Technology advancements are changing underground mining into a safer industry while also increasing productivity. Read on to discover two Canadian underground mining technologies that are transforming the industry of mining.
Employees who are working along need to have a way to check-in, send emergency assistance requests, and send an alarm if there’s no movement for a certain amount of time in an underground hard rock mine. MineAlone can do all that.
It uses a MineHop data communication network that creates a lifeline to the location where the worker will be. The system is wireless and easy to install. A central server keeps track of all workers underground. The miner will call at the beginning of shift to let the dispatcher know he will be working alone and where. The dispatcher will tag the miner as a lone worker. The miner will take nodes and leave them placed at periodic locations to create the wireless communication network.
At certain intervals, the cap lamp on the miner will flash to let him know he needs to check in. He can do so by turning his lamp on and off.
In the case of an emergency, the worker can press the emergency buttons on his cap light. This sends a distress signal to the central server and notifying the dispatcher. Since the dispatcher knows exactly where the miner is based off of the position of the last node he activated, assistance can be sent quickly and efficiently.
The inertial sensor built in to the system will detect a lack of movement and the cap light will start to flash, requesting the miner flicker her lamp to indicate he’s okay. If not, the system will trigger an alarm and let the dispatcher know the miner is motionless.
MineProx is a proximity warning system specifically designed for underground hard rock mines. Operators of the large equipment needed in mines have to deal with blind spots, the main cause of most accidents.
The MineProx system will enhance the situational awareness of operators, reducing the number of incidents. MineProx is made up of three components: vehicle proximity receivers connected to an ultra-rugged user interface, MineProx-enabled cap lamps (which may be cordless, semi-corded, or corded), and fixed-hazard proximity beacons.
The system doesn’t need an underground network system; vehicles talk directly to each other. The system is easy to use and intuitive. The system will detect pedestrians in advance of their approach. This will help ensure workers who are nearby, in blind spots, or around corners will be detected ahead of time so that the operator can take appropriate action.
The system will detect light vehicles parked in active areas of the mine. Operators will receive advance warnings before the light vehicles become visible and will be able to slow down or stop.
Fixed hazards such as open stokes might not be visible to truck or LHD operators, but a fixed hazard beacon can be affixed and the operator will receive a notification as he approaches the hazard. If the operator reaches the barricade, the fixed hazard beacon can trigger an emergency stop request and the system will log the request.
A pedestrian who thinks he’s operating safely but realizes he is in danger of being hit by a truck or LHD can push the emergency button on his cap light to send an emergency stop request to all operators in range. Once he’s in a safety bay, the pedestrian can cancel the alarm by turning his cap lamp off then on again. The emergency stop request is then cancelled.