Surface mine volumetric calculations with a drone
On June 7, the Ryka UAS team flew an active sand and gravel surface mine in Orting, WA, covering over 30 acres of property to survey stock piles. The objective of the project was to determine the volume of product stockpiles through the use of aerial surveying.
By aligning ground survey information with aerial photographs taken by drone, a three dimensional computer model of the site could be developed, and the volume of the stockpile could subsequently be calculated using the aerial data collected from the drone. Aerial surveying with drone usage is a sought after tool in the ground surface mine industry and Ryka UAS was happy to have the opportunity to fly a large property.
This project differed from previous drone missions in several ways that presented challenges to the team. First, this mission was an active mine. Extra precaution had to be taken to not interrupt the regular operation of the mine and to not put any UAS personnel in danger with heavy equipment actively operating during the survey. Secondly, the UAS operation base station also had to be strategically located out of the way of mine operations but close enough to the stockpile so that visual contact with the drone could be made at all times. The base was set at high ground when possible in order to increase the visual radius. Lastly, battery life was an important factor that was closely monitored by the team because of the long distances the UAS was flying to capture the aerial imagery. This proved to not only be a data collection trial for our team but an educational experience as well!
The volume of stockpiles is not a fixed number; the stockpiles will grow or shrink depending on the operations of the mine. Future trips to mines like the one flown in this mission could entail further iterations of surveying and modeling the stockpiles in order to track the changes in stockpile volume over time. It could also involve the surveying of additional features for site engineering and site-development planning.
The analytics collected is cross functional
Drone volumetric calculations offer a valuable data package for the mining industry, these metrics are optimizing operations and provide accurate and usable analytics for mines alike. Ryka also envisions that this capability can be applied to other industries such as agriculture, environmental conservation, or waste management.
For more questions about the project or Ryka please email Info@rykauas.com
Contributed by: They Ryka UAS operations team