IS MINE AUTOMATION A REALITY?

What is the future of mines and the mining industry? Will it go the way of the robot as we have seen happen in many other industries? Let’s take a look.

AUTOMATION – THE WAVE OF THE FUTURE

Looking at industry trends and investments, it seems as though mine automation is the wave of the future. Since 2007, the Automated Centre for Field Robotics at the University of Sydney has invested in a research centre aimed at exploring innovative ideas to automate the mining industry. Similarly, many companies that specialise in technology and heavy equipment are also investing and exploring the technology as well.From their perspective, there are several benefits to the use of mining robots and automation software, such as:

  • Reduction in mining accidents and risk to human labour
  • Increased efficiency in the mining process
  • Reduced costs related to human labour

While exploring this idea, it should be said that not only is mining automation the wave of the future, it’s already happening today. There are currently driverless trucks, trains and drills being utilised at some mills and mines, even here in Australia. Using them on-site has proven to increase productivity and improve discovery and processing.

Mine safety is a big factor in the equation. The Department of Mines has reported that over the past 12 years, 52 miners have died as a result of fatigue and inexperience. Putting automation in place has the potential to reduce such risks.

Mine Automation

From the perspective of mine owners, the use of machines has the potential to improve efficiency. Unlike human labour, machinery does not need breaks for lunch and to sleep. This has the potential for continuous labour, without the risk of fatigue.

While the benefits are obvious for mine owners, questions remain about the future for on-site labourers. While some suggest that they can be up-skilled to work in control rooms, others fear the jobs of controlling the machinery on the mine could be shipped off-site.

As the future of mining continues to evolve, continue to look towards equipment companies like Resolute Equipment to stock and carry the latest and reconditioned equipment and parts and stay at the forefront of the discussion on mining automation.

Resolute Equipment is a national supplier of equipment and parts to the mining and construction industries. We stock many major brands like CAT, Komatsu and Hitachi as well as OEM and other branded products. The equipment available includes new and reconditioned engines, parts and machinery. Because we are always updating our existing product range of parts and attachments, if you can’t find the product you’re looking for on the list, contact us directly and we’ll find it for you.