Mining engineers and miners face a similar barrier
when they are presenting plans or training solution
to investors, Firstnation groups, or even their own
managers. The 3D reality of exploration and mining
does not translate well onto 2D maps and PowerPoint
presentations and vice versa.
Without training in 3D visualization, the human
brain struggles to make such dimensional leaps of
The use of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality
(AR) overcomes this communication challenge by
allowing people to travel to remote exploration and
training for mines sites through a headset. They can
lower themselves into a stope, get a bird’s eye view
of what a tailings pond will look like in a decade, or immerse themselves in the natural environment of
a mine reclaimed. That is what makes the training
more powerful and immersive for miners and mining
engineers who need specific details.
VR is a computer-generated simulation of a real life
environment, whereas AR layers computer-generated
enhancements on top of an existing reality in order to
make it more meaningful.
Virtual reality is good for communication and visualizing
the future, whereas AR is much more of an operational
tool to augment what you are seeing with what you need
The market for VR and A
Ris expected to grow to US$80 billion by 2025
The next opportunity...
Virtual reality is likely to have the biggest impact on job training. Although some mining companies use simulators to train equipment operators, VR tools are less expensive and more versatile. Workers can be trained to handle hazardous situations without having to experience them directly or even be near the site.
We can transport a full virtual reality system to a training centre where multiple people can train on a particular
machine and using data feedback, we can tell if they are paying attention and getting the gist of the training.
If you have a virtual playground, you can get as crazy as you want without putting people at risk.You can create
a world and use it as an environment to imagine what ifs. Similarly, augmented reality would allow messages to pop up in the corner of a miner’s goggles to, say, warning of unsafe air quality, provide feedback on the stability of a rock face, or give instructions about what to do next.
The mining industry has an opportunity to shake off its reputation as an innovation laggard by
incorporating virtual and augmented reality to improve training, communication, and data visualization. The
obvious downside of embracing VR, and new technology in general, is more redundancy as tasks traditionally
performed by humans become automated.
The market for VR and AR is expected to grow to US$80 billion by 2025, according to Goldman Sachs in January 2019.