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Robot Scans Silver Mine

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NOTTINGHAM, England, May 6, 2008 -- A laser scanning robot named 3D-R1 captured more than 5 GBs of data used to create a three-dimensional map of the San Jose silver mine in Zacatecas, Mexico.

3D Laser Mapping Ltd., based in Nottingham, England, conducted the survey for Arian Silver Corp. of Vancouver, Canada, to further define the mine’s potential by providing a volumetric calculation of previously mined areas. The survey also enabled Arian Silver to replace existing mine drawings with geometrically accurate plans to prepare for its second phase of drilling.

The San Jose mine has the potential for near-term underground mechanized mining, Arian said in a statement. The company completed the first phase of its project, a 5000-meter drill program, in May 2007.
3D-R1 (Photo courtesy 3D Laser Mapping Ltd.)
The remote-operated survey vehicle used laser scanning units with wireless communications and robotic technology to capture the data in just 3 ½ days. Covering 2.2 km of underground drives, stopes and access ramps, the robot conducted more than 80 scans a day, collecting an estimated 99.36 million individual data points -- more than 5 GBs. The raw data was then processed to create a 3-D plan of the underground mining operation.

3D Laser Mapping developed the 3D-R1with Jobling Purser RSV LLP of Newcastle Upon Tyne; it was originally designed for use in underground mining operations to reduce risk and increase efficiency of survey operations. It was developed from a prototype vehicle first designed by James Jobling-Purser as part of an undergraduate project at the Camborne School of Mines at the University of Exeter.

The device, which is compatible with the Riegl LMS-Z series of laser scanners, is comprised of a high-performance, long-range 3-D laser scanner; software; and a high-resolution digital camera. The laser transmits a light pulse that is reflected off a surface or feature and bounced back to a receiver. Using the time taken for each pulse to be returned and the known speed, the system can automatically calculate the distance of the feature from the unit. 3-D models can be produced from this data.

“3D-R1 is extremely efficient, the speed of data capture is astonishing and the end results far exceed anything that can be produced by conventional surveying techniques,” said Owain Morton, Arian’s Mining Engineer. “I estimate that you could employ a mine surveyor for a complete year and not get the same amount of data and accuracy of plans as delivered by the robot."

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May 2008
3D Laser Mapping3D-R1 San Jose silver mineArian SilverBiophotonicsCommunicationsEmploymentfiber opticsJobling Purserlaser scanning robotNews & Featuresremote-operated survey vehiclestopes

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