‘GIS specialists in mining must possess the knowledge of other sectors as...

‘GIS specialists in mining must possess the knowledge of other sectors as this sector is dependent on the allied applications’

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Narendra Kavedia
Narendra Kavedia,
General Manager – Exploration, Hindustan Zinc Ltd

GIS and remote sensing has been part of the mining industry for long now. Narendra Kavedia tells us about the latest technology trends in the mining domain and tips for aspiring geospatialists in the mining sector

As a geospatial professional, how and why did you start working in the mining industry?

I am basically a geologist and started with rubber, pencil and generation of hard copy maps. My role in my mining organization includes exploration, enhancing the life of mine plans and finding new mines.

GIS and remote sensing has been part of the mining industry for long now. What are the latest technology trends in the mining domain and how is geospatial playing an enabling role here?

The combination of satellite images with geophysical data is really useful to enhance the mineral alteration zones with more confidence. This technique can reduce the enhancement of the false anomalies and can narrow down the mineral search to prospective areas.

What is the level of utilization of geospatial technology in the mining industry? Is it adequately used in your company?

It is extensively utilised in the various stages – in exploration [all data being on GIS platform]; mining [drilling and blasting, slope stability radar, truck dispatch system etc]; environment management and also in CSR (corporate social responsibility) activities.

What are the typical benefits accrued on use of geospatial technology?
We have recently introduced cavity monitoring systems in underground mines for reconciliation. The outcome will help to establish appropriate modifying factors for reserve conversion; and also the areas where the mining losses can be recovered. The slope stability radar and other geotechnology studies help in advance on possible failures. We also have wireless communication underground.

What issues do you think the geo industry needs to address?
The main issues that need to be addressed are mine sustainability and environmental challenges.

It is usually observed that geological, geotechnical and allied data that is gathered on a day to day basis from functional mines stays just as data. How can this be better changed?

The metadata (e.g. reports) lying in the shelves can be geo-referenced and indexed. This then becomes dynamic and at one click the relevant data can be obtained. Data management systems should be capable of handling metadata.

What would be your advice to others like you who seek careers in this domain?
Technology changes in every sphere of life and with new versions replacing the earlier one with great enhancement capability in data manipulations that has to be meaningfully interpreted.

What are the present day challenges faced by GIS specialists in the mining sector?
Today’s GIS specialists must possess the knowledge of other sectors as mining sector is dependent on the allied applications.

What are your views about what lies ahead for the mining industry and the opportunities?
In one word – significant; however, the mining sector is influenced by commodity price cycle and the safety will always be a big concern.