Hindustan Zinc upraises safe, smart & sustainable mining in India

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  • May 29,23
With drones, IIOT sensors, SmartDrive EVs, and Personnel Tracking System, one of world’s largest zinc-lead-silver producers, Hindustan Zinc is raising bars for the Indian mining sector by setting up advanced-level technology in mining and underground mining operation
Hindustan Zinc upraises safe, smart & sustainable mining in India

Arun Misra, CEO, Hindustan Zinc

Hindustan Zinc has strived towards excellence for decades by developing the mines using best-in-class technology and implementing safe, smart, and sustainable operations across its sites. The company has established numerous production and R&D facilities, including activities throughout Rajasthan. It is one of the world’s largest Zinc-Lead-Silver producers, has embarked on a holistic digital transformation program for its entire value chain, to drive a different way of working for a sustainable future. “With a data-driven, agile, integrated, and collaborative approach, we are enabling better and real-time data-based decision-making through the integration of technologies across the value chain, resulting in reducing waste, increasing resource efficiency, and driving up productivity, improving safe work practices while promoting the use of renewable energy sources,” said Arun Misra, CEO, Hindustan Zinc.

Pursuant to the goal 'Mines of the Future', Hindustan Zinc is infusing a digital way of working across all verticals of operations. The key operations are mining, milling, and smelting before finished goods go to market. The company is using drones in UG mining operations to scan stopes and volumetry measurements of bulk material. It also uses computer vision-based technologies to detect quality defects and unsafe working conditions which help in improving product quality and safety standards.

“It is very pertinent to note, that in line with the overarching goal of creating 'Mines of the Future', we have identified, and remain consistently focused on investing in our strategic priorities. Simultaneously, we are focused on Sustainability Goals 2025 to map progress on outcomes driven by our sustainability vision of ‘Zero Harm, Zero Discharge, Zero Waste’, we have embarked on an ambitious sustainability journey,” added Misra. “As one of the leaders in the mining industry, we were declared 2.41 Water Positive Company based on assurance carried out by a third-party organisation. Hindustan Zinc has set up a network of Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) expanding the capacity to 60 MLD. The long-term target is to be 5 times Water Positive Company and achieve a 25 per cent reduction in freshwater consumption by 2025.”

Elevating workman’s well-being
To ensure safe mining, Hindustan Zinc uses collision avoidance systems and personnel tracking. A collision avoidance system improves operator situational awareness in underground mining and prevents machine-to-machine and man-to-machine interactions. A personnel tracking system facilitates the transmission of alert messages from the control room to the Individual tag and vice versa. “Implementation of anti-collision (proximity sensor) system in HEMM, Individual Cap Lamp based sensor aiding in personal tracking with SOS function in underground mine, Real-time microseismic monitoring for the stability of underground mine, and conducting underground drone survey for scanning inaccessible areas in mine like Stopes, Silos are some of the few innovative digital techniques implemented that reassure our commitment towards Safety First work culture,” he said.

3D Simulator Training for underground equipment at Hindustan Zinc

Hindustan Zinc has also strengthened its mining operations by including various cutting-edge technologies in its day-to-day operations, which includes a 3D simulator, Augmented/Virtual Reality tool used to teach heavy machinery operations to operators. Additionally, automated, and tele-remote drilling operations are being used during the shift changeover (smoke hours) to increase production, improve safety, visibility, and control from outside the drilling cabin. Electrical substation automation has facilitated faster troubleshooting and reduced non-working hours due to reasons like power tripping. It has also improved power quality, voltage sag, and swell events, which has helped to improve and optimize energy consumption.

The mining industry has seen a tremendous surge in technological advancements over the past few years, and companies are constantly seeking ways to keep their employees up to date with the latest innovations. The company has taken a proactive step in this direction by launching its own Mining Academy. The Academy is designed to provide employees with training and education on the latest mining technologies and operations, helping employees to stay ahead of the curve in an ever-evolving industry. By investing in the skills and knowledge of its workforce, Hindustan Zinc is not only ensuring the safety and productivity of its operations but also contributing to the growth and sustainability of the mining industry.

Electrifying the journey
Hindustan Zinc has become the first mining company in India to introduce electric utility vehicles into underground mines. Hindustan Zinc has inducted battery-powered service equipment and utility vehicles into underground mining to help decarbonize and improve environmental sustainability in the mining industry. The SmartDrive EVs can be designed and customised to meet the specific needs of underground mining operations. Each of the SmartDrive EVs is based on a modular Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) architecture that is designed to convert a higher percentage of electrical energy into useful work, reducing energy waste and improving overall operational efficiency.