Extending more than 270 square miles (690 square kilometers), Cerrejón in Colombia is the largest open-pit coal mine in Latin America and the 10th biggest in the world. Complete with its own railway system and shipping terminal, the mine employs thousands of people operating hundreds of vehicles.
A Hexagon film crew visited Colombia to document Cerrejón’s commitment to safety. Staff shared the benefits of Hexagon’s MineProtect Collision Avoidance System, (CAS) including how the mine puts data to work towards strategic safety objectives. CAS has not only helped the mine to minimize the risk of accidents, it has also addressed other safety challengesProtecting its people is a priority for Cerrejón, whose zero-harm culture is enshrined in all aspects of the business. The company turned to Hexagon for a comprehensive collision avoidance solution. Hexagon shares Cerrejón’s core belief: that the most important asset coming out of a mine isn’t what’s extracted – it’s the people who make it possible.
“We put in place a system of random monitoring and preventive monitoring of compliance with stop signs in the mine and in the company,” explained Álvaro Uribe of Cerrejón’s Production Safety Committee.
“And this allowed us, from 2014 up to date, to gradually, decrease up to 90% non-compliance of stop signs. This is a great benefit to the safety performance of the company. We are being preventative, and we are identifying and correcting wrong habits in our operation.”
Amid heavy traffic, large equipment, poor visibility and blind spots, CAS delivers 360-degree proximity detection via a non-intrusive cabin display unit. It provides a call to act if an unwanted event is about to occur. It empowers Cerrejón’s operators to prevent collisions and avoid accidents.
Operator acceptance was essential to success, said Rafael Mazzilli, Cerrejón’s Operational Integrity Coordinator.
“There was a lot of evidence from alarms and as time went by and with training, the alarms were diminishing,” said Mazzilli. “Until today, where the reports show the operators respond to the alarms. Operators’ acceptance was also very important, because we made surveys, we trained and inquired of everybody; we ask them to express the benefits and the improvement opportunities.”
Hexagon’s Mining Safety Portfolio Manager, Marcos Bayuelo, oversaw the CAS deployment at Cerrejón and has been a regular visitor to the mine for the past decade. He credited the company for its proactive approach to safety.
“Like Hexagon, Cerrejón is serious about safety,” said Bayuelo. “All the times we had an opportunity to save someone, where the system worked and did its job, that’s when we can say we have contributed. For me as a product manager, it gives me satisfaction that one more person makes it home safe.
“We are sincerely grateful to the busy staff who participated in the video and Cerrejón’s communications team, who made it possible.”
- Mining Magazine recently hosted Marcos Bayuelo in a webinar, “Serious about safety: the wisdom of investing in a protective solutions portfolio”. To learn more about the implications of mining accidents and Hexagon’s market-leading mine safety portfolio, join the webinar here.
- Learn more about change management and operator acceptance in our safety playbook.