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Drone company marks 100 flights underground at Hoyle Pond

Milestone comes during one-year mark of SafeSight-Newmont Goldcorp partnership

Safesight Exploration is marking 100 successful drone flights underground at Hoyle Pond Mine.

Drone technology developed by the North Bay company has been used at the Newmont Goldcorp underground mine in Timmins to conduct surveys and inspections over the last year.

SafeSight’s drones are equipped with light detection and ranging (LiDAR) capability, enabling the drone to enter areas of the mine that could otherwise prove hazardous to workers.

The drone can conduct surveys and inspections at less risk and often faster than an employee, increasing safety and improving productivity.

SafeSight remarked on its successful 12-month partnership with Newmont Goldcorp in a Nov. 12 news release.

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“Over the past year, our drone program has allowed our survey team to safely increase the speed, accuracy and capacity of our scans while the operator is at a safe distance out of harm's way,” said David Poulin, Hoyle Pond’s chief surveyor, in the release.

Over the course of the partnership, the partners have formalized operational procedures and supporting technology for underground flight.

“Weekly and, at times, daily flights helped us understand key functional requirements to ensure scans could be delivered in under an hour post flight, so that we didn’t slow down other elements of the value chain,” said Jamieson McCausland, SafeSight’s lead Robotics engineer.

SafeSight said it expects the program will continue to change the way surveys are done throughout the industry.