China has been stepping up the use of robots in coal mines to improve mining efficiency and safety.
Coal mining is the process of extracting coal from the ground. Coal is valued for its energy content and since the 1880s, has been widely used to generate electricity. Steel and cement industries use coal as a fuel for extraction of iron from iron ore and for cement production.
To date, robots have been used in patrolling, picking refuse and nine other situations, while 19 other applications are under development, said Huang Yuzhi, head of the National Coal Mine Safety Administration at a recent conference on robots.
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“Developing mining robots can be an effective way to address coal mine safety,” said Huang.
To promote the development of the robots, Huang said that local governments should create favorable conditions for research, while coal mines in provinces including Shandong, Hebei and Henan need to accelerate application of the robots.
Meanwhile, universities should carry out education on robotics to meet the growing demand for tech-savvy graduates, Huang said.
China has put great emphasis on production safety, vowing to weed out mines that do not meet safety standards.