Find out how drones are enhancing Russia’s exploration potential

As technology advances, so too does the need to incorporate new innovations in the mining world.

The latest technology in use at our Russian operations is the coveted and cutting edge Phantom 3 Professional drone, which is allowing our exploration and land surveying teams to reach otherwise inaccessible areas.

Exploration in Far Eastern Russia has been impossible during the summer months, when the Arctic tundra melts and the heavy vehicles that carry drills and pumps can damage the fragile terrain and sink into the soft swampy ground.

The Phantom drone makes what was previously impossible a reality. Equipped with a live four-way camera, the drone is managed by a mobile app from the site. It has more accurate location targeting and is faster than other drones, which allows it to directly hover over areas that exploration is interested in, and takes high resolution photos with advanced video capabilities for surveying.

Technical Services and the Survey Department under the leadership of Andrey Zhulin, Chief Land Surveyor, Kupol and Dmitriy Kotenev, Deputy Chief Surveyor, Kupol, have already used the Phantom drone at Dvoinoye to survey parts around the operation that could not have previously been viewed in the summer months.

“There are certain things that can only be done through a drone. If you need to survey a vast area of land, especially in the precarious tundra, you can do it all in one go, reducing the amount of physical labour in the field and, since it is a live view, there is no lag time,” explained Andrey.

The Phantom also comes with an intelligent battery that can continuously calculate the amount of power needed to return to its operator while it’s in the air so that you know when it needs to recharge. It can go more than five kilometres without having to be recharged.

“We are excited about the potential. Aerial photography isn’t new to mining, but we used to have to use airplanes. But, drones are safer, more efficient, cheaper and give us much more flexibility,” said Dmitriy.

The Phantom 3 hovers over Kupol

Andrey and Dmitriy watch the drone’s movements live