There are several events in an underground mine that are back of mind for those working deep, down in the dark. One such event is an “air blast” which is the rapid displacement of air from one section of a mine to another, generally following a mass rock failure. This uncontrolled release of energy in a confined space can cause mass causalities if it occurs during operating hours due to the huge wind speeds encountered in the firing line.
A recent case study came across my desk that outlines a US mining companies response to an air blast and the resulting exploration to determine damage to the mining access drives. This then ensure the mine was in a suitable condition for human re-entry. This fascinating case study showcases multiple technologies that allow for this extreme video and survey inspection to be completed – before allowing the mining team to visually inspect the mine on foot.
The joy that this video brought, was how it showcases the several different technology providers and how they worked together to provide a fantastic outcome for a unique situation. The ability to remotely extend a network into an underground working utilising a series of unmanned tracked robots is something I never knew was possible! The resulting data collected by both video and LiDAR data allows for analysis in a safe and timely manner for all working on the project.
Australian Droid & Robot feature in the video (I always love hearing an aussie accent set against the US!) and their fleet of both wheeled and flying inspection tools work amazingly well in this setting. They are a business whos wares I had seen online but never working at the face, and this is a great case study on occasion where they are the prefect solution.
In Summary this case study shows how even in the face of a near catastrophic event, miners and service providers are agile and able to deliver bespoke work around for complex problems. Well done to the respective teams from across the globe!
I continually strive to offer new and interesting content for those exploring new technologies and ideas for underground mining – so please send me an email if you would like to get involved.