11 July 2019
The Latest Trends in Mining Technology
How can new technology change how we see mining?
The latest technology trends in mining indicate a compelling industry shift towards sustainability. Digital technology works harder than ever to deliver a truly modern, safe, and productive mine that addresses the increased demand for mined materials, while at the same time exceeding customer expectations and global sustainability initiatives.
Here are some of the mining industry’s latest technological innovations:
1. Spatial data visualisation
Mining is experiencing an exciting shift, thanks to spatial (or geospatial) data. Spatial data is becoming more detailed and clearer than ever:
- Three-dimensional (3D) Modelling creates a viewable, life-like impression with depth perception that allows the human brain to understand and relate to complex interrelated issues. 3D modelling supports firms by reimagining the mine more efficiently.
- Virtual Reality (VR) is an artificially-created software environment that uses real-life data. The virtual environment immerses people into a user-created 3-D environment. VR presents an enhanced impression to help miners experience what it’s like working in a mine or planning a new mine without being out in the field.
- Augmented Reality (AR) overlays a digital visualization onto a real-world environment. AR accomplishes this by enhancing the user’s visual field with computer-generated inputs such as sound, video, applications, and graphics. Miners use augmented reality to train using virtual simulators, which also helps the industry reduce equipment maintenance costs.
By using new technology like spatial data effectively, the mining industry gains insights into mine systems at a reduced cost and impact on the environment. The mining industry is steadily moving toward a future where it’s possible to virtually construct and deconstruct buildings, plants, mines, and all associated infrastructure before even breaking ground to create a truly intelligent mine.
2. Geographic information systems
Geographic information systems (GIS) are an integral tool that allows a deeper look at how geographic relationships influence the world around us. With the help of GIS, miners are able to solve real-life issues where location and accessibility are critical.
Geospatial data represents an object’s location, size, and shape. By visualising this kind of data, miners gain more insight into the represented system or mine environment. GIS is used to gain insight into the following:
- Mineral exploration
- Geochemical and hydrology data
- Report generation
- Facility and tailings management
- Sustainability and regulatory compliance
When mining today, geospatial data software allows us to train mine managers and employees in new ways, and improve long-term understanding of mining with virtual interpretations of real-life environments.