The Noamundi iron-ore mine (NIM), part of the ore, mines and quarries (OMQ) division of Tata Steel, has executed a pilot launch of drone applications in mine monitoring (DAMM).
With this, NIM has become the first mine in India to introduce drones for mine monitoring.
The objective of this application at Noamundi is surveillance of the mining area, lease boundary inspection, inspection of the safety zone, counting vegetation in the reclaimed area and quarry and dump profiling for volume calculations. This DAMM trial at NIM is being conducted by Skylark Drones, a firm based in Bengaluru, India that specialises in drone applications in various industries.
Tata Steel’s OMQ division aims to work smarter and use innovations like autonomous vehicles, internet of things (IoT), big data, analytics, remote control centres, and predictive maintenance with prime focus on safety. As a part of mine automation, DAMM is expected to further help to achieve multiple benefits ranging from initial surveying to carrying out exploration activity, physical terrain mapping for segregation of land use, mapping of the forest area, contour mapping, 3-D modelling and detrital terrain modelling for effective mine planning, volumetric analysis of extractions, and reclamation studies using LiDAR ortho-photography, thereby ensuring safety and security within the leasehold area.
Balvinder Kumar, IAS, Secretary, Ministry of Mines in the Government of India, who launched the programme, said: “We have initiated mining surveillance system using space technology along with a mobile app. This will help in stopping illegal mining, monitoring mining plan, production, dispatch and royalty payment. We requested Tata Steel to demonstrate it in Noamundi iron mine.”
Rajeev Singhal, vice president (raw materials) at Tata Steel, commented: “It is a proud moment for all of us. Tata Steel has embarked on the digital journey to leverage benefits of the latest changes in this field. We are trying to keep pace with the global trends of digitalisation in mining industry and this is a step towards that. This technology of mine monitoring through drone will help us to address adequately any bottleneck on the ground with responsive mine administration.”
Pankaj Satija, general manager (OMQ) at Tata Steel, stated: “This is one of the initiatives towards being digital. It will be useful for mine monitoring, environment monitoring, lease boundary inspection, reclamation and rehabilitation also.”