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Drones in Mining

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I have been getting interested in drones and lately asked one of the new members of this forum about the possibility of using one to investigate horizontal mine tunnels. It turns out that I am far behind on this technology. The Nevada Mining Association not only uses drones but is working on the use of them in  mine rescues.  Flight in tunnels is one off the problems they are working to solve. There are autonomous drones in use right now that can perform just about any survey and surveillance task you can think off and once it is programed  it evens comes back to its launch pad which is a box and automatically changes batteries and takes off to continue its tasks. It can tell you how much dirt in being removed from an excavation , monitor the stage of construction of a building or any thing else except fly where it can't get a GPS signal. I can't help but think of the possibilities with a metal detector hung on the bottom of it. There are several companies building them and have YOUTUBE videos  of there operation (Costs are not mentioned) . Being an 18 year old today is as different for one my age living in the age of the Pyramids! I was 17 before we had a telephone in the house  and now toddlers have cell phones.

 

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My neighbor had one with a hi dev camera mounted on it. 

He would sit in a lawn chair in his yard with a headset on and fly his drone up to every window in the neighborhood. He had naked photos of everybody on the hill.

He could fly a route to a spot and then tell the drone to fly back on the same route via GPS. So he would figure out routes around and under trees during the day. Then have the drone fly that same route at night. He had every bedroom window, hot tub, and back yard mapped on GPS so he could program that thing to go anywhere.

A lady down in the canyon saw his drone by her hot tub a couple times and hung a bird net between two trees. Caught the drone like a butterfly. Then downloaded a bunch of photos on the camera. Took his butt to court. 

They made her give his drone back. Scolded her good. Did nothing to him.

He could fly it anywhere within a two mile radius. It had to be pretty calm. 

Right before he moved he bought a big rascal. Lotsa noise. Like a little flying Harley. Crashed it into the side of a woman's house. He went down and threatened to sue her if he didn't get it back. She smashed it with a stick of firewood for him and ran him off. 

Drones are cool. I have always wanted to get one but I just don't have the time. You can get a little one for under a hundred bucks but I don't know if it would be of any practical use. 

He told me he had $3k into his big one. You could hear it for two hundred yards. But he could fly it way up high and look down with a telephoto digital lens that really got good close ups. You could barely see the drone up there but you could see yourself in the camera up close. 

I always wanted to hunt and hike with one. You could sure work a lot of hills with it. Just sit on a ridge with a top o map and work every canyon by drone. 

Im not sure if that would be legal. It probably shouldnt be. But if you could peek in windows with one you could probably locate deer or elk with one.

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This drone stuff is much more advanced than I ever imagined this link has all the rules and regulations :

https://www.identifiedtech.com/blog/monthly-flyover/mining-safe-quick-drone-mapping/

It even has information that the US Army has recalled and forbidden its units from using a particular drone because it was sending the information it found back to the manufacturer! And one of the hottest jobs going is for Certified pilots, you have to have 50 hours to be considered and  and they even have a flight school in Scottsdale AZ and pay your coast to attend , D----- age disqualifies me again I

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My wife is a drone pilot. :thumbsupanim Yes these things have come along way and are pretty cool to see in action. My wife works for NDOM which is Nevada Division of Minerals, and they mostly use drones to locate hazards. Each season the dept. takes interns from the college out to address open holes that pose a danger to animals and people and they put a fence around them. It can be a lot of work locating every dangerous opening so the use of drones to fly over an area and map existing hazards has been amazing. They can land on their own, but they do not recharge themselves i can attest to this because we had just recharged the batteries in the photos from lovelock area when we realized by charging drone batteries we ran the car battery dead and we were good and stuck. No phone service of course and closest pavement was 20 miles away, and even then still far from any help. Thankfully we got a phone signal from the top of the mountain you see in the pictures and my buddy made it out to us,  but after he got within a few miles of us he started going down the wrong road away from us. That's when the wife jumped into action and got the drone in the air, and was able to get my friends attention before we were left alone. Drones are cool :ya: this is how i felt when i saw my friends truck turn around. 

You know on a side note, i believe just over the last 3 years now they have been having drones races at the Reno Air Show, with some big  money prizes .

