Underground mine scanning technology is still in its infancy, but the potential applications make us excited about its future in the mining industry. When mobile mapping technology becomes a day-to-day reality in mines throughout the world, it will unlock opportunities for unmanned survey vehicles, as well as autonomous fleets. Here are a few predictions that may be the reality of underground mining in the not-too-distant future:
- Improved Safety –Advances in underground mine scanning technology could reduce the mining industry’s reliance on manpower. As it develops further, mine sites will require fewer workers to perform day-to-day tasks, such as surveying. Ultimately, this will result in minimal human exposure to hazardous environments and a safer workplace overall.
- Mine Rover concept – Combining technology such as a localization-enabled uGPS Rapid Mapper™ unit with a semi-autonomous or teleremote robotic mobile platform, a connectivity solution, and other sensors such as mobile gas detection, it is conceivable to produce a ‘mine rover’ that could be used to monitor a variety of environmental conditions and localize/map all at once. Without the requirement of an operator present, this solution could be used to access hostile and hazardous environments and relay valuable information from a mobile platform.
- Mining Deeper than Ever Before- Humans have only ‘scratched the surface’, so to speak, when it comes to mineral exploration. There is very little information about what might be available at more extreme depths below the earth’s surface. As underground mine scanning technology becomes more advanced, operators will be given the ability to scan in areas unsuitable for human presence (excessive heat, poor air quality, etc.) at unprecedented depths. Such exploration endeavors will eventually become the last available means for replenishing global reserves of the minerals/metals that sustain modern society.
Some of these concepts may be difficult to imagine; however, they are likely to become a reality sooner rather than later, thanks to advances in technologies, such as underground mine scanning and mapping. At Peck Tech Consulting Ltd., we are proud to say we remain at the forefront of these developments.