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Drones become key asset in mining sector

Published by Josh Spires on 30 January, 2024, updated on 15 February, 2024.

Drones become key asset in mining sector

A recent Australian Federal Government study estimated expanding drone use is creating a major economic boost for Australia, with savings to businesses expected to reach up to $10 billion over the next 20 years.

The significant cost savings through the use of drones is having the greatest impact in the mining sector, as well as agriculture, forestry, construction and fisheries industries.

There are more than 700 people each in Australia being trained in drone operation and 98 companies gaining licenses, with close to 10,000 drones currently operating commercially.

A key in the drone industry - Sphere Drones - has advanced the use of drones by businesses with a self-sustaining mobile drone platform that enables them to collect aerial data with a click of a button, across any terrain and in very remote areas.



Called HubX, this rugged and self-sustaining mobile drone platform arrives ready to work in 30 minutes, so businesses can capture aerial data on-site and deliver the data back to the office with a single dick of a button.

The all-terrain, solar-powered, and internet-enabled HubX breaks down the barriers of Drone-in-a-Box (DiaB) deployment for mine sites, farms, utilities, and emergency services. In addition, it has in-built redundancies to ensure businesses will keep flying in remote areas and network failures.

Sphere Drones' CEO, Paris said "HubX has developed entirely at Sphere Drones' Sydney headquarters for use by miners and utilities to streamline the most time-consuming surveying tasks, savings them thousands of hours and millions of dollars in the process.

"We have already attracted interest from our existing and new clients in Australia and overseas looking to either complement their own operations of drones or looking to Sphere Drones to manage their remote drone operations", he added.


HubX Paris Cockinos


High-profile clients of Sphere Drones include Yancoal, Rio Tinto, Fortescue Mining Group, Glencore, Roy Hill, Woodside Petroleum, Thiess, Sydney Water, and Agriculture Victoria.

Adrian Wall, Survey Superintendent and Chief Remote Pilot at Yancoal's Mt Thorley Warkworth site said "With the evolution of HubX, I can see its potential to streamline a surveyor's work-loads, reducing their time in the field plus increasing data collection frequency through the automation of UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) operations.

"HubX includes everything you need to roll out a BVLOS (beyond visual line sight) operation. It's innovative, turnkey, and portable which can help businesses like ours meet their daily operational requirements", he added.

To date, Sphere Drones has helped more than 11,000 clients - including 3,000 corporates - in the sale or rental of drones, parts and accessories, software, training and support for airborne and underwater drone operations.

Mr Cockinos concluded "Sphere Drones provides the game-changing benefits of drone technology to save costs and provide more efficiencies to miners and other organisations."

This was originally published in the AFR on the 29th of January 2024.

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