Mine efficiency through miner safety

Productivity is heavily dependent on the way people act. Changes in the work practices can have 20%+ gains, often at little or no cost. PWC argues that it is not about industrial relations issues that are usually perceived as the primary constraint to productivity. Still, that data shows significant performance differences between mines operating in close proximity, chasing the same commodity, and under similar industrial conditions.

There is a strong correlation between low onsite safety incidents and high production. By making safety a part of mining culture, the workforce can perform at their highest level. This includes machinery, allowing sites to operate at total capacity without stoppage time due to injury or reduced staffing. 

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Less Muda in Mining

One of the challenges to increasing production at a high rate are the needed resources. Over the past century of grand-scale mining, the amounts of energy and water required to work the same quantities of rock have risen more than tenfold as the ores within have become more and more elusive. Mines are facing stark costs if they do not improve the efficiency of their mining. For example, companies experiment with processes that tolerate larger particles and therefore allow drier separation. Because crushing to a larger size, less energy is needed and more throughput is generated. This decreases operating costs significantly. Additionally, operators are recycling "left-overs" and extracting precious materials even more effectively than from the original site. Muda (wastefulness) in the past offers now great potential for improvement.

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Miner Safety: How to identify areas for cost-effective mine growth?

Mining operations demand long-term and substantial investments, and turning a mine into a profitable business is a challenging, ongoing project. Strategic and operational answers will decide if success is feasible. Industry experts often claim that mining safety and productivity correlate and influence each other. For further reading, learn about underground safety and lone worker's safety.

So, how can we achieve mining targets in a safe, timely and cost-effectively? If we want to exploit the full potential of our mining investment, we should investigate the idea of risk management.

 

 

Mine Risk Management and Miner Safety

The mining industry has always been risky, with worker safety concerns representing only a portion of the challenges. Increasingly strict regulations, reliance on technology, inconsistent demand for raw materials and high commodity prices are matters of high importance for a mining company.

Fortunately, most mining corporations can offset this with effective risk management programs. Moreover, many industry executives are already ahead in effectively managing risks. They understand that significant gains often come with considerable risks, and welldesigned programs enable them to pursue those opportunities safely.

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Miner safety underground by zone coverage

Covering zones means monitoring the access to zones. Let's say you have ten sub-levels of each 1 km length. Instead of putting fibre and WiFi routers along 10km underground tracks, you only add reading devices at every sub-level entrance. By this, you will always know how many people entered, are still in a specific zone or left it. Workers equipped with transponders enable the system to locate them continuously and increase miner safety. In case of an emergency, the rescue coordinator can immediately identify people in a zone at risk and act accordingly.

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Miner Safety: RFID use cases

RFID technology is used in various ways in the mining industry to improve efficiency and profits. One way RFID is used is to track the location of equipment. This helps to reduce delays caused by human error, as well as optimize activities for greater profit. Another way RFID is used in the mining industry is to track the status of maintenance and repairs. This allows mining companies to schedule downtime better and avoid costly delays. Finally, RFID is also used to monitor safety conditions in mines to ensure that miners are working in safe conditions and can quickly respond to any potential hazards. Overall, RFID technology is a valuable tool for the mining industry as for miner safety.


 

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Miner Safety: Leave no worker behind

Imagine, it is Thursday afternoon and you send a person out to perform a routine check in a hazardous area. The person checks his PPE, prepares his tools and walks to the specific area.

On site, his personal gas monitor alerts him to high levels of dangerous gases. He should call for backup, but it could be another hour before an assistance can get to the location. He knows this situation, it has happened before, so he thinks he can manage to do the routine check quickly and get out there in a few minutes. He mutes the alarm on his monitor entering the area, starts his routine checks and is overcome by the gases.

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MIner Tracking: The Benefits of a Lone Worker Solution

Lone worker tracking solutions come in various forms, but all usually include some form of tracking device that the employee wears while working. The device then communicates with a central server, which the employer or emergency services can access. In the event of an emergency, the employee can activate a panic button on the device, which will send an alert to the server. Much better, the device recognizes potentially threatening situations and alerts safety coordinators to trigger a rescue operation. The employer or emergency services can then track the employee's location and respond accordingly.

Miner Safety and Mine Technology

Mining is a hazardous industry and can be dangerous for miners without proper safety measures in place. Mine technology can potentially increase miner safety while improving efficiency and productivity. This whitepaper outlines how mine technology has been used to improve mining safety over the past decades and what new technologies are being developed for use in the future.

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Monitoring Miners: The Control Room Operator is Miner's Best Friend

As a centralised institution, the state-of-the-art control centre is where all aspects of the mining operation can be monitored and controlled. These expectations can be achieved by visualisation of all operations, including production, plant and logistics, and creates a highly efficient, automated, low-cost, and, most importantly, safe operation.

The capabilities built into the control centre include mine planning, production scheduling, fixed plant management, safety management, monitoring miners and production, control, backfill management, breakdown and planned maintenance management, processing and remote operations and analytics.

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Miner Tracking: Tag Solutions in Real-World Scenarios

The Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response (MINER) Act of 2006 amended the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 to allow greater protection for underground (coal) miners and enhance emergency preparedness.

It mandated mine operators to develop emergency response plans, guarantee that rescue teams were nearby, and maintain communications and tracking systems for use in a crisis. In addition, it also boosted mine safety training and research.

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VW Autostadt Infographic

The Autostadt in Wolfsburg focuses on all aspects of mobility. The theme park and educational centre is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Germany. The Autostadt is also the world's largest new car delivery centre and home to the multi-brand ZeitHaus car museum.

Into the Underground: Hagerbach, Delving Into the Future

Miners dig deep underground, and Hagerbach digs deep into the future. Transferring aspects of life into mountains could become a reality one day. Hagerbach (Switzerland) became a testing ground for mining and tunnelling technologies, and today, they offer an academy, research and test installations for engineering and safety in mining and tunnelling sector.

Safety is at the centre point of activities in Hagerbach. Participants learn safety practices, research safe methods and materials, simulate proper ways of equipment handling and try out new technologies. They looked at available safety assistance solutions in the market and tested different technologies for their safety concept and eliminated all of them except Crew Companion.