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Automated estimation of rock fragment distributions using computer vision and its application in mining

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3 Author(s)
Salinas, R.A. ; Dept. of Electr. Eng., Univ. of Santiago de Chile, Chile ; Raff, U. ; Farfan, C.

Size distribution of rock fragments obtained from blasting and crushing in the mining industry has to be monitored for optimal control of a variety of processes before reaching the final grinding, milling and the froth flotation processes. Whenever feasible, mechanical sieving is the routine procedure to determine the cumulative rock weight distribution on conveyor belts or free falling off the end of transfer chutes. This process is tedious and very time consuming, even more so if a complete set of sieving meshes is used. A computer vision technique is proposed based on a series of segmentation, filtering and morphological operations specially designed to determine rock fragment sizes from digital images. The final step uses an area-based approach to estimate rock volumes. This segmentation technique was implemented and results of cumulative rock volume distributions obtained from this approach were compared to the mechanical fragment distributions. The technique yielded rock distribution curves which represents an alternative to the mechanical sieving distributions.

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Vision, Image and Signal Processing, IEE Proceedings -  (Volume:152 ,  Issue: 1 )