Team Commuro, London

The mining sector is in the throes of an unprecedented transformation. As the sector looks to become more sustainable, create more value and work with communities, we look at companies making a difference. Strayos says it offers a solution that does all this and more.

Many companies often find it hard to articulate in one sentence what they are about. No such problem for Ravi Sahu, founder and CEO of New York based Strayos. “We help mining companies understand their drill and blast operations better.”

Strayos started life as an MBA project that Ravi worked on while he was graduating four years ago at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri. It is now based in New York with a brilliant team and a growing list of clients.

“We have a technology platform that allows mining companies to generate information utilising drone images, camera inputs and IoT data that helps them answer the following questions: where should they drill and what should be the depth of each hole. The platform also provides a snapshot of the geological information down the bore hole.”

 

The information is crucial as it helps companies understand geology of the mine better. Knowing how hard or soft the layers are helps teams make better decisions about how much explosive material they should use. “This can save costs of up to 30 per cent,” Ravi says. 

Strayos builds the visual intelligence platform that helps companies get more value from their drilling operations. But the platform harnesses something else too – data.

The value of data

“Mining has always been a very data heavy industry. The data is available but is (often) not put to use,” Ravi says.

Ravi believes that power of data at mining companies must be harnessed better.

Data can help build a picture that captures the current geological structure of the mine in real time.

“We have developed hundreds of geophysics algorithms that can corelate to the information that the data is giving us about the changing geology in a mine site after each drill and blast operation.”

Most mining sites have historical geological models and often they are not up to date. The platform is able to provide an up to date picture.

The sustainability factor

How effective drill and blast operations are directly impact sustainability KPIs. “How and where you drill is important. Good drilling practice ensures use of optimum explosives,” Ravi explains.

Optimum use of explosives, in turn, leads to lesser vibration and sound – making life that much easier for communities who live near mining sites.

“Also, the waste that is generated can be reduced. Even if 2-3 percent of the waste per drill and blast operation can be cut, eventually this has a huge impact on the mining process. Less energy is utilised downstream, it results in less dust and an optimised operation overall that is energy efficient and gentler to the environment.”

The future of mining

Ravi sees two developments that are inevitable in the mining sector. The use of data-driven decision making and the automated mine that doesn’t put humans in harm’s way (but empowers teams to make decisions from a distance).

“The advantage of new machine learning technologies mean that you can harness the data that is being generated on a continuous basis to make better decisions. Once you corelate the data from the drill and blast operation with that from processing (for example), you begin to have effective levers to optimise an operation.”

Strayos hopes to use those levers to their advantage.

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