Tag Archives: collision avoidance system

Wabtec’s latest generation collision avoidance solution gains traction with new orders

Wabtec’s Digital Mine division says it has received a series of orders for 3,500 of its new Generation 3 Collision Avoidance System (Gen 3 CAS) from three major global mining companies.

The capabilities of the new system will drive performance and safety improvements at the customers’ mining operations, the company says.

When Wabtec launched this system in June, it said its innovation focus was on shifting from traditional proximity detection to true collision avoidance.

Nalin Jain, President, Digital Intelligence for Wabtec, explained: “These orders demonstrate the Gen 3 CAS’s value and rapid market adoption since we launched the system in June. The Gen 3 CAS is the only solution aligned with the industry’s best practices that also meet the functionality requirements of our customers.”

Installing Gen 3 CAS across a customer’s mining operations will improve safety, bolstering their zero-harm objectives, according to the company. By minimising the risk of vehicle interactions, the Gen 3 CAS will contribute to reduced downtime, increased productivity and optimised resource utilisation.

Wabtec says its customers can confidently rely on this innovative solution to drive performance and achieve their operational objectives.

Wabtec Digital Mine’s Gen 3 CAS offers a range of class-leading advanced capabilities not seen on any other solution, according to the company. These include predictive beam curving, context-based definitive voice-based alerts, real-time self-test, superior accuracy via Ultra High Precision Global Navigation Satellite Systems and the most advanced rules and intelligence engine in the industry. The system’s brand-new user interface, validated by Professor Robin Burgess-Limerick, a human factors expert, has been designed so that vehicle operators receive appropriate feedback from the Gen 3 CAS, Wabtec says. It replaces “beeps-and-buzzer” technology with sophisticated, discreet, directional and audible warnings, enabling operators to work without distraction and respond instantaneously to audible alerts.

Jain added: “We are improving safety and operational efficiency, so we have entered into agreements with several global mining companies who recognise the potential of Wabtec Digital Mine’s Gen 3 CAS to transform their mining operations. These customers are installing the Gen 3 CAS to enhance their mining fleet’s safety standards and performance.”

Henro van Wyk, Vice President and General Manager of Wabtec Digital Mine, said: “We are thrilled that multiple global mining companies have selected Gen 3 CAS for their operations. These deals represent a significant achievement for Wabtec’s Digital Mine team positioning the business as the global leader in mining technology by redefining the meaning of true collision avoidance. Mining operations using the Gen 3 CAS will achieve new levels of safety, efficiency and productivity across their mining operations.”

Gold Fields installs CAS safety solution at Tarkwa gold mine

Gold Fields is upping the safety stakes at its Tarkwa gold mine in Ghana, employing a collision avoidance system (CAS) that should reduce the number of vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-personnel interactions at the open-pit operation.

Having installed a fatigue management system back in 2012-2013 – which saw equipment interactions and accidents decrease – the company has now purchased the HxGN MineProtect Collision Avoidance System Pro as part of a “discrete, dedicated project”, a company spokesperson confirmed to IM.

Hexagon says the CAS Pro system protects all mining vehicles, assets and vehicle operators within 500 m of the installed cab-based unit in open-pit mines.

The solution provides 360° awareness for surrounding vehicles and selected assets, as well as a collision avoidance function based on path prediction, the company explained.

Using GNSS and RF technologies, the solution enjoys high operator adoption because of minimal nuisance alarms and enhanced safety for all mine and vehicle types, according to Hexagon.

The Gold Fields spokesperson said CAS Pro was being used in line with Earth Moving Equipment Safety Roundtable (EMESRT) guidelines. The solution includes operator awareness and advisory controls, the spokesperson added.

As part of the project, Gold Fields has issued 150 personal tags to employees working near operating equipment, including spotters and samplers. The operating equipment to benefit from the new solution includes 84 dump trucks, 21 excavators, 65 pieces of ancillary fleet (including loaders, dozers and service trucks) and 100 light vehicles (50 with fixed CAS units and 50 with removable units).

While the CAS solution does not include anti-braking functionality, it does have a range of other intervention procedures, according to the spokesperson.

“Stopping a plus-200 t haul truck in milliseconds in an open-pit environment may create other hazards,” the spokesperson explained.

Zyfra examines advanced systems for V2V, V2P collision avoidance in surface mining

Development of a legal framework and emergence of new safety requirements at industrial facilities is translating into the need to introduce new information technologies capable of minimising the number of hazards and emergencies, writes Alexey Klebanov*.

