Remotely piloted drones and other unmanned aerial systems have many essential uses in the mining industry. These technologies improve mine site efficiency and quarry management by providing accurate site condition data. They are often used to surveil and map out areas, measure inventory, create tune-lapse operation records, and manage business assets.

Other typical applications of drones in mining include:

  • Safety management: Drones collect visual data of hazardous areas with deep or high terrain to reduce the risk of exposure to these dangers.
  • Surveilling and mapping: Miners use drones to take images of open-pit mines and quarries. Then, they use photogrammetry software to generate 3D renderings with these images, which companies often use to make realistic topographical maps, digital terrain models, and more to monitor site changes over time.
  • Stockpile management: Stockpiles create complications for mining companies due to their changing areas and heights, making it challenging to estimate their volume. Drones resolve this issue by flying over stockpiles and using advanced software to generate calculations, models, and measurements.
  • Tailings dam management: Mining companies often use drones to accurately measure tailings dams instead of surveilling them manually to ensure structural integrity.
  • Drilling and blasting: With drones, companies can create 3D surface models and reconstructions of areas they’re preparing to blast or drill. Afterward, they can use photometry and thermal imaging software to ensure there are no hazardous material shifts and compare surveys to improve planning for future blasts.