Mine Safety Moves to the Digital Domain

Electronic data collection, drawing information from myriad sources ranging from ‘wearable tech’ to sensors on the largest production equipment, is making real-time worker safety guidance and incident intervention possible

A successful work-site safety program might be described as a collection of good choices, selected from an ever-growing inventory of systems, products and services and shaped by a company’s resources and commitment. At some time in the past, those choices may have mainly been influenced by how external regulations defined workplace safety. Nowadays, the list of “influencers” related to safety has expanded to include considerations based on workforce age, local culture, literacy and social license to operate, as well as concerns that might have once been fringe issues such as exposure to excessive vibration, fatigue monitoring and the behavioral problems associated with fly-in, fly-out job arrangements, to name just a few.

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Diverter Valves Optimize Backfill Operations

New design sets the standard for backfill system diversion

Underground mines use intricate piping networks, known as backfill systems, to fill stopes after extracting ore for processing. There are three types of backfill commonly used in conventional mining operations — cemented paste (CPB), hydraulic and dry tailings. A backfill system generally consists of a main pipeline dropping vertically 656 ft (200 meters [m]) or more below the surface, where it levels out horizontally and the flow can be split into two different pipelines. This piping structure may repeat at each level of the mine, depending on the project.

The abrasive nature of rock, sand, ore, and chemical backfill slurries pumped through the pipeline systems results in constant maintenance and repairs, directly impacting mine productivity and profitability.

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New OTR Tires to Run Cooler, Longer as Suppliers Crunch Data From Afar

Tire manufacturers and solutions suppliers now offer technologies that allow them to track performance in real time and double as consultants

For better or worse, Industry 4.0 has unleashed a race among the companies that service the mining sector to innovate based on real-time data and with a view of the automated mines of tomorrow. In the tire space, that means increased focus on field results for products, now captured by embedded sensors and streamed by satellite to support teams and business coordinators. Live data mandates prompt responses, both in the field and on the drawing board. Manufacturers said there are numerous advantages to be gained from the instant notifications and burgeoning databases. They also said it is challenging to keep up with the pace of change it mandates. “With technology and the way the equipment keeps changing, and trying to keep up with everything, you almost have to keep adding to your tire line,” said Gary Pompo, manager, field technical services, BKT.

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Modern Burn Cut Design

The burn cut, otherwise known as a parallel hole cut, is one of the most commonly used underground blasting methods because it can be used in drifts of all sizes and dimensions. The burn cut has also been tested in almost all rock types and can effectively break weak or strong rocks, depending on the design. In a burn cut round, five different classifications of holes exist that work together to create a round, which pulls effectively, leaves a good contour and is cost-effective.

The first of these holes is the relief holes (red box in Figure one) and are not loaded with explosives. These holes act as a relief point for the surrounding rock to break to, and they are normally larger in diameter, with both the diameter and the length of the hole controlling the total face advance of the round.

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