Robotics; mining

Indispensable tools for the future of mining

In its upcoming report, Thematic Research: Robotics in Mining, GlobalData says robotic technology is indispensable for any mining company that wants to be competitive. The three common goals of mining companies – safety, productivity and sustainability – can be supported by automated deployment. It is a growing market: The industrial robotics segment has revenue of $14.6 billion in 2020, and is expected to reach $352.1 billion by 2030. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) during this decade will be 37.5%.


A surefire way to improve safety is to keep human workers away from dangerous areas. Alternatively, drilling rigs can be operated and supervised remotely, rather than on site. Transport can be done without human drivers, tasks can be done underground without a human presence, and inspection of high walls or underwater areas can be done by drones, Land Rover, and underwater robots.

In the horse West nickel mine in 2018, a dangerously pressurized underground water pipe was discovered in a drilling pit. BHP has hired robotics expertise at Woodside University and Deakin, as well as staff from the University of Texas, Clearpath and NASA. The robot was remotely guided through the tunnel and up the tube. The tube was successfully cut and a human team entered to retrieve the robot. The high-risk operation would have been more dangerous, and perhaps less successful, had it not been for the robotic equipment and ability to operate it from a safe distance. It also simplified the whole process; There was less than two weeks between the discovery of the problem and its resolution.


Productivity is also improved, mainly because robotic technology is more accurate, reliable and sustainable than human labor. Drills can follow specific boring patterns and calculate the optimal amount of explosive needed to fill. Transport trucks can drive without stopping due to breaks or personnel changes, and underground mining can be done without waiting for the smoke from the explosions to clear.

On June 21, 2022, Rio Tinto He opened his most technologically advanced mine to date. Gudai-Darri is an iron ore mine in the Pilbara region of Australia. Since the expected life is 40 years and the expected annual volume is 43 million tons, it makes sense to install the best possible technology. The Iron Ore CEO said, “Gudai-Darri marks a step-change in the deployment of automation and automation in our iron ore business.” As a result, Rio Tinto collaborated with Larva To develop new autonomous water vehicles. Carts will be used to put out dust. Their sensors automatically assess road dryness and water usage, and the data they collect will enable operators to monitor and improve water usage.


The main contribution of robotics to the sustainability of the mine is to reduce energy expenditure. Remotely operated and automated vehicles consume much less fuel, since their operation requires much less stopping and starting. Modern robotic technology uses batteries, rather than fossil fuels, for power.

The EU-funded UNEXMiN program uses robot technology to explore closed and submerged mines with robots for precious metals. Obtaining minerals and minerals from existing sites involves much less environmental disruption than opening new mines, but they are extremely difficult to explore. The UX-1 robot, first deployed in Slovenia in December 2018, uses hyperspectral cameras to identify minerals under dark, dark water. It was used for “Non-Invasive Independent 3D Mine Mapping”.

Make a robot

With this in mind, bots seem to be a win-win for mining companies.

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