Japan’s Terra Drone is forming a new subsidiary in Canada, Terra Drone Mining, to provide unmanned mapping and inspection services to underground mines worldwide. The announcement follows an investment agreement between Terra Drone and Canada’s Unmanned Aerial Services Inc. (UAS Inc.), an inspection service provider for indoor industrial confined spaces and underground mines. UAS Inc.’s client roster includes mining companies Vale, Newmont Goldcorp, Barrick Gold, and Glencore.
Terra Drone’s investment will enable Terra Drone Mining to expand UAS Inc.’s business beyond North America to South/Central America, South Africa, Central Asia, Russia, and Australia.
Mine operators can use drones to obtain 3D models of the mines and prevent workers from entering hazardous locations. Terra Drone utilizes SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping) to create highly detailed maps of underground areas. The company notes that mining remains one of the world’s most hazardous industrial occupations, with dangers that include falling material, flooding, and underground fires and explosions. More than 20 fatalities have been recorded year- to-date in U.S. mines alone.