ALROSA says it has approved the introduction of automated wireless monitoring systems at the hydraulic structures of its tailings dumps as it looks to further reduce the risk of emergencies, improve operational safety of the structures and facilitate the accumulation of data on their operations for future analysis.
The automated wireless monitoring system (AWMS) consists of a network of sensors installed at the existing observation wells of the hydraulic structures (HS) at tailings dumps, and serve to provide early warnings in case of deviation from safe parameters, the diamond-focused company said.
The system monitors all key parameters of a hydraulic structure, including water levels in open reservoirs, water pressure in wells and soil temperature.
Konstantin Kolegov, ALROSA’s Deputy Chief Engineer for Hydraulic Structures, said: “Industrial and environmental safety is our top priority. The company’s dedicated units gather the HS data according to the schedule. The AWMS minimises the human error factor and reduces the risk of emergencies at HS, including tailings dumps and hydraulic power systems, as it can send real-time alerts of changes in key parameters. Moreover, the system, which was first introduced last year at Aikhal Division, will help accumulating and analysing data on the condition of hydraulic structures to optimise their performance.”
Cutting-edge technologies provide an opportunity to source the necessary information much faster and frequent compared with manual monitoring, ALROSA said. Thanks to the Manufacturing Execution System integration, the collected data will become available to all required personnel in the company.
During the first stage of implementation in 2020, the equipment was installed and commissioned at the tailings dump of processing plant No. 14 at Aikhal Division. Stage two provides for the AWMS to be installed at two tailings dumps of processing plant No. 12 of Udachny Division in 2021, and at two facilities of Nyurba and Mirny (open pit, pictured) Divisions in 2022. Following this, the system will be expanded to include the remaining hydraulic structures in Mirny, Udachny, Aikhal and Nakyn.
Total investments during the two stages are estimated at around RUB 100 million ($1.3 million), ALROSA said.