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Surface Mining: Challenges

Three clear challenges that are currently facing the global surface mining market are the industry's environmental impacts, intense levels of competition and various labor constraints.

Environmental Impacts

  • Perhaps the most widely discussed challenge facing the global surface mining industry is its environmental impacts, alongside more stringent associated government regulations.
  • This challenge was identified based on the fact that a preponderance of industry researchers (e.g., Future Market Insights, Transparency Market Research, Research Nester, Market Research Future, MarketersMedia) are currently discussing environmental impacts as a major factor that is "hampering the growth" of the global surface mining market.
  • According to Future Market Insights, surface mining is differentiated from many other forms of mining in that it generally has a more extensive and prominent impact on the surrounding environment.
  • This negative environmental impact, paired with what Transparency Market Research, ResearchNester and Market Researcher Future describe as increasingly "stringent environmental regulations," are currently restraining the market's growth.
  • However, companies in the industry are somewhat able to counter the environmental impacts associated with their surface mining operations by establishing clear safety zones around mining areas.
  • Additionally, to the extent that developed governments are more aggressively expanding their focus on environmental safety, key players in the surface mining industry are also looking to less developed countries for growth opportunities in a more relaxed legislative environment.

High Competition

  • Another clear challenge facing the worldwide surface mining market is the intense competition between industry players.
  • This market hindrance was selected based on the discussion of a variety of industry experts (e.g., Transparency Market Research, ResearchNester, Reports and Data, MarketersMedia), all of whom highlight the current level of fragmentation across the surface mining marketplace.
  • Specifically, Transparency Market Research reported that the global surface mining market is highly "fragmented," and that many of its key players including BHP Billiton, Vale SA, Rio Tinto, Anglo American, Freeport-McMoran, Barrick Gold, Tech and Goldcorp are aggressively competing for market share.
  • Notably, market fragmentation can create a number of adverse impacts, including trapping capital and liquidity, creating price competition and leading to other significant financial and operational inefficiencies, per the Institution of International Finance.
  • However, Reports and Data highlights the fact that a number of prominent industry players are actively engaging in mergers and acquisitions to maintain or gain market share.
  • This strategy of further consolidation is expected to help moderate the current level of industry fragmentation and have a "positive impact" on industry growth over the coming years.

Labor Constraints

  • Finally, the labor constraints were identified as another clear challenge facing global surface mining operations, based on the consensus of market researchers such as Market Research Future and MarketersMedia.
  • These labor constraints include not only the dearth of sufficiently skilled labor, but also increasing labor safety regulations.
  • According to Market Research Future, surface mining companies are currently "struggling" due to these labor challenges, and factors such as the unavailability of skilled manpower are expected to hamper overall market growth through 2023.
  • However, surface mining organizations are addressing at least part of this challenge by prioritizing the development and application of new technology, both to comply with the newest labor safety regulations, as well as to do so without sacrificing operational efficiency.
  • Similarly, mining companies are leveraging different forms of technology to help offset the skilled labor shortage in key regions.
  • Meanwhile, global consultancy Accenture recommends a variety of tactics that surface mining companies can employ to better attract and retain the newest generations of skilled mining labor.

Research Strategy

Several other surface mining industry challenges were identified as part of this research, most notably: (1) the industry's relatively higher transport costs and (2) land acquisition difficulties. Specifically, Future Market Insights reported that transportation costs account for a disproportionately high 50% of total operating expenses for many surface mining players, but that "proper economic planning" is being employed to address this challenge. Additionally, Transparency Market Research asserts that issues in acquiring land are acting as a "restraint" on the global surface mining market. Although fewer publicly available and/or free resources were located to corroborate these challenges, the fact that both were reported by credible industry experts suggests that they may also be meaningful for industry players.
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Surface Mining: KPIs

After looking through industry reports, quarterly reports, news articles and press releases from credible sources, key performance indicators used by the South African surface mining industry were found, however, those specifically applicable to the global surface mining industry could not be found in the public domain. Details on the key performance indicators used by the South African surface mining industry, as well as the methodology used for this research, can be found below.

