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TLDR- AI's Explosive Impact in Drill and Blast

A Brief Summary of the Article From Mining Magazine

Mining Magazine EMEA editor Craig Gutherie spoke with Strayos CEO Ravi Sahu about the need for AI to assist drillers and blasters with creating the best shot possible.

There is mounting pressure on drillers and blasters to improve their performance- for blasts to be safer, more efficient, and yet more complicated. It's well known that inefficient blast design systems are incredibly wasteful. For example, poor face assessments result in

  • poor yield
  • wasted explosives
  • prolonged drilling time

AI can take drone, satellite, gps, and sensor data and use it to create incredibly accurate interactive 2D & 3D models, or digital twins, of benches and sites. Using these models drillers and blasters have access to information never before available and can leverage them to maximize performance, exactly when needed most.

Technology improvements like AI are allowing blasters and drillers to become more precise then ever before.

Here's a brief summary of Craig's interview with Ravi:
To read the entire interview go here.

Important technological trends in mining drill and blast solutions:

  • The next generation is more data driven and willing to adopt new technologies.
  • Data gathering methods are changing- like drone use
  • AI technology- can take all of the data now being gathered and generate digital models to help companies better plan their operations- including drill and blast
  • improving technology increases efficiency and safety

Enhanced geospatial insights will be increasingly needed for D&B planning and management.

Geospatial insights have traditionally been used in high level analytics, but not at the granular level of D&B operations- until now. Now, if you have similar geology at multiple sites, the data gathered from an efficient site can be applied at the other sites. More importantly, if the data is comprehensively geo-referenced we can derive insights from comparing the data sets. For example- how the rock moved as a result of a blast.

AI can provide highly detailed 2-D and 3-D virtual models of blasting sites.

AI can identify blast patterns and correlate geological models with explosive profiles, like, for example, if too many large boulders or too much waste is being created. Read more about AI's impact on fragmentation here.

Also, AI helps D&B take advantage of the highly rich data being generated. That's hugely important to operations further downstream like linking the costs from drill hole to mineral processing. Only AI can comb through this data at so many levels and identify the inefficiencies.

Operations and data silos are critical software solutions challenges faced by the drill and blast sector.

D&B teams or contractors focus on their own activities and are often not part of a holistic strategy. One constraint affects another set of processes, AI can collate the disparate data and scenarios to generate the insights really needed. But if the model exists in a silo, its usefulness is limited.

The digitalization of drill and blast will accelerate in the coming years.

If we get the D&B stage right, we can improve the way materials are moved out of the ground for the entire project. For example, projections from D&B models can help determine what downstream machinery is needed- front loaders, shovel or dragline. Pre-blast information presents optimization opportunities across the board- knowing in advance what equipment is needed, for how long, and then what additional processing is needed.

To read the entire interview go here.