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The Status of Implementation of Proximity Detection Systems in Underground Mines


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Author D Kent, C Fischer and W Schiffbauer


The introduction of digital technologies into the underground mining industry, in both coal and hard rock mining, has enabled many high bandwidth applications to be adopted by mines.

Digital networks based on 802.11 b/g/n open Wi-Fi standards allow for many applications to be run over a single communication backbone. One important application has been tracking personnel and equipment via RFID tags. This tracking application has in turn formed the basis of a Proximity Detection System (PDS) or Collision Avoidance Systems (CAS).

The paper discusses the growth in digital technology as the communication backbone in underground mines which has allowed the ‘convergence of technologies’ that has been occurring in the general business world to be available to underground mine operators. Then the paper will focus on the use of the technology in the increasingly important are of risk control around mobile plant underground.

The specific use of digital devices for proximity detection, in both hard rock and coal mines, to provide a system that can deliver an additional level of control to the risks associated with people-vehicle interactions underground is discussed. The initial implementation of PDS in the hard rock mining environment is based on two zones of detection, required for large and relatively high speed vehicles. Information will include:

•the principles of the underlying technology,

•installation learnings and effectiveness, and

•change management methodology and issues.

The most recent development to integrate Mine Site
Technologies (MST) PDS with Frederick Mining Controls’ HazardAvert® System to
extend the overall Proximity System’s functionality in hard rock mines and for
use in coal mines is overviewed.

Kent, D,
Fischer, C and Schiffbauer, W, 2011. The status of
implementation of proximity detection systems in underground mines, in Proceedings 11th AusIMM Underground Operators’

, pp
299-302 (The Australasian
Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).