The Asia Miner

OCT-DEC 2018

The ASIA Miner - Reporting Important Issues to Mining Companies in the Asia Pacific Region

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the asia miner • volume 15 • issue 4 9 LEADING DEVELOPMENTS Rio Tinto has approved $146 million of funding to undertake iniঞal work at the Koodaideri iron ore project in Western Australia, ahead of a final investment decision expected by the end of the year. The funds will be invested in detailed engineering work on key elements of the project, the development of a rail construcঞon camp and the first stage of the Koodaideri accommodaঞon camp. Subject to final investment and government approvals, Koodaideri will be Rio Tinto's first intelligent mine, incorporaঞng the latest in high-tech advances in the industry and uঞlising an increased level of automaঞon and roboঞcs. It's a large scale, low-cost, high-quality project, producing replacement tonnes and forming a new producঞon hub for Rio Tinto in the Pilbara for decades to come. If approved, construcঞon is scheduled to begin in 2019 with first producঞon expected in 2021. Rio Tinto predicts that the mine would create over 2,000 jobs during construcঞon and 600 permanent operaঞonal roles. Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief execuঞve Chris Salisbury said that this was an important step for Rio Tinto's Koodaideri project, which the company sees as being a significant leap forward for the global mining industry and Rio Tinto. "We've been building mines in the Pilbara for over 50 years, and, subject to final approvals, Koodaideri will incorporate all of that knowledge to enable us to build the smartest, safest and most efficient mine we've ever constructed. The deployment of leading-edge technology will deliver a step-change in both safety and producঞvity for our business", said Mr Salisbury. Rock-falls are the top safety issue in mines. The inaccessibility of some areas underground makes it difficult and dangerous for inspecঞons to take place a[er blasঞng. At a recent event, the South African Council for Scienঞfic and Industrial Research (CSIR) showcased some of the latest technologies to support the country's mining sector. Among the technologies was a robot plaorm equipped with safety inspecঞon sensors to enter mines during safety periods. Known as "Monster", the robot aims to assess and idenঞfy risks for underground mines. Ground Penetraঞng Radar (GPR), which is being researched as one of the South African Mining Extracঞon, Research, Development and Innovaঞon (SAMERDI) Advanced Orebody Knowledge technologies, was also displayed. This technology contributes to the Zero Harm objecঞve, by enabling miners to visualise potenঞally hazardous geological structures in the hanging wall that could lead to falls of ground. The CSIR also developed a pedestrian detecঞon system. The system uses a range sensor to determine the distance to each idenঞfied person and tracks each person to determine if and when a collision is likely to occur. CSIR mining experts – Dr Dave Roberts, Dr Shaniel Davrajh and Dr Michael van Schoor – said the organisaঞon was working hard to come up with cuমng-edge technologies to improve safety in the mines. While commenঞng on the role that the CSIR is playing in supporঞng the South African mining industry, CSIR principal researcher, Dr Roberts, said the organisaঞon was idenঞfied as a primary research provider to the Mine Health and Safety Council (MHSC) Centre of Excellence. Principal engineer, Dr Davrajh, highlighted the importance of using roboঞc technologies in the mines. He said using these technologies could assist in reaching some of the areas that are not accessible during an incident. "A robot equipped with safety inspecঞon sensors will enter the mine during a safety period. It becomes very difficult and dangerous for humans to enter into the mine a[er an incident", he said. Principal geophysicist, Dr Van Schoor, talked about the use of GPR technology for rock mass stability invesঞgaঞons. He said there was a need for reliable rock mass stability determinaঞon. "Managing health and safety risk in a mine requires real-ঞme monitoring and quanঞficaঞon of the underground hazards and the exposure of personnel and equipment to such hazards." Another technology that was exhibited is an early-warning and monitoring system called "RockPulse". RockPulse will assist mines with listening to raw micro-seismicity; extracঞng micro-fracture features and analysing the resulঞng series of features to detect large instabiliঞes taking place in the rock mass in ঞme. CSIR develops cutting-edge technologies to improve safety in mines Rio Tinto edges closer to its first intelligent mine

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