Key Performance Indicators in the South African Surface Mining Industry

  • The common key performance areas used by the surface mining industry in South Africa are: 1) safety and health, 2) product quality, 3) cost, 4) delivery, and 5) fleet management.
  • Adopting a system of "Zero harm" is being driven by the South African culture. This is what the key performance area of safety and health aims to achieve, along with lowering occupational disease/illness. Zero harm is indicated by the loss time/injury frequency rate (LTFR) and fatality frequency rate (FFR) while occupational disease/illness is indicated by noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
  • Due to the competitive nature of the surface mining industry, mines need to ensure that they are able to meet the market demand at the correct product specification. The key performance area of product quality intends to measure this through the degree of purity and physical characteristics of the mined ores. This is then indicated by grades — or the quantity of metal in ore — and the CAVITY — or the calorific value; ash; volatile matter; index of abrasivity; total moisture; and yield of the ore.
  • The key performance area of cost is measured by the cost of maintenance, labor, and operational sundries. This is indicated by the variance against the budget — or the difference between the incurred costs and the planned budget. The costs of mining can heavily impact the sustainability of a mining operation which is why lower costs can be an indicator of a successful mining operation.
  • The ability to meet planned production targets to satisfy consumer demand is a useful indicator of a successful mining operation. This is what the key performance area of delivery intends to measure through the ability of the mine to meet the required production and productivity of the employees. Production is indicated by mineral production — or mass of rock in ROM tons produced over a specified time period — waste mined, dilution, recovery, and yield while productivity of the employees is indicated by the unit output per employee.
  • Load and haul contribute up to about 46% of total mining costs which is why proper fleet management is important to the success of surface mining companies in South Africa. The key performance area of fleet management is measured by maintenance management and equipment efficiency. Maintenance management is indicated by availability — or the measure of the time equipment is ready to produce — and downtime while equipment efficiency is indicated by utilization — or how efficiently equipment is used — and relocation time.

Research Strategy:

To determine the common key performance indicators (KPI) used by the surface mining industry, we looked into industry reports and whitepapers on what surface mining companies use to measure their success in the industry. We were able to find that the Global Mining Guidelines Group is working with companies globally to develop standard operational KPIs for the global surface mining industry, however, information on what these KPIs are could not be found. We were also able to find information on some KPIs used by the Canadian Natural Resources company, however, these are for the mining industry as a whole. KPIs were found specific to the surface mining industry, however, the study that reported these KPIs may be outdated and more recent studies could not be found to corroborate these findings.

We then attempted to look into the KPIs of the top surface mining companies in the world. This is done so that we can look into the common KPIs used by these companies with which it would be reasonable to assume that these would be the KPIs commonly used in the global surface mining industry. We were able to find that Zijin Mining Group Limited and Freeport-McMoran are some of the biggest mining companies in the world that also engage in surface mining. We were able to find KPIs used by Freeport-McMoran for their surface mining operations through a transcript and presentation of their 2019 Earnings Conference Call. We looked through similar reports for the other mining companies as well as their respective websites, however, no information relevant to this request could be found. Common KPIs used by the global surface mining industry could not be determined using this strategy.

As a last resort, we looked for any insights into the KPIs used by the strip mining, open-pit mining, and mountaintop removal mining industries. These KPIs can then be checked against the KPIs used by the South African surface mining industry as well as Freeport-McMoran to see if they apply to the surface mining industry as a whole. We were able to find a conference paper that detailed some KPIs used in open-pit mining, however, these were only for truck fleet performance. No insight relevant to this request could be gathered from this strategy. We have opted to report the key performance indicators used by the South African surface mining industry as helpful findings for this research.
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Surface Mining: Trends

According to recent reports by global market research companies, the surface mining market is growing at a steady pace. Three trends driving the growth in the industry include LTE private networks, autonomous hauler technology, and the use of UAVs/ drone surveys.

LTE private networks

  • Surface miners are adapting the use of new technologies such as LTE private networks.
  • The use of LTE private networks are booming in both surface and underground mines. According to research, the use of more bandwidth facilitates equipment telemetry, and also enables "more autonomous operation of mining equipment from the surface, where equipment operators are a lot safer."
  • Miners utilize the advantages of LTE technology by greatly reducing the number of fixed WiFi access points to only a handful of LTE radio points, while at the same time improving overall security, network capacity and system performance.
  • The increasing demand for LTE has resulted in collaborations and strategic partnerships among surface mining companies and some communication companies, such as Nokia, Erickson, Huawei and Telstra.
  • This trend is inspired by the high demand for multiple applications and the desire for high speed automation implemented by surface miners.

