6 ways virtual reality is being used in the mining industry

by | Dec 10, 2023

Virtual Reality (VR) has come on leaps and bounds over the last decade, with more and more industries beginning to see and implement its benefits.

While it may have encountered some speed bumps along the way (such as lack of marketplace awareness and cost), the VR revenue is projected to hit $252 billion by 2028.

For the mining industry, VR brings a host of practical benefits that can aid several aspects of its operations. From safety and planning to training an entire team of operators, VR has the potential to revolutionize the mining industry.

In this article, we’ll look at the top 6 ways virtual reality is being used in the mining industry.


Training in the mining industry has received a big boost thanks to Virtual Reality. Not only does the implementation of Virtual Reality allow for more engaging and efficient training programs, but it makes the whole process safer.

Through Virtual Reality, staff can immerse themselves in realistic simulations to help prepare them for real-world mining environments. This allows staff to explore life-like mining scenarios without the safety risks. For example, instead of training new staff on how to operate heavy machinery within a mine, they first undergo VR training.

This can also be used to tackle emergency safety procedures, for example in the event that a fire breaks out underground. In this case, VR safety training programs give new staff a risk-free environment to navigate safety procedures.

Staff apply their headset and the simulation places them in a virtual mining site and operate the equipment as if they were physically there.

This immersion allows the user to understand more about the machinery, understand their surroundings and learn safety protocols before stepping foot in a mine.

It’s hands-on training without the real-world risks.


Traditional planning methods often grapple with remote-site challenges, intricate designs, and global team coordination.

The main challenge in traditional planning approaches is the complexity of mine infrastructure often located in remote and inaccessible sites. Coordinating various teams, including surveyors, designers, and engineers can become an organizational and logistical headache – especially if they’re dotted around the world (and most are).

Virtual Reality helps navigate the complexities that come with planning. Through it, companies can create immersive experiences that bypass the limitations of physical presence, allowing teams to collaborate seamlessly across from wherever they’re based.

Essentially, it becomes a bridge between distant 3D models and real-world planning, eliminating the reliance on conventional 2D drawings.


Being able to design 3D models of mining sites, equipment, tools and machinery provides huge benefits for engineers, geologists and project managers.

The ability to visualize and understand the workings of a piece of equipment or mine allows for a safer environment and learning experience. Plus, VR can also be used to help plan designs and identify potential safety concerns before stepping foot in the physical mine.

All of this also greatly reduces the costs of transporting equipment and traveling to mining sites.


As we briefly discussed, being able to simulate real-world mining scenarios for safety and training brings huge benefits.

However, Virtual Reality can also be used to create incredibly realistic virtual environments where operators can interact with mining equipment and experience various operational scenarios.

For example, simulators can be used to virtually explore and analyze potential mining sites. These simulations replicate the geological features and conditions of different locations, allowing teams to make informed decisions about the viability of a site before stepping foot in the actual location.

This not only saves time and resources but also enables more thorough and accurate assessments, contributing to smarter decision-making in the exploration phase of mining projects.


Welcoming new staff to your business with a virtual tour of your mining facilities not only allows them to explore the site and get familiar with the equipment but it allows them to make mistakes without worry.

These immersive onboarding experiences can simulate various scenarios, introducing employees to the intricate details of their roles. For example, a new technician can virtually troubleshoot equipment malfunctions or practice emergency response procedures.

Plus, VR facilitates collaborative training sessions. Employees, whether they’re in the same room or across continents, can undergo synchronized training, ensuring everyone is on the same page regarding specific mining processes.


In a similar vein to how it’s being used in training, Virtual Reality allows staff to familiarize themselves with tools, equipment and mining sites before stepping foot physically.

This allows staff to better understand their surroundings and the tools they’ll be using to familiarize themselves faster and make processes more efficient. VR can also be used to help staff become acquainted with each other through immersive team-building experiences and exercises.

By staff being able to familiarize themselves with the layout of a site and the equipment used, they will be better prepared to carry out the tasks in a landscape they’ve already explored – digitally.

Final Thoughts and the Future of VR in Mining

The ongoing advancements in Virtual Reality are not only enhancing strategic planning but are also elevating safety and training standards across mining sites.

Already, VR has greatly improved collaborative inspections, allowing teams to analyze every facet of a mining operation. From assessing structural integrity to inspecting equipment placements, having a digital preview improves efficiency across all processes.

As technology advances and user capabilities expand, VR is poised to revolutionize all aspects of the mining industry. It’s not just about envisioning a site; it’s about embedding data, facilitating efficient decision-making, and ultimately redefining the landscape of mining operations.

Summary: How virtual reality is transforming the mining industry

Virtual Reality (VR) is transforming the mining industry through enhanced training safety, providing engaging and risk-free simulations for staff preparation in real-world scenarios.

Efficient global planning is achieved with VR, overcoming challenges in remote-site coordination and intricate designs by creating immersive experiences for seamless collaboration among teams.

VR significantly benefits engineers, geologists, and project managers by allowing them to design 3D models of mining sites, equipment, and machinery, leading to safer environments, cost-effective planning, and reduced transportation costs.

Realistic scenario simulations in VR contribute to time and resource savings, enabling thorough assessments and informed decision-making during the exploration phase of mining projects.

Immersive onboarding and familiarization experiences in VR empower new staff to explore mining facilities, troubleshoot equipment, and practice emergency procedures, ultimately enhancing overall safety and training standards across mining sites.



What is mining of VR?

VR in mining allows mining operatives to develop skills and experience without entering a mining facility. By creating a virtual world that simulates a mine, operatives can learn about the various tools, techniques and training that are essential for safe mining from the safety of a completely virtual environment.



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