Four years in the past, Leigh Ann Booysen worked grueling shifts at Kumba’s Kolomela iron ore mine as a drill operator. That meant sitting on a truck-sized drilling machine in an iron ore pit for eight hours, drilling holes for explosives earlier than blasting. Today, she proudly boasts to her household that she works an office job – and but, she’s by no means drilled more, or better, holes in her life.

Leigh Ann is at the forefront of a expertise revolution that is altering the face of Kumba’s operations – and certainly, your complete iron ore mining business. She is now one of a group liable for operating Kumba’s fleet of automated drilling machines from a protected, air-conditioned control centre subsequent to the mine’s places of work.

It’s not just the drill operators’ lives that have improved. The rise in productivity has been dramatic. Operating hours are up 20%, from 14 to 17 hours a day, the standard of the drill holes has improved, and fewer drilling machines can be needed over the lifetime of the mine.

The robotic drilling machines are a part of an R500 million funding in expertise by Kumba at its mines within the Northern Cape as a part of its efforts to make mining safer, more productive and extra setting-pleasant. It’s actually slicing-edge technology, with Kumba being one in every of only two iron ore miners on the earth to use autonomous drills, along with BHP Billiton’s Yandi mine in Western Australia.

The machines aren’t solely taking over the drilling operations, although. The skies are also rather a lot busier over Kumba’s Kolomela and Sishen mines these days, with a fleet of 10 drones providing info on everything from where mining has taken place to current stockpiles.

Make no mistake, these will not be the drones you discover buzzing over your house or seamless steel tube within the local park over weekends. Kumba has spent greater than R6 million on its fleet, which incorporates both mounted-wing and quadcopter drones, fitted with state-of-the-artwork cameras and laser scanners, which are used to create three-dimensional photographs and surveys. They are operated by 5 staff members who have acquired specialized training as drone pilots, and are fully licenced by the SA Civil Aviation Authority to do so.

The advantages have been rapid, with the drones offering information and data on Kumba’s operations that used to take days, and even weeks, to accumulate. In many instances, they are delivering new knowledge that wasn’t accessible earlier than, and is allowing Kumba to function far more efficiently than before.

Not all of the technologies are as glamorous as robotic drills or drones – however they aren’t any less effective in contributing to a trendy mining operation. Kumba is especially happy with its Advanced Process Control (ACP) system, which in easy terms controls the flow of fabric by way of the processing plant, with fewer interruptions and better high quality.

After which there’s the autonomous braking for Kumba’s haul trucks, which routinely brings the massive trucks to a stop to avoid collisions and accidents. Here is more regarding seamless steel tube (Learn Even more) check out the web site. Greater than 10 trucks have already been fitted with the brand new braking system.

The perfect part of the technology strategy, says Bongi Ntsoelengoe, Technology Manager at Kumba Iron Ore; not a single job has been misplaced in the process.

“Rather than changing employees, we have shown that utilizing expertise in our operations improves expertise and provides a possibility for workers to develop and grow. Better working circumstances mean employees are excited and motivated about their work atmosphere, which makes for a extra productive, safer workplace,” says Ntsoelengoe.