Network communications and ICT as basis for safety and efficiency of optimized underground operations

Enhancing the efficiency in underground mining is crucial especially in times of
low product prices to keep the operations profitable.

The paper presents the results of the "OPTIMINE" demonstration project funded by
the European Union. In this project, 5 European coal mines are using wired and
wireless networks underground together with latest wireless applications. The paper
presents a number of example applications and their impact on the efficiency of

In one mine, a fully automated material tracking using passive RFID was
implemented and operated successfully during a number of years. The related
hardware is directly attached to the underground network base stations and uses
IREDES standardized tracking protocols for information exchange.

Other examples include wireless VoIP communication to locomotives, the use of text
messaging for the exchange of work order or alarm information and the use of radio
frequency based gates for access control to dangerous areas.

The paper outlines the technical implementation of the systems as well as their
impact on the efficiency and safety of the underground installations.
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