Aussie Mining Co Has Lost 9 Drones To Eagle Attacks
” It’s all true: Australia has the toughest wildlife. The wedge-tailed eagle, Australia’s largest bird of prey, with a wingspan of up to 2.5 metres (8.2 feet), is proving it. In the Goldfields of Western Australia, mining company Gold Fields is competing with the birds — for the skies.
So far, the birds are winning. The company has been using unmanned aerial vehicles as a surveillance tool since July 2014. The Trimble UX5 made of lightweight foam and carbon fiber, is equipped with a 24-megapixel camera for high-resolution image capture, has a cruising speed of 80 kilometres per hour (50 mph) and has a wingspan of one metre (39.4 inches). Each unit costs around AU$10,000, with another AU$10,000 for the camera.”
” It’s also no match for the wedge-tailed eagle. Since the company started using the UAVs in its St Ives operation, 20 kilometres from the mining town of Kambalda, it has lost 10 of the units. One of those was lost to human error. The other nine? Eagles.
” That [wedge-tailed eagle] is my single biggest problem in the environment where I work for the UX5…I am on my 12th [UAV],” said surveyor Rick Steven, who pilots the UAVs, at the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy’s Open Pit Operators’ Conference in Kalgoorlie-Boulder, according to a report by the ABC.”