Autonomous hauler technology

  • The use of autonomous hauler technology in the surface mining sector provides accuracy, and increases time-saving by making the work process faster and more comfortable.
  • Surface miners are shifting to the autonomous haulage system (AHS), since it allows for the operation of ultra-class mining trucks, which move more than two billion tonnes of surface material in the copper, iron ore, and oil sands segments.
  • The design and production features of autonomous trucks enable them to function 700 hours longer than conventional haul trucks, providing 15% cuts in load and haul costs.
  • The global surface mining market is experiencing the "launch of new and innovative surface mining solutions and technologies, which further increases operational efficiency."
  • Among the first North American miner to adopt the autonomous hauler technology on a large scale was Suncor. The company has recently announced it would "incrementally roll out a fleet of autonomous haulers at its oil sands mines over the next six years."
  • This trend is inspired by a high demand for safety and cost reduction among surface miners globally.

The use of UAVs/ drone survey in surface mining industry

  • According to research, the application of UAVs in the industry is relatively new, but growing swiftly in terms of speed, scale, and service scope.
  • Conventional measurement instruments are usually good for surveying work in plain, open space mining surface areas. However, most mining surface areas are located in remote spots with complicated environments, making surface mining surveys much more difficult.
  • With the development of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), surveys on many surface mine areas are completed in an easier manner, are more efficient, and more accurate.
  • Factors such as low cost, short revisiting cycle, flexibility, and high precision are driving the trend.

Challenges of surface mining

  • The increase in the use of mining technologies is causing great concerns regarding the energy security and growing energy demand nationwide.

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Subsurface Hard-Rock Mining: Challenges

The subsurface hard-rock mining industry in the US has continued to experience various challenges, such as unpredictable regulations, new technology, geological challenges and environmental concerns.

Unpredictable Regulations

  • Hardrock minerals are controlled and regulated by the General Mining Act, under locatable minerals, such as gemstones, uranium, lead, silver, gold, nickel, zinc, copper and mica. However, bodies such as the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), even as an agency entrusted with public lands, fails to provide a comprehensive list of what can be categorized as minerals, making surface mining a more complicated venture.
  • Categorization of what falls under minerals should be included in the General Mining Act.
  • The BLM, however, claims that it is rather too difficult to provide a comprehensive list of the provisions and regulations, under this law. This is because the definition caters to the economic aspect while overlooking various minerals that may be catered for under other different laws such as gas, coal, gravel, and oil.
  • The General Mining Act, has, therefore, continued to pose a challenge to the subsurface hard-rock mining industry, in the US; as it is not only outdated, yet it continues to strain the modern mining industry today through enforcement of mining policies, leading to more complications and side-effects.

New Technologies

  • New players in the subsurface hard-rock mining sector continue to pose a challenge to existing players by introducing new technological methods of surface mining; strip mining, mountaintop removal mining and open-pit mining. By insisting on the use of drilling technologies that traditional industry players might not be familiar with. While the world is moving towards a digital era, systems such as microdrill in mineral explorations may prove to be a challenge.
  • Mining environments are also yet to adapt to new designs and advanced equipment operation. This has sprung new and unique challenges, especially in the mining systems. Innovative maintenance strategies, may, therefore, need to rely on other monitoring technologies to increase productivity, in operational time used by the equipment, as well as the entire mining system.
  • New technologies are also too costly, as hard rock requires tenacious tunnel- boring machines that do not wear out rapidly. The current technologies are yet to provide affordable and long-lasting cutters, that are mobile enough to handle the dynamics of ore bodies.

Geological Challenges

  • While there have been advancements in the exploration forms, mining operations continue to be affected by geological problems such as risky strata conditions, gas outbursts, risky operational problems, and water inundations. While these may shorten the shelf-life of the equipment, they can pose an imminent danger to miners. The unpredictable geological conditions that happen in the course of the mining process, health and safety for the workers may be jeopardized, due to the heat and tectonic unpredictability.
  • Unpredictable geological conditions may also include loss of the deposit, thinning or thickening of the local deposit as well as unpredictable faults and dikes. As a result, these geological conditions may compromise the water and gas intersection reservoirs. This can result in strained operational problems, which can lead to immense loss of expensive equipment.
  • Geological hazards slow productivity, but also pose an imminent danger to human life. Geological hazards in mines have continued to pose an imminent challenge to the industry, and even though safety measures continue to be put in place, the unpredictable nature of geological hazards such as surface collapse and landslides continue to be an ongoing issue.

