The unique point-of-views and highly advanced imaging services a drone can provide make UAVs an ideal match for the mining industry. But, instead of buying the drones themselves, mining companies typically contract other companies to operate drones and collect the necessary data. There is no clear-cut reasoning for this, but perhaps it is due to the sensitive nature of this new technology.
One of the best potential uses for drones in the mining industry is open pit mining. The mining companies find this promising because drones can safely fly up above the open mining pit, and provide a precise, high resolution map in mere minutes.
For example, a drone used at the Las Pelambres mine in Chile was able to reach an altitude of 4,150m above sea level and provide the mine’s executives with precise photos of the mine, as well as a very detailed digital terrain map.
In addition to providing a birds-eye-view of a mining site, drones are also useful because they can fly in close and determine if there is any risk of landslides or collapses. Using drones for this kind of work ensures the safety of the mine workers and can alert the mining company to potential problems.
However, drones do face limitations in the United States as the FAA has banned commercial use of them, which is something that is currently being addressed in the courts. Currently the FAA only allows drones for personal use, they cannot be flown over 400 feet, they must be within eyesight of the controller and they cannot be flown near airports or populated areas. With the huge potential drones have in the mining industry, as well as other industries, it should only be a matter of time before they are approved for use in the US.
CEO DroneLife.com, DroneRacingLife.com, and CMO of Jobfordrones.com. Principle at Spalding Barker Strategies. Has enjoyed working with and around the commercial drone industry for the last 10 years. Attendance and speaker at Industry Events such as Commercial UAV, InterGeo, Interdrone and others. Proud father of two. Enjoys karate, Sherlock Holmes, and interesting things. Subscribe to all things drone at DroneLife here. Email is Harry@dronelife.com. Make Sure that you WhiteList us in your email to make sure you get our Newsletter. Editor1@dronelife.com.