- Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the ability of machines to execute human-like tasks such as learning, creativity, planning, and reasoning.
- AI technology is extensively used in the mining industry to make the process efficient and safe.
- Various leaders of the mining industry are already using AI technology to enhance their operations and reducing their environmental footprints.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is geared up to define the future technology and can ease our lives enormously. The ability of machines to execute human-like tasks such as learning, planning, and reasoning has already brought enormous changes in society, catalysing digital transformation. However, new algorithms and the availability of huge amounts of data have led to major AI breakthroughs in the recent past.
AI allows the analysis of real time extensive datasets and take appropriate and plausible actions. The trending technology enables technical systems to perceive their environment with the help of sensors and help them achieve a specific goal efficiently. These systems are also capable of adapting the behavior to a certain extent by examining the preceding actions and work separately.
AI in Mining
Although, AI is still a developing field of high-engineering technologies, it has begun to enable mining companies to become an insight-driven enterprise. AI technology when integrated into the mining industry unleashes a lot of advantages. Let's have a look at some of the significant advantages, briefly.
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- Greater Accuracy and Fast Decision-Making: Mining operations involve an extensive processing of real-time data to share instant directives to the control units. The integration of machine learning can help companies collect data and deliver on-site insightful decisions to streamline the process by reducing the chances of errors.
- Health and Safety: Better and faster decision-making is a key factor in improving the health and safety of mineworkers. AI helps mineworkers by reducing their exposure to dangerous mine situations and by shifting the industry from a people-oriented to a process-oriented
- Efficiency Boosting: Deriving the patterns from previously accumulated huge data sets can drive efficiency by increasing the consistency and quality of work. It can also reduce the chances of human errors. Companies are using machine learning to enhance image recognition, used in identifying grades of minerals.
- Reducing Environment Footprints: Embedding AI and Machine learning into the previously existing systems can help the mining industry to reduce energy demand by reducing the environmental footprints.
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Current Trends in the Mining Industry
Improving the efficiency and productivity are one of the crucial aspects of the mining industry that can lead to profitability. Even minute improvements can bring a huge change by enhancing yields, efficiency, and speed. Leading players of the mining industry are heading to create intelligent mining operations.
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The world's second-largest mining company, Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO), has already been using autonomous haul trucks for the last ten years. The autonomous trucks helped the company to reduce fuel usage by nearly 13%. In addition to that, the company also used automatic drilling and loading systems for several years. The miner generates nearly 2.4 terabytes of data every minute from its mining operations present across the globe. The company has complemented its multiple mines with an integrated processing and logistics system, which is controlled by operators remotely. With the use of AI technology, the miner has improved its productivity by about 10%.
The technology is also helping companies to explore, mine, and extract minerals from the surface. Although this is relatively a new field of AI and Machine Learning, various companies are excited about the prospects of this advanced technology. Goldcorp Inc. and IBM Watson had announced to collaborate in 2017 for the use of AI to review all the geological information available to find the next drilling locations in Canada.
Several companies have started smart sorting machines, which can sort the mined material based on the criteria in which the miner wants to sort the minerals, reducing significant time, fuel, and energy.
Adding to that, Internet of Things (IoT) technology coupled with smart mining equipment, sensors can be monitored and maintained before their breakdown. AI-enabled sensors can be used to monitor the speed, vibration, and temperature of the equipment, which can be used to schedule the maintenance of particular equipment before the breakdown point. The real-time data and analytics can help miners ensure safe mining operations.