Mining is one of the oldest occupations known to man. It has played significant roles in influencing the development of our world and is still driving the change in every industry that we know today. Just like agriculture, its long distant cousin, mining is fundamental to every product we use. Data gathered from the research reveals that the average American uses over 40,000 pounds of minerals each year. These minerals range from vitamins like zinc to the numerous minerals used to flavour food like the common table salt. It was also discovered that a modern electronic device has more than 35 products of mining like copper, gold, zinc, and silicon to function correctly. Apart from the above-listed benefits, the mining industry is also responsible for powering our giant engines and automobiles around the world.
However, even with these success rates already recorded, there is a great need for improvement in the mining industry hence the purpose of this article. In this article, we shall discuss the common inefficiencies of the mining industry and how Artificial Intelligence can serve to improve them.
THE INEFFICIENCIES OF THE MINING INDUSTRY
Contrary to what is obtainable a few years ago, mining has moved from the use of animal and physical labour to a more automated approach. The modern mines are now very sophisticated with lots of heavy machines to bring effectiveness to the industry. Most of these heavy machines may require human input to function correctly hence predisposing them to a lot of errors based on the operator’s inability to operate the tools correctly. The mechanical devices had a limited level of application since they are incapable of thinking on their own and may not offer the best efficiency for the modern-day mining needs.
Mining is often described as a dangerous profession due to the numerous challenges in the aspect of energy needs, health, and safety, access to capital, the volatility of products, and environmental challenges. These inefficiencies have grossly affected the output and quality of products obtained from the mining process, and this is where AI and machine learning processes come into play.
HOW CAN AI IMPROVE THE MINING INDUSTRY?
Operations efficiency through data insights using AI/ML
The mining industry deals with a lot of data, which may be too overwhelming for a human operator to handle correctly. AI-based programs can offer efficiency in all aspects of mining. It can perform several functions ranging from managing transport and logistics to the supervision to the activities of human resources and monitoring the supply chain for better cost efficiencies. AI and ML-based programs are less expensive and can function in the best ways we could ever imagine. Their activities are not subject to bias or any human-induced errors.
Error elimination using the fault predictions and preventive maintenance and maintenance scheduling mineral exploration (Location of mining)
AI and machine learning programs can study previous data and produce reports capable of influencing decisions in the mining industry. It can give investors an insight into market trends and thus predict the possible performance of stocks. Its ability to study and process large chunks of data can be advantageous in preventive maintenance and scheduled supervision. Computer vision can supervise mineral exploration processes in regions that are too toxic for man to visit. AI can also predict better than humans the precise location of mining based on terrain, computer-vision based images, and geographical data
A lot of preventable accidents happen in the mining industry, thus qualifying it as a dangerous profession. Accidents from equipment failure to those initiated by human error can be corrected with the right AI and machine learning-based processes. These machines can learn to replace humans in too dangerous mining processes while also supervising the entire process for possible machine breakdown. It can study previous data and previous records to predict an impending danger while suggesting precautionary measures to be taken. AI can also keep the entire length and breadth of the mining location in view, thus improving the security of plants and humans alike.
Increase in production with AI-driven insights and feedback to the blasting engineers:
All mining processes require one form of data analysis or the other. The use of AI can accurately measure rock fragmentations within the shovel bucket. It can also increase productivity with the bucket by bucket payload monitoring and even optimize teeth change-outs by monitoring teeth wear.
At Data Hivelabs, we provide the best AI and ML-based solutions to increase the operational efficiencies and safety in all aspects of mining.
Kindly contact us if you have questions about our products and services, we would love to hear.