Integrating slope stability monitoring with mine operations

Safety, sustainability and efficiency can suffer at any mine where the data from planning, operations, safety and business analytics are siloed. Integration between IDS GeoRadar and Hexagon’s MineProtect portfolio now means that these important data sources can be shared in one platform, connecting systems for safety and radar-based slope stability hazards.

Via real-time equipment visualization, integration ensures timely alerts about hazardous areas for people and machinery. This additional layer of information means better risk evaluation. It’s also one more way to ensure everyone gets home safely.

MineProtect Portfolio Manager Marcos Bayuelo and Francesco Coppi, Director of Monitoring Radar Product Management with IDS GeoRadar, recently discussed the implications in a podcast interview.


Q: Mines can be dangerous places with busy traffic, blind spots, noise, distraction and poor visibility. How does rock behavior and slope stability affect this scenario and who are the people most at risk?

FC: Slope failure and rock falls are among the main causes of casualties in mines. Mining companies invest a lot of money every year in monitoring equipment to keep that risk under control. In particular, the most dangerous areas in the pit are where the extraction is in progress due to the instability induced by blasting activities and the material removal, which can continuously affect the ground stability.

Q: Hexagon already has systems for collision avoidance, personal protection and tracking radar. Why did it make sense to integrate with IDS GeoRadar?

MB: This is really enhancing and enabling the opportunity to close the loop between our rock monitoring and our on-vehicle or onboard devices. Now every vehicle with a collision avoidance device or every person with a personal alert tag can take action from alerts or dangers detected by our InSAR (Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar) radars. It enables near real-time decision making for our vehicle drivers and our people in the field to prevent an accident. But it also enables understanding from a remote perspective without having to be in the field to understand who is in the danger zone for the management of our assets and our people.

Q: Who benefits most from this integration and why?

MB: Vehicle drivers immediately know in real time which zone they should not go to because it’s closed. Mine management also benefits. In the past, if we have an alert, the geo tech needs to call the supervisor, the supervisor needs to go to the specific field and close the road. This might take from a half an hour to a couple of hours. Now it’s instantaneous. Everybody in the mine knows without any single human intervention beyond the click from the geo tech, to really know where not to go. Or if they are already in the danger zone they can evacuate automatically.

Q: From a productivity perspective, why would it make sense for a mine to invest in this kind of integrated solution?

FC: As we know, mine productivity and safety are strictly related to each other. Closing an operation because of an incident can cost millions per day. Therefore, higher safety level means higher productivity. I think this is the reason why a mine should invest in this integration.

To hear the full interview, clickhere.

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