Eesti Energia using drones to measure mines ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Survey drones being used at an Eesti Energia mine.
Survey drones being used at an Eesti Energia mine. Source: ERR / Rene Kundla

National energy company Eesti Energia is relying on drones to help map and measure its mines with the aim of saving time and creating safer working conditions for staff.

Mine surveyors of Eesti Energia subsidiary Enefit Kaevandused use drones to map material stores, as well as various objects, such as the area of a soon to be created solar farm.

Chief mine surveyor of the company Allan Viil said that using drones saves a lot of time compared to traditional survey work. "If it used to take a person half a day of fieldwork to measure an oil share store, they can fly over it in half an hour now."

One argument in favor of using drones was workers' safety as it means surveyors need to spend less time climbing over dangerous terrain," said CEO of Enefit Kaevandused Andres Vainola. "Drones were procured and introduced after we sought to ensure the safety of our mine surveyors as they spend their days walking oil shale stores, limestone heaps and workings. They are in charge of surveys to determine mining volumes and soil shifts. Because safety is a priority for us, we are always looking for ways to improve it,"

Vainola added that the company has been keeping an eye on developments in suitable land-surveying technology.

"We had tested a few drones for taking images for recultivation purposes, but they did not yield the best results. However, drone technology is developing at breakneck speed. I believe that both the technology and our needs have come together now," the CEO said.

Analysis by the Tallinn University of Technology Geology Institute showed that drone surveys are sufficiently accurate for the company's needs.

"Their accuracy can be compared to that of GNSS devices and matches the level to which mine surveyors are required to be accurate in their work," Allen Viil said.

Mine surveyors of Enefit Kaevandused have two specialized drones at their disposal.

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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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