CASE STUDY

Mining

In 2018, Robotics Centre was introduced to the underground Sublevel Stoping Mining Method utilized by many larger scale gold mining operations in the Nevada regions and around the world. The method is based on the principle of blasting out large stopes (i.e. cavities) of the ore body, which are then backfilled to maximize recovery of the ore body through adjacent stoping. Drifts are created through the ore body to enable the mining of stopes between sublevels.

Cost savings utilizing this mining method may be achieved through increased mechanization overall, increased accuracy of measurement technicques for data modeling used in the ongoing development sequence (drift, stope, and fill) of the ore body, and increased validation of ore recovery post blast prior to fill. Subsequently, increased mechanization also provides a safer work environment as worker exposure to dangers at the working face is limited.

Collecting high quality data from a stope post-blast is extremely important; however, this a task made extremely challenging due to the fact that a blasted stope is all unsupported ground. This makes a stope far too dangerous for any personnel to enter. Traditional techniques for collecting data in stopes involves Cavity Monitoring Systems (CMS), which unfortunately leave a lot to be desired in terms of complete 3D imaging in dangerous and inaccessible cavities. Traditional CMS technologies are boom-mounted and simply extended into a stope; often missing crucial information. The effects of data gaps are not only negative from a financial perspective but can also lead to loss of life. Post-blast data provides important insight in terms of:

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Ensuring complete blast detonation,

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Ensuring proper stope formation,

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Detecting areas of a stope at risk of collapse,

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Ensuring complete ore body collection,

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Collecting 3D stope imaging for proper integration into existing mine models, and more.

Travelling to to the Nevada region, Robotics Centre gained hands on experience and exposure to the Sublevel Mining Method and were tasked with the challenge of increasing cost savings with the introduction of robotics fuelled data collection in stopes.

your data

Robotics Centre began experimenting with Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) solutions incorporating an Unmanned Aerial Vehicale (UAV) with LiDAR. Although data results proved very promising, it became clear that manually piloting a UAV underground in dark and dusty environments, with no GPS assistance, is very challenging to even the most seasoned pilots. Expecting a surveyor to do so was not realistic; and hence began Robotics Centre’s journey into autonomous UAV operation in GPS-denied environments.

Robotics Centre began experimenting with Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) solutions incorporating an Unmanned Aerial Vehicale (UAV) with LiDAR. Although data results proved very promising, it became clear that manually piloting a UAV underground in dark and dusty environments, with no GPS assistance, is very challenging to even the most seasoned pilots. Expecting a surveyor to do so was not realistic; and hence began Robotics Centre’s journey into autonomous UAV operation in GPS-denied environments.

2019

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Robotics Centre began working with Exyn Technologies; a US-based spin-off of the GRASP Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania; specializing in autonomous flight and aerial robotics.

True autonomous operation implies a robot’s ability to be context-aware and plan and execute missions in real-time with only high-level instruction, such as the video below, where the only instruction given to the UAV powered by Exyn Technology is to reach a set of two waypoints. How to reach that goal is up to the UAV.

View Video

2019

Robotics Centre began working with Exyn Technologies; a US-based spin-off of the GRASP Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania; specializing in autonomous flight and aerial robotics.

True autonomous operation implies a robot’s ability to be context-aware and plan and execute missions in real-time with only high-level instruction, such as the video below, where the only instruction given to the UAV powered by Exyn Technology is to reach a set of two waypoints. How to reach that goal is up to the UAV.

View Video

2020

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Returning to Nevada, Robotics Centre puts the solution into operational trial, obtaining positive feedback with respect to:

  • Reduced time and resources to complete stope imaging
  • Seamless workflow integration and post processing for usability in mine data management software
  • High quality and complete 3D imaging of stopes for successful planning to compliance
    5-10% more data acquisition, even when significantly subsampling results
  • Ease of Use
  • Strong user interface, real-time data modeling, and push button deployment
  • Strong potential for new use-case development such as convergence monitoring

2020

Returning to Nevada, Robotics Centre puts the solution into operational trial, obtaining positive feedback with respect to:

  • Reduced time and resources to complete stope imaging
  • Seamless workflow integration and post processing for usability in mine data management software
  • High quality and complete 3D imaging of stopes for successful planning to compliance
    5-10% more data acquisition, even when significantly subsampling results
  • Ease of Use
  • Strong user interface, real-time data modeling, and push button deployment
  • Strong potential for new use-case development such as convergence monitoring