A company says it has signed an agreement with Bowen Basin mining companies in central Queensland to use unmanned drone aircraft to service local coal mines.
UAV Australia says it has ordered two planes to be based in Gladstone and Mackay.
Managing director Aonghus Stevens says the planes will be able to deliver critical parts to mines safely and at a lower cost and conduct aerial surveillance of mine sites.
“A UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] can carry a critical spare part of up to around 30 kilograms as long as it fits in the payroll bay,” he said.
“We can fly that to a mine on land, we can fly it out to an LNG [liquefied natural gas] rig, we can provide live imaging of mines for up to 30 hours.
“The idea of taking humans out of the scenario means it’s cheaper.
“Secondly you can push the aircraft to its absolute limit without the worry, I guess, of human life being at stake and they can fly in inclement weather conditions.
“For example, if the aircraft does go down, all you are losing is an air frame and not people on board.”