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If you would have asked me twenty years ago if there was going to be an occupation named drone pilot, I would have laughed. Who would have thunk it??? Pretty cool job.

Next thing we'll be seeing are drones that use infrared or some other technology to locate gold nuggets. Just sit in your chair and toogle away..:yesss:

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Hardtimehermit, Very cool! I am almost sure you have checked out the endless possibilities of using drones in prospecting ?  I started this subject with Grubstake joking about how we could get out prospecting being that both of use use walkers. Then I remembered an outing down on the border that I have been on several years ago and one of the members had brought his drone with a camera on it to check out a vertical shaft , it worked but just barely had enough power to go down and come back up. He was afraid of losing it. Most people recognize the danger of exploring old mines , some don't which keeps the rescue people here in Maricopa county  busy. Seldom a week goes by without someone falling in one some survive .  I have a nephew in Colorado who was in mining many years and ended up being on the state rescue squad.  When we would visit  we seemed to always get on stories about  SAR cases, I would tell him about the Bering Sea in winter , passenger jet crashes , oil rig fires, and general body recovery that I had  conducted in my 20 years in the USCG.

 He would start telling me about routine mine rescues like cave ins , electrocutions , and stuff that happens to miners.  Then he would start on body recoveries from old mines and he would easily out gory me with murders  and scraping remains of people off supports and rocks they had hit on the way down , especially children.  Surely they are using drones for some thing these days. I just had not realized that it had become such a big time business outside of the government.

I had bought one of those $19.95 rechargeable ones and when it came it had 3 spare props,  ? I thought  ?  Well in 30 minutes I had busted all of them and refused their offer of 3 replacements for $9.95, kept the charger and threw the rest in the trash, end of my drone career.

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Yes indeed Gilaoro, many options for todays drone pilot. I should have pointed out that my wife is a licensed pilot, not sure that was implied, but there is a difference. If someone wants to get a business started using a drone lets say for photography, then you would need a license. Of course most people don't need a license to fly, but there may come a day. It's great now while my wife works at the division of minerals, and she gets to fly and program some of the best drones out there pretty cool. 

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EXTREMELY COOL , The jobs that used to be done  such as pipeline & electric tower patrols are now done by  drones more safely than Piper Cubs and Helo,s . Pipeline patrols helped many a young pilot build hours. They still use helicopters to do some repairs that can only be handled by them but they are actively recruiting drone pilots.  Just think about the prospecting possibilities for checking out new spots and access without  beating up your rigs and wasting time. The more they are the lower the price will become .  I can only think about how much time and gas I wasted when prospecting  looking for new places.

Tell your wife  :thcongratsflwrs: on having such a cool job ! BTW: Does she let you help ? :4chsmu1:

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On 6/13/2020 at 3:22 PM, Gilaoro said:

I have been getting interested in drones and lately asked one of the new members of this forum about the possibility of using one to investigate horizontal mine tunnels. It turns out that I am far behind on this technology.

Max,

  I use a drone a lot when out doing videos and prospecting, they come in pretty handy getting the lay of the land. Ill put a link in bottom to the video where I sent a drone down a mine shaft, but I had to get out, didnt want it crashing down the shaft. I just got a new drone, and love it. It is a DJI Mavic Air 2. It has a couple miles range in the open. DJI makes drones with sensors all around so it will not crash into a wall, tree, ect... I think the DJI Mavic 2 Pro would do pretty good going into mine tunnels, shafts, ect... with 360 degree sensors on it to avoid obsticles, and it has a long range. I believe you can get different camera options like infrared for using in the dark. There should also be a thermal camera made by FLIR for them, but that gets pretty expensive for one of those..

Dave

 

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10 minutes ago, DolanDave said:

Max,

  I use a drone a lot when out doing videos and prospecting, they come in pretty handy getting the lay of the land. Ill put a link in bottom to the video where I sent a drone down a mine shaft, but I had to get out, didnt want it crashing down the shaft. I just got a new drone, and love it. It is a DJI Mavic Air 2. It has a couple miles range in the open. DJI makes drones with sensors all around so it will not crash into a wall, tree, ect... I think the DJI Mavic 2 Pro would do pretty good going into mine tunnels, shafts, ect... with 360 degree sensors on it to avoid obsticles, and it has a long range. I believe you can get different camera options like infrared for using in the dark. There should also be a thermal camera made by FLIR for them, but that gets pretty expensive for one of those..

