Capturing data at a distance: Improving ground support at Kidd operations

Kidd operations uses an autonomous laser scanner, the Emesent Hovermap, to safely capture geotechnical data throughout the mine.

Located in Timmins, Northern Ontario, Canada, Kidd Operations is an ultra-deep underground base metal mine, mining copper, zinc, and silver.

Mining at 3000 meters below the surface presents significant geotechnical challenges; the high ground stress limits the mining rate and the profitability of the mine.

Mining in such an environment is engineering-driven and relies on accurate, timely data.

“Deformation is prevalent at this depth,” said Glencore Kidd operations manager mine technical services, Iain McKillip.

“We need to know that it’s moving, to be able to react to it, and design support systems for it. Hovermap is able to collect such precision that we can actually monitor that deformation in the scan data.”

The Kidd operations team needed tools that could help them get data from a distance. With Hovermap, they were able to quickly and easily conduct remote inspections and capture data of inaccessible stopes and drives.

“The Hovermap LiDAR mobile scanner, when attached to our drone, allows us to fly autonomously underground. It allows us to see into areas that might not be accessible for humans,” added Kidd operations ground control engineer-in-training Sierra Mercer.

“We use the data for rock mass geometry characterisation. We can do structural analysis, convergence monitoring, and identifying potential geological hazards.”

Using Hovermap, the geotechnical team are able to capture critical data of potential geological hazards in a stope or in a drive, enabling them to make informed decisions and design solutions.

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