The Union mines ministry has asked state governments and several public sector units (PSUs) to consider using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly referred to as ‘drones’, in areas of mining sector such as exploration, tracking vehicle movements, land boundary fixation and mapping forest area.
“It is requested to explore the usage and deployment of drone technology in your respective organisations and share the action taken in this regard with the ministry,” said a letter written by the mines ministry on Tuesday to states and public sector units such as National Aluminium Company (NALCO), Hindustan Copper Limited (HCL), National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC), Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL), Mineral Exploration Corporation Limited (MECL), Bharat Gold Mines Limited (BGML) and MOIL (formerly known as Manganese Ore India Limited).
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Apart from the states and companies, organisations like Geological Survey of India (GSI) and Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) have also been asked to consider using drones for different purposes.
In its letter, the ministry has specifically asked the states and IBM to curb illegal mining by using thermal cameras on drones, which will help in tracking the night time activities in the mining area. “Target tracking feature can be ideally used for tracking movement of illegal trucks,” the ministry added.
“Volumetric analysis of the extractions and dumps will not only be helpful for routine automation but also for periodical stock verifications,” the ministry told the aforementioned PSUs. Moreover, the drones are also expected to help in mapping the “forest area” and in “3D modelling” so that there is an “efficient mine planning”.
The ministry has also asked the PSUs and states to do “lease (land) boundary fixation using the on-board GPS (Global Positioning System) of drones.”