A QuestUAV Case Study from Kazakhstan
Starting with electronic tachometers and later with ground GPS, surveyors have had to enter high-risk areas on the ground and spend considerable time to finish a survey. Some of the most acidic areas cannot even be entered as the risk to health and safety is too high. When compared with conventional ground surveying, it has been proven that the use of drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for surveying immensely reduces the exposure to risk for surface workers involved on site.
Instead of walking a mining site with ground equipment, areas of whatever risks involved are surveyed by flying over the site. UAV surveys can be done in a fraction of the time of a ground survey and generally provide higher accuracies. Surveying projects that usually take weeks with conventional surveying methods can now be completed in just a few hours. Hence, UAV technology minimizes risks while reducing costs and boosting productivity.
TEAM QUEST IN KAZAKHSTAN
- To monitor mine status
- To monitor & plan pit and leach pad progress
- To map & plan infrastructure (roads, buildings)
- To monitor the perimeter security fence
- To estimate stock pile volumes
- To monitor & plan site rehabilitation
EQUIPMENT AND DATA ACQUISITION
Since September 2016 KAZ Minerals have surveyed their mining sites and expansion areas on a daily basis with two QuestUAV 200 Surveyors. The QuestUAV Surveyor carries a Sony A6000 camera with a 16mm wide-angle lens providing image data down to 2.9cm GSD at 400ft. The images are the basis for 3D models, topographic site maps, infrastructure maps, pit volume estimations as well as maps for security and surveillance. Geospatial accuracy (cm-level) is achieved by combining image data with a combination of permanent and temporal Ground Control Points (GCPs) distributed over the mining site.
The Q-200 Surveyor is launched with a bungee launch line and is either landed via parachute or belly landing. The latest version of the Q-200 Surveyor comes with a Post-Processing-Kinematic (PPK) option, which provides high mapping accuracies down to 3cm without the need of physical ground control points.
Orthomosaic and DSM are the basis for an in-depth topographic analysis of the development of the mining site. Valuable information can be extracted from orthomosaic and DSM, such as infrastructure maps (roads, buildings), water bodies, contour lines, the flow of water, risk maps etc. These datasets in combination with expert knowledge of mining personnel are used for the development of intelligent management plans for the development of the mine.
- Improved worker safety
- Higher efficiency
- Increased site development productivity
- Higher accuracies of the geodetic work
Nowadays UAV surveys are the basis for all further work related to developing the KAZ Minerals mining site, including engineers, planners and geologists.