Barrick Gold has installed PED, Digital Communications and Tracking at their two mines in Nevada, Meikle and Rodeo.As Anton Meyer, Senior Control Engineer at Barrick Goldstrike Mines, explained at his presentation at the MINExpo Educational Sessions, Barrick had developed a project to raise the mine’s emergency preparedness, as well as utilize the features of the chosen systems to integrate their communication and management systems at the mine to increase productivity.The key technologies introduced, and the benefits they have brought to the Barrick operations, are:Personal Emergency Device (PED):
The through-the-earth paging system, PED, was installed to provide more reliable emergency warning to miners underground in event of an emergency. Due to the layout of the mine, the PED transmitting antenna was installed partially on the surface and underground, to form a vertical antenna. This single antenna approximately 2 miles long provides signal to the active working areas of Meikle and Rodeo Mines. An antenna extension to cover the new South Rodeo and Betze ore body developments is being assessed for 2009.The ultra low frequency PED signal travels directly through rock state, thus ensuring personnel can be contacted quickly in event of an emergency. This mine wide signalling ability also means the PED complements the mine’s two-way leaky feeder system, in day to day operations by filling in the gaps in signal coverage and assist in the general management of the mine.Wireless LAN:
Barrick has installed MST’s ImPact Wireless Access Points (Wireless Network Switches) to extend their Ethernet LAN underground, thus creating Wi-Fi hotspots at strategic locations underground. These hot spots are set up to detect RFID Tags, carried by miner in their cap lamps or attached to mobile equipment. Additionally, these Access Points receive information from vehicle mounted diagnostic/data logger units.Cap Lamps:
The mine upgraded their cap lamps with 700 Integrated Communications Cap Lamps (ICCL’s). The ICCL’s are optioned up with internal PED Text Messenger and RFID Tag electronics, to work with the PED transmission system and AeroScout based tracking system, respectively.Vehicle Interface and Tracking:
Self Contained RFID Tags are mounted on vehicles to allow their movements to be tracked. These tags are Wi-Fi Tags, based on AeroScout’s leading Wi-Fi tagging technology.Energy Management System:
Interfaces between the tracking systems, ventilation and gas monitoring systems, and Mine Control and Data Systems, is being developed to provide Ventilation on Demand (VOD). The intention being to automate the control of underground ventilation to suit what has personnel and machinery are in any given area, and thus reduce overall energy usage. In summary, Barrick Gold has a true vision for their Nevada operations using improved communication with miners, vehicles and fixed equipment, to improved safety and productivity by integrating:
- Real time tracking of miners and vehicles
- Quicker response in the event of mine emergencies.
- Access control
- Ventilation control
- Vehicle engine performance monitoring
- Dust, DPM and temperature control
- Energy management.Mine Site Technologies is appreciative of Barrick’s support in using a number of our key technologies as part of their Total Mine Control System project, and acknowledge the broad vision of their engineers on site.
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