Environmental Concerns

  • Naturally, surface mining activities such as open-pit mining, strip mining and mountaintop removal mining are bound to strain the environment. In the recent past, environmental impact and quality audits have intensified in the industry, and this may pose a challenge to miners, due to the restrictions that may come with these audits.
  • There have also been calls for technological solutions in pursuit of alternative energy sources, alternative remediation strategies for sites and application of sustainable methods. This continues to impact the mining industry. The future of the industry will heavily rely on the speed of adapting to new technologies and alternatives, thus posing an imminent challenge to miners that may have difficulties adapting to change for financial, or other reasons.
  • Bad mining practices have been blamed for environmental strain such as the release of toxic chemicals. Strip mining, on the other hand, has been blamed for tampering with landscapes, destroying plant life, forests and wildlife habitats. Clearing of topsoil to create room for mining has also led to soil erosion, in addition to the destruction of fertile lands that could be used for agriculture. As the world becomes self-aware of environmental factors, more stringent measures are likely to be applied to mining companies.
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Subsurface Hard-Rock Mining: KPIs

Common KPIs in the underground mining industry include OPEX, CAPEX, Energy Consumption, Energy Use per Ton of Value Material, and Roof Movement per Area. A description of what each is, along with details on how to calculate each, are provided below.


  • OPEX stands for operating expenses and includes all the costs associated with the day to day running of a business, in this case a mine.
  • The types of costs that would be included are staff, mobile equipment parts, processing, camp and travel, labor, services, and supplies.
  • OPEX is important because it provides a clear picture of where money is going, and also provides a number to compare sales to. If OPEX is too high, finding ways to decrease it can improve the bottom line.


  • CAPEX stands for capital expenditures and it represents the total investment a company makes in fixed assets that are used to bring a mine to production.
  • Capital expenditures in mining include things like constructing the buildings at a site, purchasing machinery that will be used, and establishing communications and transportation infrastructures.

Energy Consumption

  • To determine the energy usage of a mine, the first step is to determine all the equipment needed. For underground mining, these would be things such as longwall machines, continuous miners, roofbolters, shuttle cars, rock dusters, and personnel vehicles. Once a complete list of equipment is made, then a software program such as Sherpa for Underground Mines can be used to get total energy costs.

Energy Use per Ton of Value Material

  • To determine the Energy Use per Ton of Value Material, the Energy Consumption number is used, along with the amount of mined material, in tons.
  • This KPI is calculated by dividing the energy consumption by the tons of materials.

Additional KPIs

  • The research reports used for this reporting also identified several additional KPIs that are relevant in the underground mining industry. A list of those are being included for completeness.
  • Relevant KPIs included in the "Real-time optimization of extraction and the logistic process in highly complex geological and selective mining settings" report included Roof Movement per Area, Powder Factor, Time per Cut. Loading Efficiency, Hauling Efficiency, Crushing Efficiency, and Mill Efficiency.
  • In "An Approach to Optimize Underground Mining Processes by the Use of Real-Time Data," additional KPIs mentioned included Explosives Consumption and Accidents per Time.

Research Strategy

To determine the most common KPIs in the underground mining industry, we relied on two recent research studies that cited other relevant studies, and also agreed with each other on the most common KPIs.

According to the research report "Real-time optimization of extraction and the logistic process in highly complex geological and selective mining settings" which was published in mid 2018, the most common KPIs used in underground mining are costs and energy use per ton of value material. This data was confirmed in another research report titled "An Approach to Optimize Underground Mining Processes by the Use of Real-Time Data." A further breakdown of KPIs by process, found that OPEX, CAPEX, and Energy Consumption were common KPIs for every process. This was also confirmed by the second study. OPEX and CAPEX are more exact ways of measuring cost. Finally, one additional KPIs that was highlighted by both reports was Roof Movement per Area. Unfortunately, no details were found that described this metric or how to calculate it.
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Subsurface Hard-Rock Mining: Trends

Some leading trends in the underground hard-rock mining industry are the use of electric and autonomous machinery; the rising adoption of digital technologies such as robotics, sensors, drones, artificial intelligence, 3D modeling, and virtual reality across the mining value chain; and the use of sustainable practices.

