Keeping Track of Mining Operations
The widespread adoption of Global Positioning System (GPS) technology in the mining industry has increased the efficiency of mining operations, providing numerous key advantages for mine operators. In addition to gaining access to more accurate location-based data as a key application of GPS in mining, GPS technology can be integrated into the business in several ways to impact open-pit mining operations and boost your bottom line.
Here are five key aspects of mining that heavily benefit from real-time positioning and tracking technology courtesy of a GPS asset tracking system from Geoforce.
1. Drilling guidance for higher accuracy
Drilling operations play a crucial role in open-pit mining but require intensive planning to execute properly. In a capital-intensive industry like mining, various factors have to be balanced before drilling can begin. Drilling needs to happen to find mineable materials as quickly as possible as labor and operating costs pile up. Meanwhile, suitable conditions have to be created to secure the equipment and ensure the safety of all mining personnel.
One major application of GPS in mining is to provide guidance to drills during operations. GPS-based blasthole drill systems eliminate the need for a manual survey of the mine while giving control and guidance when navigating the drill rig for increased safety, accuracy, and productivity of drilling and piling operations.
2. Efficient fleet management
Another application of GPS is better fleet management. Fleet management vehicles such as trucks, graders, bulldozers, and loaders are mounted with GPS trackers for real-time tracking, monitoring, and mining equipment utilization data.
Through these trackers and their associated data, the central control station will gain access to the precise locations of all equipment at all times. This gives dispatchers access to helpful information during scheduling and planning while also addressing pressing equipment needs whenever they arise across all facets of the operation.
With greater visibility over the worksite, dispatchers and mine operators will make more timely, informed decisions to support mining operations more efficiently. Some companies use this increased visibility to limit equipment hoarding in certain areas of their worksites and better account for proactive maintenance during less busy cycles.
3. Mapping and surveying
Mapping and surveying are crucial in mining as they help minimize the risk of investing in geological areas with insufficient resources to justify digging. When surveying mining locations, surveyors look for signs of mineral deposits with high concentrations of ores, increasing the potential returns of mining operations.
With the use of satellite-based location tracking during geological surveys, surveyors are able to obtain more accurate and precise location data on potentially lucrative mining locations. This is possible through the acquisition of the exact coordinates of digging sites while minimizing the risk posed by staying in vulnerable areas.
Furthermore, GPS technology doesn’t rely on line-of-sight and can be used regardless of weather conditions. This paves the way for the acquisition of accurate and reliable location data.
4. Enhanced on site safety and security
Mine sites are challenged with many safety hazards, and the potential for injury or death is always present. However, the adoption of GPS technology can help alleviate many concerns surrounding the safety and welfare of workers inside the mining site.
While a GPS productivity tracker for equipment can be used to increase efficiency, it can also be used to decrease the risk faced by workers on the ground. Through these trackers, you can record and track the activities of personnel operating heavy equipment. This enables you to identify potentially risky behavior and implement swift corrective actions to eliminate that risk.
The GPS productivity tracker for equipment can also be used in conjunction with useful applications programmed to warn operators of on-site hazards or when assistance is required.
GPS also has geofencing capabilities, allowing mine operators to set virtual perimeters to secure an area when potentially hazardous activities are performed. These include blast zones, no-go zones, emergency areas, and the enforcement of speed limits in some regions of the mine. Once the zones are set up, workers will be notified immediately whenever they enter a zone that poses a risk to their safety, such as when they enter a blast zone.
5. Better asset tracking
Using GPS technology, mining operators are able to obtain an accurate picture of the usage of assets and equipment during each operation. You can visualize the information on a custom map, allowing you to see more clearly which assets are currently in use and which ones can be dispatched for use in other areas. This way, your assets can be managed more effectively around the worksite reducing idle time and ensuring that your fleet is the correct size for your operations.
Boost mining capabilities
These are just some of the most common applications of GPS tracking technology in the mining industry. These applications can be best supported by companies with GPS tracking devices that are durable, reliable, and flexible to the needs of your business. Companies like Geoforce offer satellite and cellular reporting options so that your data is accessible wherever you do business.
Geoforce was founded in 2007 with the simple belief that the chaos and pain of field operations could be alleviated with technology. Since then, our mission has been to provide our customers and partners with cutting-edge traceability solutions and insights.
Combining a cloud-based software platform with rugged GPS tracking devices and global satellite and cellular networks, Geoforce’s solutions include efficient asset location and retrieval, rental invoice auditing, service delivery verification, inspection compliance, equipment maintenance alerts, and a host of others. We track anything, from tortoises to tankers, and are proud to offer solutions that work in even the most challenging environments.