How to Get Accurate Stockpile Measurements in Mining

March 27, 2020

Many radical technological revolutions throughout history can be traced back to mining. For example, the first steam engine was designed to pull water from tin mines. And one of the most significant inventions of the 19th century, dynamite, proved itself indisposable to the industry in the early days of its founding. But the transformative innovations haven’t stopped there: in the 21st century, more and more miners are turning to drone technology to streamline daily operations and assist in one of their most time-consuming tasks, stockpile measurement. With DroneDeploy software, users can accurately measure stockpile volumes and adjust accordingly.


Stockpile Solutions

The amount in your stockpile is where your profit lies. Because of this, it’s crucial to have the most precise, accurate measurement of stockpile volume. Plus, information gathered from this task determines milling schedules - how much more to mine for and how to limit downtime. Previously, these processes were performed manually and estimated using GPS technology and ground surveys. Not only are these time consuming, but they’re also expensive, especially once factoring in how much it costs to keep the mine open for longer than necessary.


These operations can be cut down significantly with a drone, as measurements provided by drone technology provide up-to-the-inch accuracy in a fraction of the time. Combined with GCPs, data can be collected more accurately and more frequently than with physical surveys. Designed explicitly for earthworks, DroneDeploy’s Cut/Fill tool enables mining professionals to easily monitor the elevation change in stockpiles day-to-day with this feature. This information is enhanced with stockpile reports that detail the material and value of your stockpiles in a downloadable PDF format.


Added Benefits

Besides the ease-of-use, employing drones to perform stockpile inspections is much safer than manual surveys. Outside of the physical risk involved, organizations also must account for human error, and the time it takes to walk a site. For a 1400 acre site, this can take up to 24 hours. To subcontract this out, the average cost of such an operation is around $3,000. Drone-based surveys reduce the time needed by 90% and remove the demand for pricey subcontractors.

Site logistics are managed with ease with an all-in-one software system like DroneDeploy. With the standard mapping feature, the equipment can be appropriately placed and accounted for, and hauling routes can be planned in, out, and around the site. In conjunction with design plans, DroneDeploy volume measurements and Cut/Fill tools can be used to make accurate estimates of how much material to blast from a site. These kinds of decisions can be made and recorded in-app and shared across teams and stakeholders with tools like Annotations.

Drones equipped with mapping software spur improvements in safety, time and cost savings, and site management. Measuring stockpiles with drone technology is a quick way to optimize your mining processes. To learn more about how DroneDeploy can help your business, read our Mining eBook or Customer Success Story.

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