Use of Autonomous and Electric Machinery for Underground Mining

  • Conventional underground mining equipment utilizes fossil fuels for heating and material management which, over the years, has observed an increase in the cost of underground mining equipment. Manufacturers, therefore, have begun to convert and expand their equipment portfolio to include electrical machinery. According to a report published by Future Market Insights, electrifying mining equipment reduces emissions and overall energy costs.
  • Mining manufacturers are working on developing unmanned underground mining machines that are integrated with advanced features like proximity detection systems. While there is still a continued demand for manned underground mining machines, autonomous equipment and vehicles are gaining tremendous traction.
  • Autonomous vehicles such as drones are being increasingly adopted by mining companies to significantly enhance the safety quotient and are, thus, on the path to change “the face of future mining capabilities”. The use of autonomous and electric vehicles is expected to rise over the coming years and the sector is predicted to reach $15 billion by 2028.
  • The electrical and autonomous machinery sector in the underground mining industry is being driven by factors such as fuel savings, greater productivity, and increased efficiencies. An advantage of the electrification of underground mining equipment is the elimination of cooling and ventilation systems, thereby, reducing the operational costs by as much as 20-25%.

Digital Transformation

  • Mining companies are progressively adopting innovative technologies such as robotics, sensors, and advanced integration processes to improve loader utilization and increase productivity during underground mining operations. Various digital technologies are being employed across every step of the mining value chain to improve the overall output.
  • Mining companies have begun to use robotics to replace conventional extraction processes. Several companies are working towards developing a fully-integrated robotic mining system that will replace all manual processes with robust, computerized “smart” machines.
  • The development of smart solutions in the subsurface mining industry is rising at a staggering rate with the adoption of smart devices, the Internet of Things (IoT), and sensor technology. Artificial intelligence-enabled mining solutions and systems are being driven by safety and operational excellence.
  • There is a rising trend among mining companies across the globe to form strategic partnerships with communication systems providers and automation equipment firms to develop more efficient mining techniques and processes through the use of powerful technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, and integrated automation.
  • In digitizing the underground mining sector, 3D modeling technology has proved to be useful in creating figures of underground regions for exploration and survey work. This technology is found to significantly improve the safety of survey and exploration work by eliminating the need for human workers to go into uncharted underground areas. Several companies are also looking into virtual reality and augmented reality capabilities to enhance subsurface mining operations.

Sustainability of Underground Mining Processes

  • Subsurface mining is found to be more expensive and releases more emissions than open-pit or surface mining. Sustainability, therefore, has become a primary factor in the advancements made in underground mining techniques and equipment. Environmental contracts such as the Paris Climate Agreement, government regulations such as the Mine Safe and Health Administration, and general awareness help mining companies address sustainability in every step of the sector’s value chain.
  • Technological advancements such as digitization, smart-tech, automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, 3D modeling, augmented reality, and virtual reality, made in the subsurface hard-rock mining sector all help in driving the mining industry towards complete sustainability. These technologies continue to assist in the reduction of greenhouse gases, water use, fuel consumption, and waste in subsurface mining operations.
  • Over the past few years, mining companies have started changing their business and operation models to “adhere to the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)”. Ideas such as zero-waste mining and green mining are gaining traction with the global mining leaders — America, Canada, and Australia. Underground mining operations that support zero-waste and green mining utilize sustainable practices by leveraging smart technologies which are also found to have financial benefits.
  • The rise in digital initiatives within the underground mining sector is expected to enhance safety and can reduce over 610 million tonnes of carbon emissions. As a result, the measurable value to the environment can reach over $30 billion.

