Perth-based location intelligence company GeoMoby has partnered with Sydney-based Digital Terrain to apply real-time technology to environmental monitoring systems (EMS) for underground mines.
The main goal of the partnership is to provide tools that allow for the remote monitoring and recording of temperature changes and gases such as carbon monoxide or methane.
In a media statement, the companies explained that Digital Terrain’s RDI-EMS can monitor temperature (wet and dry bulb), wide (speed and direction), humidity, gases and dust. Gas sensors can detect oxygen, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, hydrogen sulphide, methane and ammonia.
The solution is also capable of detecting a firing and sending a message to the blast crew when it is best to start conducting re-entries.
“Digital Terrain has the technology to monitor many conditions – from levels of gases, such as oxygen, to the temperature in underground mines – and GeoMoby has the technology to use Digital Terrain’s data from its recording devices to trigger alarms if necessary,” Mathieu Paul, director of GeoMoby, said in the release. “We know this is the best, most accurate solution for environmental monitoring in underground mine sites in Australia right now. Both our technologies are fully integrated.”
As an example, Paul mentioned that if Digital Terrain detects too much carbon monoxide or methane in a mine’s atmosphere, then GeoMoby real-time systems trigger alerts for management so that the emergency response protocol can be rolled out in a fast and efficient fashion.
“We know this new technology will save lives in the hazardous environments of underground mines,” the executive said.
The joint project will see Digital Terrain establishing the improved technology in the systems of current clients, while GeoMoby will manage the relationships with new interested parties.
The technology developed by the Western Australia firm is based on Bluetooth and a proprietary mesh network. Nodes are bright green and the size of a lunchbox. Many are fixed throughout mines, as they can be strapped onto an existing underground mesh, which is commonly onsite, or they can be bolted onto walls.
“Many underground mines – in Western Australia and the world – still use employee monitoring systems that revolve around whiteboards, spreadsheets and tag boards,” said Chris Baudia, founder of GeoMoby. “Mistakes concerning equipment and people can easily be made, especially at the change of shift crews or during an emergency. There are no excuses in 2023 – our technology can monitor workers at all times, making sure everyone returns home safely, every single day. It is a valuable, modern tool in the kitbag of any mine manager ensuring the health and safety of large teams, working underground.”
In Baudia’s view, underground operators always need to know where their people are, otherwise – in an emergency – response times can lag and lead to fatal incidents.