Analysis of accident statistics for surface mining operations shows that incidents involving collisions of heavy equipment, running over light vehicles and personnel are the most common type of accident, posing a serious threat to human life and health. Such accidents are primarily caused by poor visibility from the operator’s cabin. The table below shows the most common accident scenarios:

The low manoeuvring speed of heavy mining equipment produces the illusion of safety, while the design features of this equipment create blind spots where the operator is not able to see the surrounding objects.

Collisions of mining equipment with light vehicles causes disastrous effects not only to people’s lives and health, but also on the operational capability of the equipment. A single accident, even if it does not involve injuries, may halt the mining operations for a few days. Costs of repairs, equipment downtime, administrative penalties and loss of production – all of this has a significant negative impact on the efficiency of mining operations.

Let us have a closer look at some of the actual cases described above:

1) The dump truck operator was moving along a service road and failed to see the car of a company’s employee in time and ran over its right side making it almost completely flat (Figure 1). The employee in the car was able to bend down to the passenger seat, which saved his life.

2) Approximately an hour after shift start, a KAMAZ 43118 fuel truck arrived to the refuelling site, and its driver started refuelling a Komatsu PC 2000-8 excavator. The excavator driver did not make sure that there were no people in the hazardous area of the working excavator and thought that the truck nearby had finished refuelling and left. A backhoe operator started turning the boom towards the open-pit bench, caught the truck with the excavator body and tipped it over (Figure 2). The KAMAZ driver was pressed against the ground by the truck cabin.

Figure 1: accident with a passenger car ran over by a dump truck
Figure 2: accident with a fuel truck tipped over

Statistical data on the largest Russian surface mining companies for 2003-2018 shows that 24% of accidents with mining equipment are related to the units moving or operating when people are in the immediate vicinity. This includes 14% of cases with people being in the driver’s (operator’s) blind zone, and 12% of accidents related to reverse movement of the units or movements of their back sides. One-fifth of all these accidents, based on the investigation results, could have been prevented by an external observer who would see the whole picture from the outside.

Currently, administrative barriers such as restricted access areas for people and light equipment, strict manoeuvre regulations and sound alarms when reversing are virtually the only way to protect against collisions. However, statistics show that these measures are not sufficient and do not provide adequate security.

The task of minimising the number of such accidents can be met by using dedicated hardware and software systems that can expand the operator’s visibility without distracting him from his production tasks or overloading him with excessive visual information. Thus, the collision avoidance system for mining equipment should take up most of the information load and should provide the operator with a minimum set of data on the number, type, location and hazard level of static and moving objects located in the working area of a dump truck or excavator. The system has to perform prioritising and ranking of both the current hazard level of the situation based on the distance to the objects, and the intensity of alerting the operator of a possible collision by means of sound and visual alarms while minimising false alarms.

Preventive accident control measures are currently being implemented at foreign mining operations. These vehicle interaction defensive controls can be divided into the following levels (according to The Earth Moving Equipment Safety Round Table (EMESRT)):

Collision Warning Systems belong to Level 8 (advisory controls) of preventive accident control measures and are the first level for implementation of a more general class of Collision Avoidance System (CAS), which, in addition to the warning functions, provide the possibility of emergency stop of the vehicle in order to prevent an accident (Level 9 of preventive accident control measures). As the emergency stop function requires intervention in the vehicle design or control information channels to operate the actuation mechanisms, the development of such systems requires direct cooperation with the mining equipment manufacturers.

It should be noted that already for a few years the legislation of the Russian Federation demands that underground mining equipment must be provided with collision warning systems. Order of Rostechnadzor No.599 of 11.12.2013 states: “Transport vehicles operating in mineral mines should be equipped with collision warning systems. The collision warning system shall provide the driver with timely notification if people and vehicles are present within a certain radius along the unit path.”

Currently, the law does not require the surface mining equipment to be fitted with collision warning systems, however, the current trends in improving industrial safety indicate that such requirements may be introduced in a few years to come. Thus, discussions are already underway in the professional community to provide mining equipment in opencast mines with collision warning systems.

Let us consider the technologies that are currently used in collision warning systems. There are two main scenarios for collision warning ie Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle-to-Person (V2P).

