by erik dullea & christian rice

Financial forecasts predict the global Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS or drone) market will be worth more than $120 billion in 2020, up from $2 billion in 2016. The mining industry is taking advantage of these newly affordable devices to make operations safer, more accurate and more cost-effective. However, this industry is not without regulatory compliance challenges, including employee safety and privacy protections.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations apply to drones operating on and above the surface, and mine operators flying a UAS above their surface facilities must be aware of their responsibilities under the FAA regulations — even if the UAS flights occur over the mine’s private property. There are two areas the FAA does not regulate: (1) underground flight operations and (2) operations inside of buildings.
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