Indian Minister Piyush Goyal backs drone technology

A boost for the drone industry in India, Piyush Goyal, Minister of State with Independent Charge for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines has asked that all state governments and the public sector mining units “explore the usage and deployment of drone technology” in their respective organisations.”

This comes after TATA Steel recently launched their first drone trial, Drone Application in Mine Monitoring (DAMM) at their Noamundi mine.

The programme was launched by Balvinder Kumar, IAS, Secretary, Ministry of Mines, Government of India in the presence of R K Sinha, Controller General, Indian Bureau of Mines, A. B Panigrahi, Controller of Mines (CZ), Indian Bureau of Mines, Mr Rajeev Singhal, Vice President (Raw Materials), Tata Steel and Mr Panka jSatija, General Manager (OMQ), Tata Steel.

Speaking on the occasion, Kumar said: “We have initiated mining surveillance system using space technology along with a mobile app. This will help in stopping illegal mining, monitoring mining plan, production, dispatch and royalty payment. We requested Tata Steel to demonstrate it in Noamundi iron mine.”

Speaking about the pilot launch of DAMM, Singhal said: “It is a proud moment for all of us. Tata Steel has embarked on the digital journey to leverage benefits of the latest changes in this field. We are trying to keep pace with the global trends of digitalisation in the mining industry, and this is a step towards that. This technology of mine monitoring through drone will help us to address adequately any bottleneck on the ground with responsive mine administration.”

The objective of this application at Noamundi is surveillance of mining area, lease boundary inspection, inspection of the safety zone, counting vegetation in reclaimed area and quarry and dump profiling for volume calculations. This trial of DAMM at NIM is being conducted by Skylark Drones, a Bengaluru-based firm. Skylark Drones specialises in drone application in various industries.

OMQ Division aims to work smarter and use innovations like autonomous vehicles, Internet of Things (IoT), big data, analytics, remote control centres, predictive maintenance with a prime focus on safety. As a part of mine automation, DAMM would now further help to achieve multiple benefits ranging from initial survey to carry out exploration activity, physical terrain mapping for segregation of land use, mapping of forest area, contour mapping, 3D modelling and detrital terrain modeling for effective mine planning, volumetric analysis of extractions, reclamation studies using the orthophotography using LiDARs, thereby ensuring safety and security within the leasehold area.