What Approach is Best for Work-site Buildings—Concrete, Steel or Fabric?

An outdoors-based industry requires equipment and facilities that endure, but there’s some debate as to which building material is best suited for storage structures, labor housing and logistics in mining applications. Advances in engineering and related technologies now bring into question whether the traditional steel or brick-and-mortar building may be the most economical or functional choice.

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Staying Safe, by Keeping Track

One of the more commonly expressed safety goals of the global mining industry is to “get people out of the mine” through greater use of mechanization or other emerging technologies, such as tele-remote or autonomous control systems. It’s a goal that’s not always feasible, as a well-known African mining company recently found out (See “Lonmin Optimistic About Future,” pp. 16-19, in this issue)—and even when it is, it’s a transitional process that takes time. However, regardless of whether workforce numbers at any given operation are rising or falling, there’s an ongoing need to keep track of workers on-site, for personal and site security reasons, recordkeeping and emergency response management. Two recent announcements highlight different ways in which recent technological advances are making this easier for employers—and employees.

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