Advanced technologies enhance mining safety protocols

21st April 2023

By: Schalk Burger

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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The mining industry has significantly enhanced its safety protocols and advanced technologies are available with customised safety measures, data and analytics company GlobalData said in its 'Digging deeper into sustainability: key disruptive forces in mining​' report.

By accurately identifying the potential hazards and proactively preventing accidents, mining companies are paving the way for a safer and more secure work environment. This transformation is further accelerated by the adoption of technologies, such as tunnel safety devices and location-sensitive alarms, it pointed out.

“Technological progress has greatly improved the ability of mining companies to effectively address health and safety risks, surpassing the limitations of past approaches. By embracing drones, Internet of Things devices and other advanced tunnel safety technologies, companies can not only proactively tackle frequent mining hazards but also attract top talent seeking a safe and innovative workplace,” said GlobalData disruptive tech senior analyst Rahul Kumar Singh.

“There is a pressing need for advancements in safety devices for tunnels within the mining industry. Accidents incur significant costs and attract negative publicity for a company. As environmental and regulatory hurdles mount, prioritising the adoption of safety technologies for miners is a crucial step towards securing profitable mining contracts,” added GlobalData disruptive tech senior consultant Vaibhav Gundre.

Tunnel safety devices are sophisticated systems designed to proactively identify, mitigate and manage range of risks that can arise within tunnels, encompassing hazards such as fires, smoke, flooding and accidents.

In February 2023, researchers at the Schulich School of Engineering, in Canada, developed a sensitive methane sensor that detects methane at extremely low concentrations, the report outlined.

Additionally, location-sensitive alarms are specialised systems that activate when a person or object enters a predetermined geographic zone, functioning as an early warning mechanism to detect any unusual activity within that area.

In February 2023, mining engineering company Sandvik launched xCell Cyclops, which is a convergence system for ground support in underground mining featuring built-in notifications and alarms to support a sustainable work environment.​

Further, in December 2022, Swedish government-owned mining company LKAB partnered with mining equipment company Epiroc to increase mine safety by using Epiroc’s systems to receive alarm and crisis information on employees’ mobile phones in an emergency.

“The mining industry's heightened focus on safety for workers and mines is evidenced by the rising number of patents for tunnel safety devices. By incorporating health and safety technologies, mining companies can not only enjoy benefits like attracting and retaining skilled workers and reducing maintenance expenses but also improve the early identification of potential hazards, thereby avoiding costly maintenance and repair work and generating substantial cost savings,” said Singh.

“As easily accessible mining sites become exhausted, companies must either explore more challenging areas or excavate deeper, underscoring the importance of mine safety,” he added.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online



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