New Technology Hasn’t Changed How Effective Blasting Is For Mining
By Features Desk
Saturday, August 6, 2016.
New technology has impacted many aspects of modern day life. In every industry, tech advancements have led to changes in how certain tasks are performed. However, despite new technology, some industries haven’t made as many changes as others. Take the mining industry, for example, although technology has impacted it in some ways, in others, it’s the same as it always was.
Blasting has always been an essential part of the mining industry. For decades it has been the most effective method of quickly removing obstacles. In virtually all forms of mining, rock is broken up via drilling and blasting with the use of explosives.
Blasting is, believe it or not, a fairly safe method of breaking up rock. This is because the blast produced is always measured to ensure that it only breaks up the material intended. Degree-trained explosives engineers are almost always used for this aspect of mining. This is to ensure that it’s as safe and effective as possible.
Many people aren’t aware that blasting is such a measured science. This has become a hugely popular career choice, so much so, that each year an annual blasting conference is held for engineers. This year’s ISEE Annual Conference 2016 focused on the most effective blasting techniques.
Technology has, of course, had an impact on blasting, as the conference demonstrated. Over the years, many advancements have been made, making it safer and easier to calculate. Although advancements have been made, new technology hasn’t offered a more effective way to remove rock.
There have, however, been many advancements in other areas of mining. For example, in terms of safety, new technologies have made communication easier. This has meant that miners are safer while working. Another example is cloud computing. This has allowed mining companies to configure their data and create one shared platform.
In blasting, there are some advancements on the horizon. These are things that could potentially change the face of the mining industry forever. Although not being used widely at the current time, automation is said to be at the forefront of mining technology. In the next decade, it’s hoped that many areas of mining can become automated. This would reduce the need for as many workers, cutting costs and streamlining projects. It would also increase safety, as miners wouldn’t have to go so deep underground.
In terms of mining machinery, like drills, for example, that are used alongside explosives, 3D printing is said to be crucial. When a drill breaks, it can stop the entire project until a new piece is sourced. This can sometimes take weeks, depending on which piece is needed. However, 3D printing offers an answer to this - instead of ordering a new piece, mining companies could print their own. It’s just a case of ensuring that the 3D printer is able to effectively print durable metal pieces, not just plastics.
In many ways, new technology hasn’t changed the mining industry, especially in terms of how effective blasting is. That being said, in other areas, tech has had a huge impact on the industry. In the next few years, the mining industry is set to be hugely overhauled with new technology at the helm.