SUEK purchased six unmanned aerial vehicles with various modifications intended for aerial photography during surveying operations for its Kuzbass facilities.
The decision to develop the company's fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles was made after the test of aerial photography at SUEK's open-pit mines in the Krasnoyarsk region and Buryatia. After analysing the accuracy and detail of 3D terrain models obtained using unmanned aerial vehicles, SUEK concluded that this technology could be used for surveying and land management in mining.
In August 2018, the Aerial Surveying Office was established as part of the technical directorate in Kuzbass. Today, the Office is equipped with two Russian-made unmanned vehicles capable of making aerial photographs at a height up to one kilometre, with a flight duration of 2.5 and 4 hours, respectively. SUEK's fleet also includes 4 compact DJI drones,GNSS receiver making it possible to receive and process signals from all navigation satellite systems that exist today. This device enables surveyors to locate unmanned aerial vehicles during aerial photography.
Simultaneously with the procurement of equipment and staff training, the Office made major efforts to satisfy the requirements of the mandatory registration of unmanned aerial vehicles with the Federal Air Transport Agency, to ensure compliance with legislative norms and rules governing the use of the Russian airspace, the process of aerial photography and the operation of unmanned aerial vehicles.
As practice shows, such technology helps the company solve a whole range of issues related to open-pit mining, such as evaluating the size of coal storage facilities, monitoring hazardous situations, updating topographic plans of work areas and surrounding territories and monitoring the use of company land including actual use of allotted land, use for intended purpose, reclamation, demolition control in buffer zones and property stock-taking.
“First of all, unmanned aerial vehicles improve the efficiency and safety of surveying measurements and the accuracy of necessary calculations,” says Anatoly Meshkov, Technical Director of SUEK-Kuzbass. “We can now remotely control mining operations at almost any point and build digital enterprise models. Essentially, this is another step towards creating a 'digital underground mine' and a 'digital open-pit mine' to obtain the maximum amount of data for highly efficient management of coal production processes.”