To prevent incidents and accidents from collisions between mining equipment units operating in Codelco’s Radomiro Tomic copper mine open pit, the division has implemented a modern collision prevention system, the SAFEmine CAS (Collision Avoidance System) from Hexagon (the system is now referred to by Hexagon as HxGN MineProtect), a device that alerts the proximity of another vehicle in a scaled manner, starting with a light alarm that changes to sound when the risk of a collision increases.
Safety is the main objective of this implementation, which is why the Radomiro Tomic Mine Manager, Pietro Accini, stresses: “Our goal is not to have serious or fatal accidents within our operations, since the probability of interaction between equipment is very high in the mine; therefore, this system helps us control this risk. The aspiration is to have zero accidents and be a benchmark in safety in our mining operations.”
By using this advanced technology that works by integrating the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) through the Global Positioning System (GPS) and the European Radionavigation and Positioning System Galileo, Radomiro Tomic says it remains at the forefront in the mining industry, managing to incorporate the device into all its primary mining equipment including haul trucks, support and loading equipment. In this sense, the Superintendent of Engineering and Control of Mine Processes, Evans Díaz, explained: “We are a large organisation, there are more than 100 trucks, more than 40 support teams and 14 loading teams. Therefore, the technical implementation was complex, but technology becomes a useful tool when we are able to cover our entire operation and all the operators understand the system, know how to use it and they see the value in it.”
The Superintendent of Mine Operations, Pedro Díaz, pointed out that, in the success of the operation of this new system, the implementation was key, that is why all Radomiro Tomic mining equipment operators were trained, along with their headquarters and dispatch personnel, to understand its operation, types of alarm and reports.
Knowing that with this system a real-time record of the exact location, the direction of travel and the speed of the equipment is obtained, Mine Operator Galindo González adds: “The system is very good, very safe, it is very fair, precisely marks the times, the distance with the teams. They gave us a good induction on the subject, they gave us all the concepts to have the necessary knowledge to use it well.”
Meanwhile, Mine Operator Daniela Rodríguez says: “It is a super good implement, which helps us to be careful, since the trucks have many blind spots. Also to be careful when we are in the circuits where the support teams are, so in that sense it also helps us to take care of the tyres.”
In line with generating greater awareness about the proximity of other equipment operating in the pit of the RT mine, this initiative reduces possible collisions by 90% and speeding events by 54%. For this reason, in order to advance in the implementation, and obtain more benefits from this initiative, in a second rollout phase the SAFEmine CAS system will also be applied on small trucks plus those of contractor companies to also avoid collisions between these vehicles that enter the pit operation.