Dave

 

I’ve had a bit of trouble with infrared camera’s and different night vision equipment not seeing in the dark.  All the stuff I’ve used has at least an IR LED to see in complete darkness like a closed room. After a turn or two, a mine shaft would be the same way.  I’m sure these IR cameras come with an option to turn on an IR LED just like all the night cameras I see for sale for security.

 

With thermals, usually worked better, but did not have the resolution that an IR Night Vision devices had.  Once, it was a cold winter night at 25 degrees and windy after being cloudy for days, and the thermal could not pick out metal from the ground, looked the same.

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Posted (edited)

Will a drone lose  comm if line of sight is dissrupted to the transciever?

Going straight down a shaft is one thing, but wouldn't it get chancy if the adit took a turn or two?

Edited by Stillweaver hillbelli

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30 minutes ago, Stillweaver hillbelli said:

Will a drone lose  comm if line of sight is dissrupted to the transciever?

Going straight down a shaft is one thing, but wouldn't it get chancy if the adit took a turn or two?

Stillweaver,

  Yes once line of sight is lost your transmission is significantly reduced....

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That makes sense.  I wonder if "reflectors " or repeaters could be positioned inside the twists snd turns of a large mine to extend the range of the 2.4 GHz signal. 

I would imagine that most any rough, rock surface would attenuate transmission back and forth.

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Nice flying Dave, that's a prime example of the work my wife does with interns from college, the fencing of open mine shafts. Just two weeks ago a dog fell into a shaft out near Rye Patch, but they were lucky to pull the dog out, because the shaft was only around 20 feet deep. Be careful out in the hazards areas, no one wants to fall in a shaft, oh and cool finds happy hunting Nevada :) ht

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17 hours ago, DolanDave said:

Max,

  I use a drone a lot when out doing videos and prospecting, they come in pretty handy getting the lay of the land. Ill put a link in bottom to the video where I sent a drone down a mine shaft, but I had to get out, didnt want it crashing down the shaft. I just got a new drone, and love it. It is a DJI Mavic Air 2. It has a couple miles range in the open. DJI makes drones with sensors all around so it will not crash into a wall, tree, ect... I think the DJI Mavic 2 Pro would do pretty good going into mine tunnels, shafts, ect... with 360 degree sensors on it to avoid obsticles, and it has a long range. I believe you can get different camera options like infrared for using in the dark. There should also be a thermal camera made by FLIR for them, but that gets pretty expensive for one of those..

Dave

 

Dave, Thanks :goodpost: I have just had not much time the last 3 years to really checkout the prospecting and Drone technologies. I started this series of post with Grubstake in a joking way not realizing that the drone industry had advanced so far. Now it seems that they are very advanced depending on how much money you want to spend. The videos have me hooked now  although the ones with the dog and  the walking out on OLD boards is very scary !  I  know I have done it too and worse climbed down in too some of them but that was before I moved to Maricopa County. Now it's seldom a month goes by that the rescue squad is not called out to get someone out of a shaft , the last one survived a week  by eating rattlesnakes. I happens everywhere , near Yuma 2 guys drove a jeep into a shaft and it hung nose down about 100" deep and they were badly burned by battery acid , someone had seen them go in but it took hours before the rescue squad could get them out because they were pinned in the jeep and they had to hoist the whole thing out , I'm sure you remember the kids in Chloride that rode  a the ATV into a shaft. It used to be possible to get a permit to visit and  interesting old mine on the Yuma Proving grounds  until a visitor entered an off limits area and stepped on an old sheet of tin , she fell 1200' down a 20" vent pipe , I don't remember if they ever recovered her. So drones would be a great help in exploration but nothing cures stupidity and  carelessness except death.:m2c:

 

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6 hours ago, hardtimehermit said:

Nice flying Dave, that's a prime example of the work my wife does with interns from college, the fencing of open mine shafts. Just two weeks ago a dog fell into a shaft out near Rye Patch, but they were lucky to pull the dog out, because the shaft was only around 20 feet deep. Be careful out in the hazards areas, no one wants to fall in a shaft, oh and cool finds happy hunting Nevada :) ht

hardtimehermit ,  It makes me wonder how many pets and people have been lost that way and with no witness's. I have heard stories about  rescuers searching  a mine shaft for a known person  finding remains of  very much older lost person !  Archaeologists have found sink holes with animal remains being many feet deep in them. 

