TORONTO – MINING – Working within the mining industry has never been a safe occupation, particularly if you don’t truly understand the equipment you should be using. Luckily, over the years, the mining industry has been exposed to numerous technological innovations not only to streamline processes but to keep all employees safe too. Essential mining equipment has now been made more efficient with autonomous capabilities and digital processes, so construction can be carried out faster and to a higher standard. Amongst all of this innovation, however, the classic mining truck and standard tools are used, but how have they developed over the years?
Internet Of Things
Commonly known as just IoT, this technology is able to entirely transform the mining industry by enhancing productivity on site while also enforcing more safety and security for all miners. This technology is able to connect machines, fleets, and people with a unique identifier, which is based on radio frequency identification device (RFID) and sensor technologies, but it doesn’t end there. The IoT is also able to speed up mining processes considerably, as it will automatically transfer and receive any data over a network, eliminating the need for arguably slower human-to-human interaction.
No mining would be possible without the capability of drilling, with mining drills being an essential part of equipment within the process, arguably the most common piece in fact. However, while drilling was often an entirely manual process, the introduction of automated drilling means that mining personnel can be kept safe, while also improving efficiency during mining operations. With autonomous drilling, the operator is able to carry out drilling from a remote location without the need to enter the hazardous area, keeping them safe from injury yet still allowing them to drill to an exceptionally high standard.
Blasting tools, crushing equipment, and earth movers are all mining tools that would previously have had to have been operated by a physical entity, but today we are starting to see robotics integrating themselves into the mining industry to improve efficiency even further. While the use of robotics across the industry remains limited presently, they have a huge potential for carrying out multiple tasks on site, including the opportunity to rescue miners! Autonomous Load Hail Dump (LHD) vehicles are already using robotic technology in order to improve the quality and speed of mining processes underground, but only time will tell how far and successful this technology will be.
A large portion of mining is all about extracting valuable, precious metals from the earth’s crust; however plasma technology is able to boost the yield of these precious metals to make the extraction much easier. Metals such as gold, silver, and platinum can be yielded from very complex ores by more than 1000% when using plasma technology, showing the sheer power of this advancement within the industry. In the US, a new radio frequency plasma technology has been used in order to heat complex ores such as nickel and zinc in order to break down the structure and free the metals inside.
There are countless different technologies being brought into the mining industry today, and while the classic, useful tools are still being utilised on a daily basis, they’ve been highly upgraded to ensure they’re easy to use and getting the job done to the best of their ability.