My name’s Pablo Segarra and I am Associate Professor at ETSI Minas y Energía – Universidad Politécnica de Madrid.
What is your role, and your team’s, in this project? I am part of the UPM team that is leading WP 2 of the DEQ. We are coordinating tasks related to improved rock mining through blasting and with an innovative treatment of the material extracted. These activities aim to digitalize the different quarrying steps, like drilling and blasting, and reduce energy consumption and gas emission. We also support the implementation and validation of these solutions in one of the pilot sites.
Why DEQ matters and why does it matter to you personally? Quarrying has certain specific characteristics that make it difficult to implement novel technologies that are used in mining. In this regard, the implementation of automatic navigation of the drill rig will make marking the drill grid in the bench unnecessary since the drill rig will position and collar automatically. This technology will also provide in real-time the existence of cavities that may compromise blasting and assess changes in lithology that can be used for grade control and to adapt the explosive energy. On the other hand, the full digitalization of the process will enable to store of different KPIs as a first step for M2M optimization process. Developing and implementing these technologies in the quarry site is a must for the modernization of the sector and provide sustainable low-impact mining that enlarges the social acceptance of the community.
What is your opinion on the future of this sector and the role of universities and academia in its development?
The future of the sector is linked to its ability to achieve full digitalization and introduce new technologies to achieve more efficient rock mining in terms of energy consumption, emissions, productivity, and reduction of waste material. In this regard, universities play an active role in developing and implementing new technologies into the industry. The University is also crucial in the education of new engineers and professionals to handle these new technologies and have the skills to analyze the massive data generated by the digitalization of the process.