Israeli automated drone company, Airobotics announced today the beginning of an exclusive distribution partnership with engineering company RockBlast to allow Chilean mining companies to utilize the advanced Airobotics system at mining sites. In the permanent search for new technologies, RockBlast became the first company to introduce a fully autonomous drone system into South America to enhance and improve the mining industry.
The mining industry in Chile is significant with over 60 large companies with workers in open pits or underground mines. As one of the leading mining companies in Chile, Minera Centinela is actively seeking to improve the efficiency and productivity of its operations while creating a safe work environment for its employees and the surrounding area. Airobotics’ autonomous drones will be used at the Minera Centinela mine to help achieve this goal with their 24/7 multi-purpose functionality and safe and easy operations which do not interfere with mine operations.
“We’re successfully implementing our autonomous drones with Tier 1 mining companies in the US, Australia and Israel, and we’re excited to expand our operations into Chile, the Optimus drone will help improve Minera Centinela’s competitiveness in the market, increase efficiency, and improve safety for its employees. Our partnership with RockBlast will also allow us to deliver our disruptive technology to mines across Chile improving the overall mining industry in the country,” said Ran Krauss, CEO and Co-Founder of Airobotics
Minera Centinela is part of the Antofagasta group, the largest mining group in Chile. Minera Centinela is located in the Antofagasta Region, specifically 21 kilometers from the town of Sierra Gorda. In addition, it maintains a dock in the town of Michilla, a coastal town belonging to the municipality of Mejillones. Centinela is a mine of sulfides and oxides, therefore, it has two productive processes: on the one hand, it produces copper concentrate with gold and silver using the flotation process. On the other hand, it generates copper cathodes through solvent extraction and electrowinning. During 2016 Minera Centinela produced 236 thousand tons of fine copper. Its corporate structure is composed of 70% owned by Antofagasta Minerals and 30% owned by Marubeni Corporation. Its main commitment is to develop a mining characterized by its operational, sustainable and innovative excellence; committed to the safety and health of its workers and collaborators, with people, the environment, transparency and development of the territories where its operations are located.
Automation has boosted productivity at mine sites by 25% and drones are one of the most versatile and cost-effective ways to integrate automation into the industry. Without the need for human pilots, they can operate safely in the most hazardous and remote sites. Airobotics’ automated drones perform a variety of applications, which will be implemented at RockBlast’s customer mine sites, enabling continuous operation of the open pit while retrieving highly accurate data of operational progress. These applications include:
- Stockpile volumes and end-of-month reconciliation
- Terrain mapping and change detection
- Asset management and scheduling
- Situational awareness and emergency response
- Infrastructure and equipment inspection
- Security and surveillance
“Drones have positioned themselves as a technological tool of high value throughout the world, particularly in mining. As part of the growing digitization of information in mining, the data obtained by drones has become an essential factor for decision making in the different stages of the mining process and RockBlast, together with Airobotics, is a part of this new era,” said Horacio Gutierrez Abelaida, CEO of RockBlast.
Airobotics has developed a pilotless drone solution, the first of its kind in the global market. Airobotics provides an end-to-end, fully automatic solution for collecting aerial data and gaining invaluable insights. The industrial grade platform is available on-site and on-demand, enabling industrial facilities to access premium aerial data in a faster, safer, more efficient way.
The team at Airobotics fuses expertise in aerospace hardware design, robust electronic systems, leading software engineering, and years of experience in commercial drone operations. This varied experience has allowed them to design a solution suited to address the needs of the world’s most complex industrial environments.