In 1712, a tin mine in Cornwall needed an efficient way to pump water. In order to help the miners work more effectively, Thomas Newcomen and his associates would create the first steam-powered engine. Mining has a great history of design and development with new innovations in mining happening every day. Some of these innovations have gone on to change the world as we know it and some of them simply help the mining industry become the best it can be.
Recent New Innovations in Mining
Check out these new innovations in mining and mining rigging that have happened recently and over the past few years!
Mining sites have always been known to be a safety risk for their workers. In an ever-growing technology climate, replacing some jobs with automation was an inevitable solution for safety. Today automation helps modernize a mining site in a number of different ways.
- Overall Site Automation – When you connect the automation around a site, you can create calculations on how to work more efficiently overall. If one sector of a mining site is going to fast and affecting another, you can mathematically see it when using automated tools.
- Rail System Automation – Rio Tinto offers automated railways to quickly and safely move ore around a site. From extraction to processing automotive railways help make mining more of a breeze.
- Tunnel Borer Automation – When you dig tunnels with automation, you are not only getting a more precise dig are also keeping miner out of the way in case of stability risks. Automating the digging also adds speed and efficiency to a dig, making for cheaper overhead costs.
One of the number one reasons automation is so amazing is because of the safety it gives to the miners, traversing areas that might be unstable before a human does. However, there have been many innovations in personal safety as well.
- Personal Tracking Devices – SmartCap is a helmet that’s been made to keep track of a miner’s whereabouts and measures their alertness. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags can be pinned to miner’s clothing. These tags emit a radio frequency that allows tracking in real-time underground.
- Safety Equipment – Centennial Coal has introduced a mining boot that offers personalized sole stability and ankle support as well as waterproofing.
- Microseismic Monitoring – With the blasts and settling that happens when mining, there is always the chance of microquakes and cave-ins. With microseismic monitoring, systems are put into place to locate issues to gauge their severity.
- Drones – What’s safer for a work environment than using robots to check out dangerous locations and relay data? Drones have been very helpful in creating opportunities to share data when it’s just too risky to send in a person.
Innovations like these help keep miners safe and sound when working in regular and dangerous conditions.
Alternative energy equipment
Because of the amount of manpower needed at a dig site, energy conservation isn’t an easy task. However many companies are still working to do their part to help be more environmentally friendly.
- Electric Vehicles – Caterpiller’s underground mining group and a host of other smaller companies, have begun to develop all-electric vehicles for use on sites. No longer using diesel-powered alternatives through the use of underground electrics allows for saving money, the environment, and workers’ health.
- Solar and Gas – Harmony Gold has started to embrace solar power for their electrical needs and is heading a program to use mining land to create natural gasses as another form of alternative energy.
- X-Ray Diffraction – Copper NuWave has become an alternative eco-friend way to consume ore. Used in Utah, Copper NuWave uses microwaves to test an ore deposit for content. It then discards worthless ore so that a project doesn’t have to waste time and resources mining.
Efficient preparation and execution
Preparing for a mining operation is a long and tedious task. Many aspects go into the plan for a site. How will it be dug and who will be employed to work there are just a few aspects. This is one area where new innovations in mining have really had an effect.
- Three Dimensional Mapping – 3D laser mapping uses lasers to scan an area for the richest veins and allows planners to predetermine the best ways to get to them. Three-dimensional mapping also allows for monitoring the whereabouts of miners while on the site.
- X-Ray Diffraction – The previously discussed Copper NuWave also allows sites to determine which ore veins are rich and which ones are not. The company ALROSA, has used x-ray luminescence to uncover some of the largest diamonds in the world; something they may not have been able to do before without planning.
- Mining Simulation – In order to have a safe and efficient dig, miners need to be trained. What better way to do that than with virtual reality mining simulators? Simulations introduce miners to a worksite before it’s been opened. When given simulated encounters they may have during their shift, they can learn how to deal with them. This can measure and train them in the alertness they need to get the job done.
- Underground Communications – Barrick Gold operates in Nevada and relies on underground wireless communication to function properly. It uses Skype-type telephones to not only communicate with other employees but to transfer data. This allows data about usage and maintenance to efficiently be transferred to teams above ground.
With these innovations made for efficiency, sites can really improve hours spent communicating information and get back to work.
Mining Innovations in Las Vegas, NV
Innovations come from people who are willing to try out new ideas. Here at Silver State Wire Rope and Rigging, we pride ourselves on being innovative in the wire rope and rigging industry. We’ve created invisible wires for performers, hoisting plans for high-rise hotels, and right now, we’re working to help innovate mining rigging. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help be innovative on your site and possibly help save you money while keeping your workers safe!