Traditionally, a geologist oversees grade control in the mining industry. However, over the past two decades, we have seen an emergence of technology that assists with this procedure. Today will take a closer look at grade control and how it can improve the mining industry.
What is Grade Control?
Grade control is an essential part of the mining process because the metal being extracted from the ground is never constant.he first grade control machines to have guidance systems were introduced in the late 1990s. Since then, this technology has become more prominent – many manufacturers of earthmoving equipment now offer guidance systems that control blades and other machine parts using GPS technology.
How does it work?
Drilling machinery provides the operator with real-time grade guidance while they are drilling. What this means is that they are given information about the desired depth, slope and alignments (which was traditionally given to them by a specialist inspecting the site). Drilling samples are sent to laboratories for geologists to access the grade.
Why use it?
Controlling the grade is important for two reasons:
The grade of the mineral can vary dramatically due to depth. Geologists will use this information to define the economic limits, to ensure there is return on investment when mining the mineral.
At one point in an operation, mining becomes unprofitable because the grade of the metal is too low – the value of the metal in the ore is less than what it costs to mine it. Grade control stops businesses from running at a loss.
The milling process is designed to be as efficient as possible by being performed at a specific grade. When mining in a high-grade zone, it is possible for some of the metal to be lost unless it is blended with low grade metal.
Grade control technology improves efficiency, increasing the productivity and profitability of an operation. Grade control systems allow machinery to operate at a continuous pace, rather than having to stop for a grade checker to come and measure the excavation, as with conventional equipment – a process that often needs reworking. It also decreases the need to do prep work and to check the grade after the deck. The overall benefit is that it will save you time (and thus money), without compromising on accuracy.
We hope the information provided has given you an insight into grade control and its benefits. If you require a drill with grade control for your project, please contact us as we may be able to assist you.