As the potential applications of AI continue to increase, AI is set to determine the future of the Mining Industry.
With a majority of mines still using traditional technology, along with the rising need to drive operations deeper underground, easily attainable cost and productivity, driving profits using traditional techniques is proving to be difficult to achieve. As productivity in mining operations around the world continues to decline and as resources become more scarce AI and machine learning methods are now helping to keep these resources flowing, minimizing the risk involved with human life.
AI can help the mining industry by,
Predictive Analysis & Real-time optimization of the shift plan of mining activities for overall mine productivity in case of an unplanned or unwanted event.
Reducing Equipment downtime and predicting in real-time activities that can become bottlenecks.
Finding patterns in events leading to hazards, accidents or fatalities which also enables mine operators to evaluate and understand their safety standards and helping them improvise areas wherein they lack.
Providing useful actionable insights to increase overall efficiency and time management.
Reducing environmental footprint by automatically adjusting ventilation systems using integrated methods significant for energy cost reductions.
The Mining industry has been a laggard in reaping the benefits of digital technologies in general and AI/ ML in particular. The industry is facing severe drawbacks in short term, falling commodity prices are squeezing cash flow & In the long term,
Lower ore grades and longer haul distances due to maturing mines;
Decline in ore-body-replacement rates, and increasing new-mine-development times.
In fact, worldwide the mining operations are as much as 28 percent less productive today than a decade ago—and that’s after adjusting for declining ore grades.
SO, Why should the mining industry use AI techniques now?
Artificial Intelligence and its widespread potential applications has helped mostly all industries significant to our economy. For the mining industry, AI is now shaping its future.
With growing evidence of how AI can help shape the future of the mining industries, here are some ways the mining industry has been benefitted by AI.
IMPROVED PLANNING AND RESOURCE DISCOVERY
The mining process is a highly expensive undertaking. To lower the initial investment, mining companies need to be very precise about where and how they dig. By understanding the terrain they are working with AI techniques precisely map out and predict terrain than a human. An error in mapping the resources itself can cause a loss of billions and billions of dollars. With better predictions comes better planning and a better ROI, through this method of pattern matching, predictive analytics, and even computer vision systems mapping of geological data has never been easier.
QUICK AND PRECISE DECISIONS
A large amount of data processing is involved during the mining process, companies who have not discovered the power of AI still collect data manually or by visual inspection. Using machine learning methods to deliver value by collecting data in real-time and deriving on‐site insightful decisions can streamline the workflow while reducing error—in some cases by orders of magnitude.
A leading North-American mining technology company has deployed the latest generation of sensors to capture real‐time data to identify potential failure planes on rock surfaces, using handheld hardware to analyze rock surfaces and providing the data to the user within minutes. This is done with software that analyzes data 18 times faster than current manual methods, the result is a consistent and radically efficient method for making an accurate and quick assessment of potential risk.
IMPROVED HEALTH AND SAFETY
Whether above or below ground, there are numerous guidelines for occupational safety and health in the mining industry. Today's mines can further advance mine health and safety by using innovative detection technology and personal protective equipment (PPE). AI supports better and faster decision making, which is critical to improving health and safety conditions for frontline mineworkers, reducing their exposure to dangerous situations, and accelerating, Leveraging AI capabilities through training wearable sensors continuously monitoring operational activities to automatically analyze & to spot problematic behavioral help enables mine managers to proactively respond towards the needs of the workers and their productivity to help, utilize their maximum potential reducing risks of hazards concerned with health and safety.
REDUCING ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT
Embedding AI technology in pre‐existing systems is helping the mining industry reduce energy demand and decrease its environmental footprint, It is known to us that Mining in its is destructive and does not have a positive environmental impact. As the concerns regarding environmental factors rise, although it is not completely possible to eliminate the negative environmental impact of mining, it is certainly possible to significantly reduce this impact by managing how resources are extracted, transported, and treated.
Deploying cameras and sensors around mines around the vicinity to being able to monitor excavation, extraction, and general mining activities, keeping tabs on the spread of waste and harmful materials has made it possible to spot patterns of concerns, assisting in better planning, resulting in saving energy and costs.
Mining equipment manufacturers and leading companies are now increasingly making use of AI extract greater value from the industry while also increasing safety and reducing environmental impact. The impact AI is already having is being shown through safer mines, reduced impact on the environment, improved economics and profitability, and increased extraction of precious resources.