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Philippines government to use drones in mining sector

Philippines: Following the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DNER) urge to hold strict environmental standards in mining, students from the University of the Philippines (UP) are now pushing for the use of drone technology that will make auditing mining firms cheaper, faster, and more accessible.

This marks a significant step to use and invest in drone technology in regulating the highly-scrutinized mining industry. Recent issues surrounding the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and its recent closure of major mining firms throughout the country have sparked public outcry.

“Monitoring and auditing mining firms using traditional tools is an expensive procedure done over weeks and months, but with the use of drones, we can perform the process in mere days. This can help in making sure mining firms follow regulations,” said UP student Luis Sia.

To develop the technology, Sia started AltitudeX, a 100-percent Filipino-owned technology startup in late 2015, to provide fast, reliable, and cost-effective services using innovations in Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) or drone technology.

AltitudeX envisions pushing drone technology to offer services from aerial mapping to videography to offer progressive solutions across mining, property, construction, agriculture and other industries.

“With our technology, government can instantly get data from mining companies that will otherwise be hard to collect,” Sia said. “What we can do is fly drones over the area to take pictures that are geo-tagged. This information is supplemented by data from Ground Control Points (GCP) to create survey-grade maps,” he added.

Initially used for military purposes, drones now have applications in surveying and mapping, photography, logistics, entertainment, and other industries.