry-specific applications, including those under current development with leaders in the energy sector.

Kespry is offering the Mavic 2 Pro as part of its fully-managed, end-to-end annual subscription model. Kespry customers that choose the Mavic 2 Pro for stockpile measurement will benefit from the full Kespry experience, including its support, training, customer success team, and drone up-time guarantee.

The Kespry stockpile measurement solution with DJI will be available in the first quarter of next year.