How a missing persons locator is improving both safety and operational efficiencies at mining sites
Not having underground miner movement visibility creates several problems for mine management as miner movements have to be monitored so that proper information can be provided to the proto team (a team with special training in underground rescues) when a rescue mission is required or when shaft clearances are confirmed and reported on.
Underground mines allocate and validate carry-on equipment (lamps, gas detectors, equipment remote controls etc.) to mine workers in the lamproom. The problem is that once they leave the lamproom their location is not known to the operator until they return to the lamproom post-shift.
This is posing a threat for Act 29 compliance in terms of locating miners in case of mine evacuation, last seen location or to find the miners in case of fall-of-ground (FOG) or other emergency events.
Shaft clearance reports are based on whether the miner returned to the lamproom. If a miner does not return then it is not clear where they were last seen underground, making shaft clearances extremely difficult.
In case of FOG or other events the proto team is dispatched to the work area without knowing who was in the area before the event; hence they do not know who (or how many) people to search for.
In general, not having movement and location visibility of a workforce may hinder and delay production as people must be located manually, which can prove to be time-consuming during an emergency.
Minelert TrackEye system improving team visibility at mining sites
The Minelert TrackEye system enables the client to monitor miner locations and movements after they leave the lamproom. It is a zoning system and makes use of active tracking technology, which is installed on the miner’s lamp, in the battery compartment or on the lamp cable. Tag readers are installed on all levels and at work areas. This data then is recorded and displayed to owners and operators.
Several deep-level gold mines have deployed the Minelert TrackEye system and are reporting various benefits, including ease of installation and implementation and simple integration with current lamproom systems. The system is delivering reliable tracking information for shaft clearance and mine evacuations as well as accurate shaft clearance reports. Operators are also deploying the technology for the identification of illegal miners inside the mine (by using the Minelert Smart Tag).
Finally, more recent benefits have been discovered in using the people proximity detection (contact tracing) to identify miners that have been exposed to Covid-19-positive colleagues.