The company added the drones after it conducted testing at its openpit operations in the Krasnoyarsk and Buryatia regions and analysed the accuracy and detail of the obtained 3D terrain models.
The company established an aerial surveying office in 2018. The office now has two Russian-made units for capturing aerial photographs from up to 1 kilometre altitude. The drones have flight durations of 2.5 and 4 hours, respectively.
The fleet also includes four compact DJI drones with a GNSS receiver, allowing the company to receive and process signals from any navigation satellite system, allowing surveyors to identify UAVs during aerial photography.
SUEK said the drones will help it with a wide range of needs for open-pit mines, including size evaluations for coal storage facilities, monitoring hazardous situations and updating topographic plans of work areas. They can also monitor the use of company land, reclamation, demolition control in buffer zones and property stock-taking.
Technical director Anatoly Meshkov said: "We can now remotely control mining operations at almost any point and build digital enterprise models. Essentially, this is another step towards creating a 'digital underground mine' and a 'digital openpit mine' to obtain the maximum amount of data for highly efficient management of coal production processes."
Some of SUEK's operations include Altai, Buryatia, Kemerovo, Khabarovsk, Primorye and Tuva. Construction at Kuzbass began in November 2018.