As one of the first companies in South Africa to be granted a commercial drone licence, Rocketmine is contributing to increasing productivity and safety at current mining operations as well as helping to shape the mines of the future.

Submit a nomination for the 2021 edition of Mining Elites in Africa

Traditional mine surveys comprised a manned aircraft flying over a mine twice a month. That gave mine operator 24 data collection point a year. In addition, because everything was paper based, it would take up to 10 days for surveyors to provide this data to mines.

On the other hand, Rocketmine drones, operated by Civil Aviation Authority licensed pilots, use photography and mapping software that enable them to collect up to 200 data points a month – the information is available on the same day as a flight. So whether a mine is in the planning or operational stage, the company ensures that its clients are able to meet their deadlines and productivity targets.

Today, it services mines throughout the continent including Nigeria, Namibia and Ghana and has a client base that includes Exxaro, Rio Tinto and South32.

Rocketmine has been instrumental in ensuring that operations are optimised at Exxaro’s Grootegeluk mine in Limpopo. The company’s survey and mapping solution gets surveyors out of dangerous areas to increase safety and data turnaround time. What’s more, the company provides data on progress on each 12 hourly shift. This ensures that there can be realtime planning and execution to improve efficiency and production on a shift-by-shift basis.

Rocketmine is also involved in on the continent is the Belfast mine in Mpumalanga. Operated by Exxaro, it is the first mine in Africa that will have a digital twin. Rocketmine is providing drone mapping, virtual reality visualisation and 3D modelling projects to ensure that construction of the mine is on schedule.