Depending on the scenario, as well as the operating conditions, several technologies are used to design collision warning systems that employ such devices as LiDARs, radars, video cameras or radio communications. The systems available in the market have different prices, working range and are designed for different operating conditions. The main technologies used in collision warning systems include:

Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS): a satellite navigation system, which is a more accurate analogue of GPS. High accuracy is achieved by using a ground station which coordinates are constant and do not change. The station serves to correct the measurement error of GPS-trackers on vehicles or carried personnel tags. This method can be used in both scenarios, ie V2V and V2P and is intended for surface mining only.

Operating principle of the GPS-based collision warning system


  • Easy to implement as an extension to functionality of dispatching system for surface mining operations; and
  • Allows to add functional features, eg location of objects on the map, control of proximity to hazardous areas, etc.


  • Not applicable for underground mining operations and enclosed spaces;
  • Requires a stable GPS signal;
  • Depends on the data communication system between the machines and/or the server; and
  • Requires 100% coverage.

Surrounding Radar Scanning Systems: These systems employ radars and LiDARs. This technology is intended for operation in the line of sight area and is used in the V2V scenario. It can be used both for underground and surface mining.


Example of an Orlaco surrounding radar scanning system


  • Fully autonomous operation of each mobile unit;
  • Ability to detect obstacles and lack of roads;
  • Ability to combine information from radars and cameras; and
  • Can be used as a system to prevent collision with obstacles.


  • Operation is possible only in the near zone;
  • High cost; and
  • Is applicable to the V2V scenarios only.

An example of such systems is the Hexagon HxGN MineProtect (CAS) solution that offers 360° proximity detection when traveling at any speed and in all conditions, providing the information on a cabin display. The proximity detection system uses the radar technology to assess the position and movement of potential hazards, using risk-based algorithms to distinguish between safe objects and objects that may pose a collision threat. The situational awareness is further enhanced by calculating the speed and path using the GPS data.

Camera-based systems: As a rule, camera-based systems are used as a supplement to radars or any other technology, because they are highly susceptible to environmental conditions (lighting, fog, contamination of optics, etc) and do not provide sufficient reliability for autonomous application. It can be used both for underground and surface mining.

Radio frequency systems: The UWB (Ultra-Wide Band) and UHF (Ultra High Frequency) bands are generally used. This technology is intended for application in the V2V and V2P scenarios. Its operation is based on the exchange of data messages between all the objects equipped with this system within the line of sight with the possibility of terrain following. The distance is defined by measuring the time a signal passes between several sources with application of the trilateration method. This system is applicable in all scenarios and for any mining method.

Operating principle of the radio-based collision warning system


  • Direct interaction between the mobile equipment and carried devices for personnel;
  • Possibility to use in surface and underground mining as well as inside buildings;
  • High accuracy; and
  • Working distance of up to 70-250 m (depending on conditions).

The RealTrac Collision Avoidance System is a good illustration of this technology. Monitoring is carried out in a horizontal plane within 360° at distances from one to 100 m. The system uses UHF to detect presence of mobile equipment or people behind obstacles or corners, as well as the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology to check if the operator is in the cabin to avoid false triggering. Proximity detection is performed autonomously both in driving and when the mobile equipment is parked. The system virtually divides the space around the vehicle into three zones:

Proximity detection zones

Attention Zone where people are warned about the presence of equipment within a short distance. It is used to detect a potentially dangerous proximity and helps to alert people of an approaching asset.

Danger Zone identifies a dangerous proximity and alerts people. It serves to warn of a possible accident.

Emergency Zone triggers an alarm signal in an emergency situation or if an extremely dangerous proximity is detected.

As a rule, such systems include the following components:

  • Radio modules placed all around the mobile unit and designed to detect on-board modules of other vehicles and personal tags;
  • An indicator or a monitor, which is installed inside the vehicle to provide visual alerts of hazardous proximity;
  • An on-board computer that calculates the direction and distance to other objects; and
  • A personal tag, which is a piece of carried hardware designed to detect dangerous proximity between the person and mobile mining equipment.

A general comparison of the most common technologies that use radio frequencies is provided in the Table:

All the described technologies have their advantages and shortcomings, so a combination of solutions should be used when the situation requires enhanced reliability:

Possible combinations of various technologies to design a collision warning system

For the operations that employ a dispatching system, eg the OpenMine Mine Fleet Management System (VIST Group JSC) based on the satellite navigation system, one of the efficient combinations is UWB + GPS, which offers a number of advantages:

  • Low equipment cost (through the use of available infrastructure);
  • High accuracy and range of detection, operation in any weather conditions; and
  • Radio frequency range that does not require licensing.

