Integration of virtual reality into the mining industry
The mining industry is naturally competitive.
The mining industry is one of the few industries that emerged from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic economic crisis with excellent financial and operational results. In fact, 2020 was an exceptional year for the mining sector.
The revenues of the world’s top 40 mining companies, which represent the vast majority of the entire industry, amounted to around USD $656 billion in 2020.
In this context, the mining industry has set a course for modernization and investment in technology with the aim of automating processes, improving safety, and promoting sustainability over time.
Virtual Reality integrated into the industry.
One of the most impactful advances has been the application of virtual reality technology in the mining industry (VR), becoming a common tool for effective engineering decision-making, simulation, operations training, and safety within the mining industry.
The integration of virtual reality into the mining industry has enabled mining operations to optimize production and operations.
The visualization of three-dimensional terrain in mining areas, combined with geographic information system data, has become an important topic for the industry in recent years.
As such, the development of these technologies has involved the research and testing of multiple software (including Atlas’ 3D Map Generator, ArcGIS, Google Earth) to determine the most effective way to transform real-life topographic data into digital elevation model (DEM) and KML formats, formerly known as Keyhole Markup Language, which are used to visualize information in a geographic context, and ultimately convert it into a three-dimensional model that could be implemented in a VR-compatible program.
Virtual reality allows the mining industry today to transfer the aspect of a physical mine to a virtual environment, helping companies and potential clients to obtain accurate information, determining the scalability of projects with more controlled risks, better planning standards, and greater benefits for all parties.
It is evident that the industry is demanding greater optimization and innovation, aimed at seeking efficiencies in order to obtain lower operating costs, with available technologies that could benefit the mining industry.
Mining Operations Planning with VR
Mining locations are generally remote, which requires a considerable amount of time and difficulty to reach. These challenges can be overcome with the application of virtual reality technology, where the cost-benefit ratio of on-site visits for high-level executives is often an unnecessary expense.
Virtual reality in mining allows for immersion into a virtual environment that accurately represents reality, which is fundamental for exploration, mine construction, and operations, increasing the effectiveness of analysis and informed decision-making.
Improved Design with VR
VR technology in the mining industry allows design teams working simultaneously in various locations to collaborate, review, and approve different projects, reducing the duration of the review process.
Virtual Reality Training
Virtual reality training is effective as it fully immerses new employees in the mine or facility environment, leading to better retention of critical skills necessary to work in dangerous facilities and challenging environments. In this regard, we recommend reading: Virtual Reality Showroom of Mining Machinery.
The potential of virtual reality and its applications in the mining industry is enormous. In addition to virtual reality, companies are also seeking augmented reality (AR) applications in similar areas of the mining industry. Similarly, the growth of virtual reality in other industries is helping to facilitate the adoption of this tool in the mining industry.