Benefits of a Wireless Underground Network at Kidd Creek Mine
Mr Benjamin Ollila (Ground Control Engineer - Kidd Operations), Mr Darrell Gillis ( - Newtrax), NA Cynthia Younes ( - Newtrax), NA David Counter ( - Glencore), NA Tanveer Jahil ( - n/a)
Glencore’s Kidd Operations has had an innovative new wireless data collection network installed underground with the goal of increasing safety and productivity. Kidd Operations is the world’s deepest underground base metal mine, and as such, faces unique challenges to safely maintain production rates. In underground mining, collection and transfer of information is generally considered a weakness due to the extensive and varying nature of the underground infrastructure. Recently, the mine has had Newtrax’s Minetrax wireless communications network installed underground to improve data collection from geotechnical instruments and other devices. The system consists of a series of battery powered router nodes that provide wireless coverage of the underground infrastructure and connection to surface through gateways connecting to the main fibre optic network. It is used to automate readings from rock mechanics instrumentation, monitor air quality, and to provide personnel tracking and proximity warnings for interactions between equipment and people. The resulting benefits to the operation have been to reduce the risks of interactions between mobile equipment and personnel, reduce exposure of personnel to seismic risk and unstable ground, and to improve productivity by providing real time data on post blast gas concentrations, and by inference the state of the auxiliary ventilation network.