Northern Star and Emesent working on inspired innovation


Northern Star has joined forces with technology innovator Emesent to enhance data capture and processing at its operations.

Across more than 10 years of robotics and autonomy research, Emesent has discovered ways of capturing high-quality data in the most difficult of access areas, such as underground mines.

The end goal is to facilitate intelligent digital mines, de-risk and boost efficiency of mining operations.

The project has seen Northern Star and Emesent, together with the CSIRO, collaborate as part of the Federal Government’s Cooperative Research Centres Projects (CRC-P).

The collaboration looks towards the innovation of end-to-end solutions for underground mine data, ensuring the team above-ground can get the best information possible for decision making.

For Emesent, this means facilitating the handling and analysis of captured data, and forming agreements with mining software providers, such as Deswik and Maptek, to assist in the process.

Emesent has also been seeking new ways of overcoming current barriers to adopt new technology, with the aim to continually evolve its Hovermap solution.

Northern Star has been testing the Hovermap solution at its operations, and exploring practical solutions for data capture and analysis. This underpins a more refined and forward-thinking mining process.

The process has already been fruitful, with Northern Star harnessing the technology to produce insights not previously possible.

Northern Star general manager for technical services Jeff Brown said the project has been evolving the company’s operational smarts.

“Acquiring data with the drone is fantastic but what we’re really interested in is what that means for our operational and technical teams – how they use the data and how it changes their ability to determine a better outcome,” he says.

“Our survey team has been able to identify issues that would not have been possible using our traditional void surveying tools. The quality of the data throughout the void scan is significantly improved, and the ability to investigate specific areas leads to greater insights into the performance of the mining process.”

Emesent co-founder and chief technology officer Farid Kendoul is buoyed by the uptake of the Hovermap technology.

“There was an initial learning curve to adopt Hovermap, but now it’s being used practically every day – because we’re seeing the benefits,” he said.

“It is a great benefit to engage our customers early in the development process so we can better understand their requirements and provide a product that will solve their problems.

“It gives us confidence that our services and products are being extensively tested in operational environments.”

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