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With the decline of ore deposits, the rising global demand for production, and the push for environmental sustainability, the mining industry is turning to innovative and new solutions to combat the ever-growing challenges.
If we’re to see a positive future in mining, these innovative solutions need to adopt new ways of extraction, whilst keeping environmental damage down and improving onsite efficiency. The good news is, there are a number of technicians, researchers, and innovators on the job, and their efforts have made massive strides across the whole mining sector. There has been a significant shift in recent years to implementing innovation masts. In this blog, we’ll explore what innovation masts are and what they mean for the future of mining in Australia.
What exactly are innovation masts?
Innovation masts, or innomasts, are testing facilities across Australia that experiment with new mining equipment, digital technologies, and mining operations. Technicians and innovators can test new technologies before implementing them throughout the industry, potentially avoiding damaging financial costs and operational inefficiencies on mine sites. These testing facilities are crucial in ensuring the success of new technologies before they are introduced to the mining sector.
Currently established new technologies and solutions
We’ve seen a meteoric rise in employing technologies across the ever-changing and evolving mining industry. Let’s quickly explore some of the most notable new technologies that are shaping the future of mining in Australia.
Autonomous technologies, powered by machine learning and artificial intelligence interfaces, can improve mine site efficiency and safety. These technologies use AI to help eliminate situations in which human error might come into play, as well as streamline operations. The AI is able to communicate with other AI machinery on site, allowing it to adapt to and solve problems.
For example, AI haulage trucks map out the best and most efficient path across the site and plan it with the other trucks. If there were to be an incident, or a truck was to get in another’s way due to a breakdown or malfunction, this data is shared across the grid to the other technologies, and they’ll act accordingly. They might stop in their path, or navigate around the situation if it was safe to do so. This removes the human error factor, as the technology implemented is highly accurate and efficient
Virtual reality simulations
There’s no doubt mining professionals need to always be switched on and aware of any potential risks and dangers. Minesites are notoriously dangerous places and it’s imperative all workers are trained and competent enough to work on site. If one person does the wrong thing or doesn’t understand the correct procedures, it can put the lives of others in danger. With the use of virtual reality, new workers are able to train safely and more immersively than ever before. The best way to train someone is to let them experience it first-hand, and virtual reality is able to do exactly that. It simulates potential hazards and teaches your workers the best practice in any given situation.
Mapping and surveillance
Thanks to drones, mapping and surveillance have come a long way. Large-scale sites and hard-to-reach locations that were once impossible to reach are now readily accessible. This means that dangerous locations containing deposits are now more easily mapped. This technology improves safety and helps to identify and extract previously unobtainable deposits.
Innovation mast predictions
Now that we have explored a few technologies that have recently been implemented in the mining industry, let’s take a quick look at what future opportunities bring.
The industry is moving toward an environmentally and economically sustainable future. This means a couple of things will change, such as the way resources are being extracted, sites are operated, and how much power is used. It’s important to note, while this could be the future of mining, the Australian mining industry won’t turn eco-friendly overnight. Due to the global demand for minerals, not to mention the sheer scale of the task – Australia’s economy wouldn’t be able to handle it.
There is, however, an ongoing shift to more sustainable power solutions, such as wind and solar, as well as new material extraction methods. The impact mining has on the landscape is clear, but Australian mining companies are looking to improve their environmental footprint. One priority is revegetation and reforestation projects. Fill and obsolete materials are being used to restore the damaged landscape. By using soils, fertilisers and seeds, the local wildlife can rehabilitate and repopulate the area. Another way is by reopening closed-down mine sites. With new extraction methods old mine sites can be recommissioned and previously unobtainable deposits can be reconsidered.
Look to new mining solutions with MTGA
We at MTGA are industry-leading experts in implementing new technologies and solutions for mine sites. We are able to easily employ technologies like autonomy, innomasts, and communication solutions for any site. We strive to make mining sites across Western Australia more efficient, economical and safe for everyone involved. Give us a call today on 08 9415 0748 or an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.