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1 hour ago, Gilaoro said:

hardtimehermit ,  It makes me wonder how many pets and people have been lost that way and with no witness's. I have heard stories about  rescuers searching  a mine shaft for a known person  finding remains of  very much older lost person !  Archaeologists have found sink holes with animal remains being many feet deep in them. 

Max, you've done it now. You exposed a mafia secret. Watch your back.😅😅😅

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12 hours ago, Stillweaver hillbelli said:

That makes sense.  I wonder if "reflectors " or repeaters could be positioned inside the twists snd turns of a large mine to extend the range of the 2.4 GHz signal. 

I would imagine that most any rough, rock surface would attenuate transmission back and forth.

At least in the radar world, reflectors are simple to manufacture.  Unfortunately, they bounce the signal straight back at you.  A 2.4 GHZ signal is about 5 inches long, so angled reflectors with 5 inch sides may work.  You'd still end up hiking them down the shaft though.

All the radio repeaters I used were for the UHF freqs, and those are more expensive than I could afford.

I think I'll live to see AI powered, autonomous drones that can make these flights and return to the owner unharmed where he can download the data.

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52 minutes ago, chrisski said:

At least in the radar world, reflectors are simple to manufacture.  Unfortunately, they bounce the signal straight back at you.  A 2.4 GHZ signal is about 5 inches long, so angled reflectors with 5 inch sides may work.  You'd still end up hiking them down the shaft though.

All the radio repeaters I used were for the UHF freqs, and those are more expensive than I could afford.

I think I'll live to see AI powered, autonomous drones that can make these flights and return to the owner unharmed where he can download the data.

 I think you are right about the AI for drones, but for X thousands of $$ We could talk Stan into going back :yesss:in for less .:laught16:

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3 hours ago, Morlock said:

Max, you've done it now. You exposed a mafia secret. Watch your back.😅😅😅

Naw, They just put them in 55 gal drums of cement and drop them in the ocean from their Gulfstreams  in a explosives disposal area!

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So the danger is real, and i could tell you stories that you might of heard either way we all know falling into a mine shaft is a nightmare. The thing is and this is my opinion after hearing many awful stories even when they saved the dog a few weeks back, that was not fun. It took 3 days to get the dog out, because of Covid-19  they had a heck of a time finding any first responders that could help. They ended up doing the rescue on their own with the help of a friend who knew a few things about caving and had some rope. Anyway i feel the danger out weighs any treasure you might find, and if you were able to use the drone to locate something how is someone suppose to get it out safely? Be safe out there, the area Dave shot his video is loaded with hazards and don't let curiosity get the best of anyone,  remember what they say a about the cat. :inocent: ht

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10 hours ago, hardtimehermit said:

So the danger is real, and i could tell you stories that you might of heard either way we all know falling into a mine shaft is a nightmare. The thing is and this is my opinion after hearing many awful stories even when they saved the dog a few weeks back, that was not fun. It took 3 days to get the dog out, because of Covid-19  they had a heck of a time finding any first responders that could help. They ended up doing the rescue on their own with the help of a friend who knew a few things about caving and had some rope. Anyway i feel the danger out weighs any treasure you might find, and if you were able to use the drone to locate something how is someone suppose to get it out safely? Be safe out there, the area Dave shot his video is loaded with hazards and don't let curiosity get the best of anyone,  remember what they say a about the cat. :inocent: ht

