March 2021
Volume 73    Issue 3

Haul-road monitoring in openpit mines using unmanned aerial vehicles: A case study at Bald Mountain Mine site

Medinac, Filip; Bamford, Thomas; Hart, Matthew; Kowalczyk, Michal; Esmaeili, Kamran


Improved haul-road conditions can have a positive impact on mine operations, resulting in heightened safety, productivity gains, longer tire life and lower maintenance costs. For these reasons, a monitoring program is required to ensure the operational efficiency of the haul roads. Currently, at Bald Mountain Mine, monthly site severity studies, ad hoc inspections by frontline supervisors or operator feedback reporting are used to assess road conditions. These methods are subjective and provide low temporal resolution data. This case study presents novel unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technologies, applied on a critical section of haul road at Bald Mountain, to showcase the potential for monitoring haul roads. The results show that orthophotos and digital elevation models can be used to assess the road smoothness condition and to check the road design compliance. Moreover, the aerial mapping allows detection of surface water, rock spillage and potholes on the road that can be quickly repaired/removed by the dedicated road maintenance team.


Full-text paper:
Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2020) 37:1877–1883,


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