In addition to the dangerous proximity to mining equipment, miners’ lives and health are threatened if they are present in areas of potential rock falls and slides, collapsing walls and other hazards. Automation of operating supervision and warning if personnel enters such zones is directly related to accident prevention tasks.

Such monitoring and prevention of hazardous situations asks for a new role in the company, ie the industrial safety manager, who would provide a ‘second pair of eyes’ without being distracted by the actual production operations. The manager’s location in the mine fleet control room will allow to consolidate all the emerging incident warnings to create a real-time overview of the company’s industrial safety.

Monitoring of dangerous health conditions of employees at work completes the supervisory control. A number of such conditions may not be recognised by the employee, and it is, therefore, important that they are promptly identified and addressed through urgent medical assistance.

All the tasks above are successfully solved using personal wearable electronic devices. If the health checks are included, such a device can take the form of a biometric hand bracelet with the following functionality:

  • Site positioning;
  • Control of entering pre-defined hazard zones;
  • Monitoring of heart rate variations, blood saturation;
  • Detection of sudden height changes (falls);
  • Detection of long periods without movement;
  • Personal identification when detected by mining equipment;
  • Urgent call to the dispatcher;
  • Backup emergency communication channel with the dispatcher; and
  • Immediate reporting to the control system.

Based on the above, it is possible to formulate the general technical requirements for a collision avoidance system:

  1. The system components should be installed on all types of mining equipment, making installation and removal as easy as possible. The maximum installation time for one vehicle must not exceed four hours (for a 130-220 t mining dump truck with a team of two technicians).
  2. The system shall provide the following operating modes:
    – V2V proximity detection; and
    – V2P proximity detection.
  3. The system should ensure real-time proximity detection within the range of 360° and the horizontal distance of at least 100 m.
  4. The proximity detection is to be performed at the speeds of up to 60 km/h.
  5. The system needs to differentiate the hazard zones depending on the distance and colour-code these zones on the indicators. The size of the zones can be dynamic and depend on the speed and direction of the moving object.
  6. Different ways (sources) of alerting shall be implemented for each zone on the operator display or the personal tag depending on the hazard level.
  7. The system has to minimise the number of false alarms.
  8. It needs to be scalable, have a high upgrade potential and allow for integration with dispatching systems.

Selection of a collision avoidance system should rely not only on the current tasks to ensure a specified safety level in the operation, but also on the needs of industrial process management in the company.

Some systems also provide location data for vehicles and people, and can be integrated with the driver fatigue control systems. All the collected information can be used in combination with the permit-to-work system, which may become the first step towards implementation of the Multifunctional Safety System within the operation, which should generally provide for:

  • Control of the current state of the surface mining operations against the design solutions and the mine development schedule;
  • Control of operation of the main mining and transport equipment;
  • Monitoring of geomechanical and seismic processes;
  • Warning and location systems for mobile equipment and personnel;
  • Communication functions, including those with professional emergency response teams; and
  • Availability of other safety systems (subsystems) whic account for the specific features of a particular operation.

*Alexey Klebanov is Science Director at Zyfra Group

Booyco Electronics to provide Otjikoto gold mine with ‘true collision avoidance system’

Proximity detection specialist Booyco Electronics says it is equipping 19 mechanised mining machines with its latest Booyco CXS proximity detection solution to enhance safety during the development phase of underground operations at B2Gold’s Otjikoto gold mine, in Namibia.

According to Anton Lourens, Booyco Electronics CEO, the order was placed by Murray & Roberts Cementation, one of the contractors establishing the underground stoping horizon for the Wolfshag zone at Otjikoto mine.

The contract also includes sensing devices for 120 underground personnel on the operation, which will be included in the employee’s cap lamp to provide an alarm.

“Our equipment will help achieve the highest level of safety by mitigating the risk of collisions between pedestrians and vehicles, and between vehicles, on this project,” Lourens says. “The installation of our CXS units is in line with the commitment by the mine and the contractor to zero harm in the workplace.”

The Cementation Lewcor JV contract will take 28 months. Lewcor Mining is a Namibian company with extensive mining experience in that country. The contract includes a decline of 5 m wide by 5.5 m high being driven to the orebody from a portal in one of Otjikoto’s depleted open pits. The operation will be highly mechanised, with equipment including drill rigs, dump trucks, LHDs and utility vehicles, as well as shotcreting and ancillary equipment.

Lourens highlights that Booyco Electronics’ latest generation CXS system is a comprehensive and integrated proximity detection solution, taking a step beyond being just a warning system to become a “true collision avoidance system”.