You are 100% right and when I think about some of the things I have done around mines and mining , especially in Mexico  I still get a cold shiver , there is no rescue service down there !  One time I had heard a story about an old town site and mining area on a very remote ranch in Baja. I got access through a Mexican friend. This ranch was one of those places that they only come to town twice a year and was in the Indian part where no one goes without permission , the government even has signs  just off the highways warning  travelers and the soldiers do not go there either. I had my Samurai loaded with the proper gifts and took off following a hand drawn map.It was 2 track for about 20 miles and fairly open but I could see the MTs . I found the river crossing and that was the end of anything other than cattle trails  to the foothills , eventually after back tracking a couple of times and another 20 miles I came to the ranch and it was still in the 1800,s !  I had introductions from the Bramadero (Sub governor)  and the Delgado (The local  boss or ruler of the whole area) my intro's were written in Spanish and it took awhile and much rapid Spanish between them  to invite me to get out and stay a while. They were more INDIO than Mexican but very nice once we got the paperwork and "gifts" distributed . I was fed in the main house  and bunked in the halve open shed that the few cowboys stayed in . They didn't know what was really going on but made me welcome and gave me a guy who looked about 14 for a guide to the Mine the next day. He would not ride with me but took his horse, I have very little Mexican and he had no English but understood enough to go up to the mine. We went up a wash to its head and then over a pass , there on the Mt side sat a well timbered adit, some old falling down stone buildings ,junk everywhere and nearby an old tear drop metal trailer set upon a stone foundation . Near it was a stone wall covering a dug out buried in the ground, both of them were locked with huge old padlocks. Being double curious and the trailer had a window in the back , it was covered with a metal cover like modern trailers have.  I just had to see what was locked up in it!  Stacking a pile of rocks up against the back too where I could pry it open and look in the window so I got it pried open and the glass was intact  but very dirty so I got a rag and rubbed it hard and standing tiptoed on a pile of loose rocks I peered in of course it was dark since all the other opening was covered. As my eyes adjusted I realized I was looking at several cases of  dynamite with the nitro running down the sides! And on a shelf above that was a pile of little cardboard boxes  with caps . Trying to get down without shaking the trailer  and get to my Sammy which was parked close by  l looked over and saw my escort with an old piece of iron trying to get it in the hasp of the lock and pry it off ! Getting him to understand  with sign of "BOOM"  We headed back to the ranch. When I tried to get them to understand they just gave me me the mexican "schurg" of the shoulders "NADA". When I got back I contacted the Bramadero and told him what I had found. He said he would take care of it. WOW everything there was pristine and untouched by collectors but I had seen enough. No one knew how they had got that trailer up there but it looked like the 1930'S . That was my closest call.

 In my younger years I had got a job on a seismograph crew and was told that I would start as the "Shooters " helper, had to go to classes and get a license and every thing, well we used 60% dynamite , not the old sticks but sticks about 4" X 12 " long and 5 Lbs each , they had a cover that was threaded and  you un-threaded the cover half way and screwed them together to get the charge you wanted and had special poles to put them down a drilled hole screwing on sections until you reached the weight called for that shot. Normally 175 Lbs , or 3 1/2 cases.We used electric caps with 250 or 500 feet of wire on a spool with the cap stored in the center of the spool and that was the last thing to be put it , the dynamite is self was safe to handle until you capped it. We even used it to heat a pot of coffee in the field. Once it was capped there was no screwing around especially when you where shoving 175 lbs down a hole full of water with wood poles .      The wires are kept grounded as they are fed out and only after the charge was covered with enough mud it would not float then you unscrewed the poles from the charge by turning them counter-clockwise and the poles are disconnected as they rise , they have a half open hook in one end and a closed ring in the other and when brought to a 90* angle will unhook. When the charge was fired every had had to be under a steel panel that folded off the shooting truck and they all had a "Jones" safety plug that was plugged into the shooters  control board , the plug was attached to your clothes,no plug no go off! . The dangers of this was some time the charge would be would get loose and float to the top of the hole , if you did not add enough cap wire to get the truck far enough from the hole you could have big problems from all the debris and the blast if you was to close. The company I worked for had lost an entire crew of 5 men when they shot too close.

Fresh dynamite is relatively safe by itself, you can drop it , cut it burn it, run over it with a car, and it won't go off, get a cap around it and its dangerous, old stuff will go off at any time for any reason. so will caps, it don't make any difference if they are electric or fuse type, ANY cap that you find metal detecting should be considered live and dangerous Any dynamite that you find any where should be left alone and considered ready to explode. If it looks wet bend over and ------------.

 

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