The earth has wonders deep down in it. The essential ores, minerals, fossil fuel, and other nature reserves are found in abundance deep inside the earth’s surface. Underground mining to extract the resources from the layers of earth is quite a technical and difficult task.
The underground mining technology has been evolving day after day and the methods of mining are upgrading to ease the processes. Hard rock mining and soft rock mining are two basic generic terms used in the mining fields to determine the type of underground mining technology being utilized. There are many methods and modules of mining, and the new technologies that are shifting the operations of the mining sector are discussed here.
The use of automated robots is making the technical processes simple and less time-consuming. The use of robotics technology is not yet much introduced in the mining sector, however, the engineers are working to pave the way for robotics to enter the mining field. Robotic procedures are motorized by artificial intelligence and they can achieve a wide range of tasks including blasting, drilling, hauling, loading, bolting mine tops as well as for ore selection and rescuing trapped miners.
Source: Mining Robotics (https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007/978-3-540-30301-5_50)
For underground mining procedures, 3D imagery and visuals play a significant role for the workers to have a deeper and better understanding of inside earth processes. A new technology that is now aiding the miners in three-dimensional imaging is 3D laser scanning. The laser helps to seize spatial data using laser light and allows geologists to shape 3D geological maps combining the surface mapping data. Though 3D laser technology has been in use in several fields for quite a time now, the underground mining sector is new to this technology. It is expected that 3D laser imaging would help mining through mine exploration, mine scheduling, planning and targeting of drill holes, and so on.
Source: Pit Watch (https://pitwatch.org/computer-model-shows-berkeley-pit-butte-mine-tunnels/)
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Internet of Things
Internet of Things doesn’t just apply to the use of internet networking for the completion of mining tasks; rather it is a developing network technology that uses the merging of wireless technologies, micro-electromechanical systems, and the Internet for increasing mine productivity and maintaining mine safety. This technology can improve traceability and discernibility of the whole mining operation being processed and also permits the computers to identify, observe, and judge different facades of mining maneuvers without human interference and to mechanize and advance the preservation and operation of machines.
Source: Mine Safety Journal
Drilling deep down hard surfaces of the earth has been a tough job for the miners. To manage human risk and safety, automated drilling has been introduced in the mining sector. A teleoperated drilling system encompasses an installable operative station on a range of portable platforms associated with the drilling rig wireless networks. This technology allows the workers to perform the drilling tasks from a remote location without personally entering into hazardous areas. Automated drilling also uses a visual screen system to monitor the drilling process.
Plasma technology is another novel technology becoming a part of the mining field. It is used to increase the yield of precious metals like gold, silver, or platinum. Earlier to the use of this technology, these metals were often extracted combined with impurities and their purification posed another expense to the mineworkers. Plasma technology is not only used for expensive metals but for other useful metals like zinc, nickel, copper, and lead as well.
Source: Drilling Contractor
The introduction of a centralized operating system in mining is not a technology but rather a new strategy that is being implemented for operating, monitoring, and controlling the mining from a remote location. The mining companies have sought it over the last some years for improving efficiency, enhancing safety, lessening unpredictability, and for better documentation of performance issues.