Making mine inspection safer: North Bay drone company inspecting underground cavities – by Lindsay Kelly (Northern Ontario Business – December 12, 2017)

Mining companies have been adopting drone technology to survey and map mineral resources above ground, but sending the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) below surface is still an emerging concept.

It’s an area in which SafeSight Exploration believes there’s lots of room for competition, and in which the North Bay company is quickly making a name for itself. The company was the overall winner during a North Bay Pitch event, hosted by the Northern Ontario Angels, in November.

“The idea and the concept and the work towards applying drone technology to an underground setting have been around for a couple of years, but it’s still very much an open space where there is no dominant player,” said SafeSight’s president and founder, Mike Campigotto.

“Some of the bigger players in Europe are now investing millions and millions of dollars trying to figure some of this stuff out, but nobody has claimed any sort of title yet.” Underground, drones can be deployed to do risky, tedious inspections that would otherwise have to be completed by a worker.

Whether it’s inspecting a drift for wear and tear, or assessing an ore chute for erosion, the drone, using light detection and ranging (LiDAR) technology, can complete a 360-degree survey of an area, serving up “a super accurate, to-the-millimetre survey of the entire cavity,” Campigotto said.

Getting a drone to do the work reduces the hazard to the employee, increases the accuracy of the results, and shortens the turnaround time of the data analysis, he noted.

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