From Part 03
  • "The global Surface Mining Market is estimated to reach USD 32.92 Billion by 2026, according to a new report by Reports and Data this can be mainly associated with the consumption of metals and minerals across the globe in several end-user industries such as electronic and electrical, and machinery industries. Also, increasing demand for electricity is expected to drive the growth of the market."
  • "The Market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 3.0% in terms of value and reach USD 32.92 Billion in 2026. Open pit surface mining method segment accounts for a market share of 30.2% in 2018 and is forecasted to grow at the highest rate of 3.1% during the forecast period"
  • "Open-pit surface mining method segment accounts for a market share of 30.2% in 2018 and is forecasted to grow at the highest rate of 3.1% during the forecast period. This method is used for digging palabora copper ore, diamond ore, and sishen iron-ore mainly. Technology modernization offers accuracy and helps in time-saving by facilitating the work process swift and more comfortable. Increasing use of this method aids in particular mining by generating high-quality material as well as producing steady embankments & surfaces. Also, it offers low dust, low noise, and less damaging vibration process and hence it enables efficient mining in residential areas. It also helps in decreasing the need for wheel loaders and excavators which is improving the"
  • "Growing demands for metallic and non-metallic minerals, less capital requirement as contrasted to underground and marine mining, an abundance of reserves that can be utilized using surface mining and growing energy consumptions are expected to be the primary factors that are driving the market in this region. With the progress in mining technologies, increasing concerns among nations regarding energy security and rising energy demand, the possibilities for the market are expected to grow at a steady rate."
  • "An abundance of reserves of metallic and non-metallic minerals that can be exploited using surface mining and less capital requirement as compared to underground and marine mining acts as a major driving factor for the growth of surface mining market. Environmental mining activities may result in adverse environmental conditions including contamination and soil erosion, which may restrict market growth over the forecast period."
  • "Increasing consumption of minerals and metals across the globe is anticipated to intensify the growth of the global surface mining market. In addition, growing demand for electricity is anticipated to positively drive the growth of the surface mining market. According to World Bank, global metal consumption witnessed a positive growth of about 1.8% in 2016. Additionally, growing consumption of metals across the globe is facilitating the expansion of global surface mining market. Apart from this, abundance of mineral and metal ores in the world is expected to positively impact the growth of the surface mining market. Increasing consumption of electricity has increased the demand for coals in the world. This factor is anticipated to supplement the growth of the global surface mining market. Further, advancement in surface mining technologies bodes well for the growth of the surface mining market. In addition, the market is witnessing the launch of new and innovative surface mining solutions and technologies which further increases the operational efficiency. This factor is likely to spearhead current and future market growth prospects. "
  • "mine production is undergoing a significant shift to open pit mining. This surface mining technique involves the extraction of minerals by way of an open pit, which does not require tunneling as older extractive methods. Today, the majority of operations industry wide are producing using the open pit technique. The ICMM reports that, “Technological developments have made it possible to mine ores of declining grades and more complex mineralogy without increasing costs.”"
  • ": Autonomous Mining Continuous Surface Mining to Zero Waste The future of surface mining is upon us. The requirements for fundamental change from batch to continuous mining platforms has arrived. Industry trends have generally been going in the wrong direction and need to moved toward zero waste, improving mining intensity, labor intensity, capital and cost efficiency. Suncor was the first North American miner to adopt autonomous hauler technology on a large scale. Nearly a year ago, the company announced it would incrementally roll out a f leet of autonomous haulers at its oil sands mines over the course of the next six years, starting with its North Steepbank mine. In total, the f leet would eventually comprise at least 150 Komatsu haulers. In an open-cast mine, productivity, fuel consumption and speed of haul trucks are key drivers to improve safety and efficiency of mining operations"
  • "LTE private networks are booming in mining now both surface and underground, driven by the greater demands of multiple applications and the speed of automation implementation meaning WiFi cannot always deliver, reports Paul Moore the benefits are being seen in terms of vastly reducing the number of fixed WiFi access points to only a handful of LTE radio points and at the same time improving security, overall network capacity, and system performance, particularly with most major miners running multiple applications and many also using, trialling or considering implementing equipment automation. "
  • "ale says it has signed an agreement with Vivo (Telefônica Brasil) to implement a private 4G/LTE network at its operations in Brazil. The network will help the miner optimise its use of autonomous equipment, which requires a wide coverage area and high traffic capacity for a significant amount of data. Almost R$21 million ($5 million) "
  • "Commercial autonomous haul trucks now have been proven viable for open pit mines that have a suitable cost structure. These trucks drive themselves between loading and dumping. Another increasingly common machine is the autonomous blast-hole drill, which will drill a complete pattern without intervention. In a production environment, groups of three or more autonomous bulldozers are now able to coordinate overburden removal."
  • "Surface mines are limited by space and usually use large amounts of mechanical equipment, mainly for drilling, blasting, loading, transporting and dumping With the emergence and development of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), different sensors have become more miniaturized and intelligent. UAVs equipped with various sensors are now Their application in mining areas (MA), although still in its infancy, is developing rapidly in terms of speed, scale and service scope Traditional measurement instruments were suitable for surveying work in plain MA, however, most MA are in remote locations with complex environments now. Because of its high efficiency, high accuracy and high automatic, GPS-RTK technique has got constant development and ripeness The scientific application of UAVs in MA has mainly focused on surface measurements, such as 3D reconstruction, terrain surveying, landslide stability analysis and air pollution monitoring. Traditional methods can only monitor at the level of a point or line, and cannot achieve monitoring of a whole surfac"