Glencore has highlighted the advances it has made in longwall automation at its Oaky Creek underground coal mine in Queensland, Australia, during a visit from the Federal Minister for Resources and Water, Keith Pitt.
The minister met production crews and was given a demonstration of the mine’s automated longwall, the company says.
Using ‘ExScan’ laser technology developed by CSIRO’s Centre for Advanced Technologies, Oaky Creek has become the first coal mine in Australia to fully automate its underground longwall operation, according to the company.
ExScan technology (picture courtesy of CSIRO) has a laser scanner and associated software capable of generating real time 3D maps of tunnels, walls and cavities underground where global positioning systems cannot penetrate, CSIRO says. These maps can be used for locating, steering and navigating equipment and vehicles.
At Oaky Creek, an above-ground control centre operates the longwall using 3D scans of the mining area recorded by ExScan sensors and transmitted to the surface.
The minister also saw how Glencore’s coal business is leading the way on land rehabilitation and emission reduction, the company says.
To date, Oaky Creek has achieved 132.8 ha of certified rehabilitation and, in the last year, cut emissions by up to 840,000 t of CO2-e by using methane emissions for electricity generation.
“That is roughly equivalent to greenhouse gas emissions avoided from 182,683 passenger vehicles driven for one year,” it says.
Ian Cribb, Chief Operating Officer for Glencore’s coal business in Australia, said: “Glencore has a world-class coal business in Australia and we welcomed the opportunity to show Minister Pitt some of the leading practices we have implemented, particularly around safety and gas management.”