To many, sustainable mining seems like an oxymoron. People envision mining to be a dirty industry, driven by profit over the environment. While this may be true in some cases, modern mining is leading the forefront of change to enable a sustainable future. Here are a few practical projects I’ve come across that hopefully demonstrate that case.
Planning with sustainability in mind
Hexagon offers some of the most comprehensive mine planning software in the industry. Working with advanced optimization algorithms, modern planning can take into consideration environmental constraints, such as waste dump location, slope height and angle and other factors to minimize the impact to the environment. Scenario planning and cut-back scheduling can ensure the vital ore is extracted efficiently, minimizing mine footprint and environmental impact.
Utilizing advanced software, such as Hexagon’s fleet management OP Pro system, equipment can be utilized for the highest efficiency. Each liter of diesel required to move material is optimized to ensure the most tons per liter is achieved. These algorithms ensure less idle time in haul trucks, less hang time in excavators and wheel loaders. Not only is this cost effective, it reduces the Co2 emissions per ton the same way a full plane is more efficient than one that is half full.
Precious ore sent to a waste pile, or waste sent to processing plant creates wasted effort. Effective ore extraction increases the effectiveness of equipment and reduces Co2 emissions. This can be achieved through better ore modeling, tracking the ore movement during blasting, or giving excavator, face shovel, or wheel loader better visibility into the ore versus waste cut-offs
Autonomous technologies enable these efforts to be optimized, repeatable and precise, ensuring the plan is held to action. The equipment runs optimally and effectively, extracting ore in the most sustainable way possible.
The world needs mining to enable a sustainable future. Copper, rare earths, lithium, cobalt, and many other minerals are needed to move from a carbon-based world to a sustainable future. Many predict that without increases in mining these ores, the world cannot achieve their emission goals. Helping mines be efficient, effective, and sustainable is part of what makes me proud to be part of the Hexagon story, my contribution to the R-Evolution.