Before the advent of high precision GPS for mining equipment, selective mining of complex ore bodies was virtually nonexistent and extremely costly. High precision machine guidance has given mining operations the ability to selectively mine detailed ore and waste zones to minimize both ore dilution to the processing plant and also ore loses to the tailings or waste dumps.
Current HP-GPS solutions now link high precision GPS software on the equipment, and high precision GPS planning software in the office, to ensure that detailed information from the mine planning and geology groups is displayed for both shovel operators and dispatchers. The equipment operators have detailed onscreen information such as mining limits, exact bucket x,y,z location , colour coded dig blocks by material type, limits of mined out faces, and mining floor elevations with cut/fill information.
The office software applications give the engineering, geology, and processing plant staff real-time mined out information. Blended ore or waste qualities for each truck are monitored in real-time as they leave the shovels and are dispatched to the appropriate ore, waste, or stockpile locations. Processing plants are able to see exact ore blends dumped at the crushers, and monitor and react to blends coming into the plant.
The same is to be said with waste movement, especially in cases where waste dumps or tailings structures are constructed with various different materials due to geotechnical constraints. These waste materials can be tracked from each shovel location, material type per bucket, bucket location at the face, haul routes, and final placement on the waste zones. HPGPS on dozers at the dumps are then able to ensure the waste dumps are constructed as per design with proper material placement.
This overall high precision and machine guidance process enables mining operations to track all material movement within the mine pit and report real-time and historical data visually within the dispatch system, and through custom reports.
While the fundamentals of mining have remained the same for many years, the new high precision GPS technologies being introduced from companies such as Wenco are giving mines more control over operations as well as flexibility to quickly adapt in changing market and environmental conditions. To be successful in today’s mining industry, mines increasingly have to target very specific ore qualities and High Precision GPS is the solution that makes it all possible.