DMIRS begins drone trial

Drone technology trialed by DMIRS’ for business as usual activities.
Date: Wednesday, 19 July 2017

The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) has begun a six month drone trial to establish if remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) technology can be incorporated into the department’s daily business.

DMIRS begins drone trial
DMIRS’ Senior Geoscientist, Sandra Romano, at Lake Lefroy near Kambalda.

Before purchasing the drone earlier this year, DMIRS established a project team to assess the risks, opportunities and potential cost advantages. Following thorough research and analysis, the group concluded that it is an opportune time to implement the technology, particularly given recent changes in legislation which have made it cheaper and easier to commercially operate RPAs.

Deputy Director General, Dr Phil Gorey, explained that many Australian government agencies are embracing the technology as RPA technology lends itself to meeting the challenges and expectations that come with operating in an increasingly complex environment.

“We believe that RPA technology will help improve DMIRS’ processes, make operations safer for our staff and improve situational awareness,” said Dr Gorey.

Eight DMIRS officers recently completed rigorous Remotely Piloted License (RePL) Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) approved training to be able to trial the drone, which will cover departmental ‘business as usual’ activities, including abandoned mine site investigations, detailed mapping and landform and rehabilitation performance.

DMIRS’ Geological Survey WA (GSWA) Division has started the trial this week with a field excursion to some classic geological sites in Kalgoorlie and Kambalda. The aim is to record 2700 million year old volcanic rock sequences that host both gold and nickel mineralisation.

“The DMIRS’ licensed operators will be flying the drone in line with the department’s operating procedures which have been developed in consultation with other government agencies, including the Department of Transport and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, and leading energy companies such as BHP and Woodside,” said Dr Gorey.

For more information about the drone trial, please contact DMIRS Acting Director Operations, Environment, Dan Machin on 08 9222 3446.