Review of technology in relation to mining safety
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Review of technology in relation to mining safety

Mining has never been a safe business and always has risks for everyone involved. However, with the technological world developing so rapidly, this has meant there are more safety regulations and opportunities for the mining industry.

Working conditions for the miners have been made safer through underground technology improving communications. Technology has also replaced the means of using people to carry out tasks which have led them to not be placed in dangerous situations.

In this article, I will discuss and investigate the technology that has helped make mining a safer industry than it once was.

Equipment

Technology has made operations safer for workers. The use of robots and remote-controlled equipment means there is not a need for as many people to be present in hazardous sites. Not only are these protecting workers, but it is also protecting the environment through using electric powered vehicles and limiting the use of diesel vehicles.

A gold mine in Johannesburg has started a trial into using battery electric vehicles (BEV). This trial is being used as a first step into reducing carbon emissions from its operations. Swapping BEVs for diesel vehicles means that the workers' underground environment improves as there is less heat and fumes emitted from these vehicles.

However, mines cannot be completely worker-free. So, for the workers that do need to be present in mines, in some areas, sensors have been added to the worker’s clothing to prevent accidents. These sensors can do anything from tracking their health to raising alerts about accidents.

Another piece of technology that helps prevent accidents is called ‘RockPulse’. This tracks and monitors rock masses due to the intensive drilling that takes place underground. RockPulse detects harmful energy that is reflected from the rock and therefore acts as a warning system for miners to remove them from dangerous situations.                     

                                                        Clipart of a mine surrounded by drones

Drones

Through exploration, surveying, and mapping, the use of drones has been influential in the mining industry. However, it does not just make life easier, but also helps protect workers by maintaining safety and preventing fatal accidents.

Drones can detect risks that are not easily visible to the human eye. This technology through drones has meant that not only is inspection times four times quicker, but it removes putting a person at a risk from a potentially hazardous situation.

Drones have also been used to help view and map out changes needed on mine sites to improve safety and boost productivity.

At Storm Procurement, we are a leading UK supplier of electrical equipment and technology advanced surveying hardware and software equipment. We can provide anything from lighting and switchboards to CCTV and drones.

                                                        

Steps are being taken to protect miners from potentially dangerous accidents and technology is a huge influence in this. In the next article we will look into how technology in mining is taking steps to become more sustainable and is helping to protect the environment.