Canadian mining automation evolution: The digital mine en route to minewide automation
This paper reviews the evolution of Canadian surface and underground mining automation, principally relating to: advances in communications, initial development of machine teleoperation from line-of-sight remote control, and islands of automation. The eventual role of telerobotics and minewide robotic mining remains to be resolved. The progress and approaches adopted have tended to vary within each sector of the mining industry. Recent information technology advances have made possible the Digital Mine; in which information associated with all mining processes, however dispersed, would be integrated with support systems using new communications technology. The Digital Mine will provide the information infrastructure to serve as the foundation for minewide automation. This paper concludes by reviewing the issues likely to govern implementation success, relating to: mining process design, machine design, machine intelligence, and mine planning and control.
Automation, Teleoperation, Robotics, Digital mine, Communications.