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Solving Access Issues within Inaccessible Underground Mines

The Elios UAv flying through a mine

The dangers of underground mines need no introduction. Post-excavation, backfilling is essential to prevent the risk of collapse, assessing the conditions is currently carried out by a Cavity Monitoring System (CMS) or by lowering a borehole camera into the mind through an existing drill hole.

The failings of CMS are well known. They can’t go around a corner, see over a deep brow or navigate through debris. Therefore, the task of backfilling, which – by its very nature – requires some level of human intervention, is fraught with hazards.

Other challenges include:

  • Difficult to plan how much backfill is required to effectively fill the void and make it safe.
  • The dangers of ground collapse during the surveying and backfilling process.
  • The process is expensive, both financially and in the amount of time it takes. Inadequate void data makes much of the process a guessing game, meaning costs can and do rise exponentially.

In addition to the backfilling issues, mining teams regularly need to assess the condition and height of a slope ceiling post-blasting. This is essential to prevent future problems. Again, CMS is the traditional method of doing this, but the results are varied and, very often, the geography of the mine makes it impossible to perform.

Enter Elios: The Cutting-Edge Solution to Dangerous Confined Space Inspection

Flyability’s Elios is the only UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) on the market that has a protective structure as part of its factory build. This means that, unlike add-on cages that can be attached to a drone, Elios can easily deflect off structures, roll away from obstacles, and even crash into objects without fear of damage or loss of lift.

The technology has proved game-changing for accessing previously inaccessible mining locations.

In both the backfilling and slope ceiling assessments, Elios has been successfully deployed. Easy to operate, the UAV brings revolutionary inspection abilities in the following ways:

  • Remote operation: meaning the operator can stand safely on supported ground that is well outside the restricted areas.
  • GPS-free navigation: can easily fly in uncharted, dark voids that are out of sight of the operator. This is thanks to the advanced linked software that instructs the flight controller as the inspection is implemented.
  • HD images and video capture: 2 4K cameras return incredible quality 12MP stills and video recordings in real-time.
  • Outstanding lighting qualities: powerful, intelligent 10k lumen lighting. Essentially dustproof – vital for mining use.
  • Build highly accurate 3D models: Using its intelligent software, Elios constantly surrounds the surroundings and builds intricate maps of its surrounds. This can also be viewed in real-time as the inspection takes place.

Thanks to cutting-edge intelligent software, Elios requires minimal training to use. The platform is primed for today with one eye on tomorrow. This means that future upgrades (both those that are currently in the planning stage and those yet to be implemented) will be easily integrated as they come online.

The advantages such an inspection tool brings to accessing previously inaccessible mining locations are tremendous. It easily reduces inspection times to mere hours – and that’s not the greatest benefit! Mining operators are able to determine backfilling needs, plan for future mining and make far more accurate decisions. A simple Elios flight can provide the data needed as to whether a mine is viable, reducing costs that can span into the millions to access an area that’s then found to be beyond rehabilitation.

Advantages of the Elios UAV

In short, the Elios advantages can be summed up as:

  • Dramatically increasing worker safety.
  • Allow mining teams to make accurate plans.
  • Reduces costs.
  • Helps present a more tempting workplace to encourage the most talented personnel.
  • Satisfy shareholders and investors.
  • Increases production.
  • Reduces waste.
  • Plays a role in adhering to environmental responsibilities.

Technologically advanced tools, such as the Elios, are at the forefront of the Nexxis procurement model. There are many scenarios where such an inspection vehicle would upscale the inspection and maintenance process and this is where we differ from other equipment providers. As opposed to just offering the equipment, we actively work with you to determine which is right for your needs. The latest innovations can solve multiple challenges. 

Contact us to find out more about RVI equipment or any of our other inspection products, or request a quote online.

You might also find this useful: Case Study: The Elios Inspection of Enzymes Fermenter Tanks Passes with Flying Colours

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