Decreasing Post Blast Re-Entry Time with Battery-Powered Wireless Monitoring of Gas and Ground Movement

CIM Vancouver 2016
Mr Darrell Gillis (Business Development Manager - Conspec Controls), Mr Dave Counter (Glencore Kidd Operations), Mr Morgan Roberts (Glencore Kidd Operations), Mr Tanveer (TJ) Jahir (Project Manager - Conspec Controls), Ms Cynthia Younes (Newtrax Technologies)
The Internet of Things (IoT) has created opportunities to significantly improve the efficiency of mining processes. Newtrax, Conspec Controls and Mine Design Technologies (MDT) collaborated at Glencore’s Kidd Operations in Timmins, Ontario to enable battery-powered wireless gas and geotechnical monitoring in active mining areas, with real-time data acquisition to a front-end display on surface. This new capability has enabled Glencore Kidd to reduce post-blasting re-entry delays for underground workers, creating a more efficient mining process.

Generally, mines rely on a fixed-time strategy to deal with the post-blast re-entry time. This fixed re-entry delay is determined from previous observations and experiences. For example, if a blast is delayed, then re-entry is delayed as well, no matter what the actual conditions are underground.

Using the simple post-blast re-entry system mentioned above, Glencore Kidd was able to quickly set up various wireless sensors to remotely measure undiluted concentrations of different gasses (CO, SO2) from work areas, along with geotechnical data. It can also receive live readings of the decay response on the Newtrax front-end display on surface. These dashboards are used to determine whether the atmospheric and ground conditions are safe for the miners to re-enter or whether additional time or ventilation is required to allow the gasses to dissipate.

A study was conducted to verify the effectiveness of a post-blast re-entry system. This study compared conventional post blast re-entry methodologies with the Newtrax wireless gas and geotechnical monitoring system, and confirmed substantial benefits were derived from the new system.
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