He added: “The CXS system on this project will deliver Level 7 and Level 8 capability in terms of the Earth Moving Equipment Safety Roundtable (EMESRT) and can also accommodate Level 9. Although there is not yet a legal requirement for collision avoidance systems in Namibia, our customer and the mine adopt a global best practice approach to all aspects of safety in mining operations.”

With the mine’s location more than 300 km north of Windhoek, it is important the equipment is robust and reliable to ensure maximum uptime, according to Lourens.

“To ensure that the equipment performs optimally, we have trained the customers’ artisans on how to look after it,” he said. “A qualified serviceman from Booyco Electronics will also visit the site regularly to audit performance, assess the equipment and conduct any necessary maintenance.”

Booyco Electronics’ home-grown technology has seen wide take-up in underground operations – both hard rock and coal – as well as in the open-cast environment, plants and warehouses, the company says. It now has a footprint of over 100 mining customers in South Africa, with this Namibia project part of a gradual expansion into other countries in Southern Africa.

Lourens says the use of collision avoidance systems is likely to keep increasing, as more miners adopt the EMESRT guidelines.

He concluded: “The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) is also an important stakeholder in this process. The ICMM highlights that transport and mobile equipment accidents were highest cause of fatalities at their members’ operations in 2018, accounting for 30% of fatalities.”

Booyco lays groundwork for all miners to achieve Level-9 safety compliance

Supporting mines in their quest for zero-harm, Booyco Electronics says its CXS solution has leveraged technology to achieve new levels of safety in underground and surface mining environments.

“The Booyco CXS solution is engineered to mitigate the risk of collisions between pedestrians and vehicles, or between vehicles, in operational environments,” Booyco Electronics CEO, Anton Lourens, says. “This system takes the vital step from being just a warning system to becoming a collision avoidance system.”

Lourens highlights that the Booyco CXS consolidates everything the company has learnt in its 15 years of serving the sector. By upgrading to a new hardware platform, the system’s software updates can be conducted remotely and more frequently – providing increased functionality. It also allows users to comply with the latest and ever more stringent safety regulations.

“Our Booyco CXS is a comprehensive and integrated response to Level 7, Level 8 and Level 9 safety levels – as defined by the Earth Moving Equipment Safety Round Table (EMESRT),” he says.

The new hardware platform is based on principles proven by Booyco Electronics over many years. Technology includes the reliable and accurate Very Low Frequency technology for pedestrian detection, and GPS and radio frequency technology for vehicle detection in surface applications.

“At the heart of the system is the Booyco Host Unit (BHU),” Lourens says. “This receives information from the pedestrian sensors, the trackless mining machine sensors and the wheeled mobile equipment sensors. It then conducts the necessary proximity calculations and algorithms to alert users to any impending risk scenarios.”

Lourens also emphasises that this BHU integrates with original equipment manufacturer systems, either directly or through a third-party interface, in accordance with ISO 21815.

“This allows the Booyco CXS to apply Level 9 intervention instructions to the machine, as required to, for example, automatically slowing it down or bringing it to a complete stop,” he says. “Our flexible, comprehensive approach with the Booyco CXS solution has been developed to ensure that all customers can achieve Level 9 compliance, irrespective of the age of their machines.”

Mining3 equips miners with tools for proximity detection decision making

Mining3 has launched an online sensor technology capability tool that provides users with, it says, unbiased information on Proximity Detection System (PDS) sensors to assist in their decision-making process.

The PDS Toolkit is part of the Mining3 ACARP funded project titled, ‘PDS Validation Framework – Phase 3’. The interface provides a high-level summary of the six most prevalent PDS sensors available to the market, according to Mining3.

This information has been extracted from the PDS Sensor Capability Assessment document developed by the PDS Project Team comprised of Mining3, the University of Pretoria and The University of Queensland. The document, in its entirety, will also be published and made available to industry shortly, Mining3 said.

Mining3 Chief Operating Officer, Susan Grandone, said: “The purpose of this toolkit is to provide a fundamental understanding of how various sensors operate, both individually and in combination. This, in turn, will aid in a user’s decision-making process by providing unbiased information and data on each sensor.”

As well as providing individual sensor information, the toolkit contains a spider attribute chart that enables users to toggle between the sensors, identifying strengths and weaknesses for a specific application or attribute. A searchable scoring system with the ability to filter is also available in a table format underneath.

Finally, sensor technology usage in the PDS/Collision Avoidance System industry and references used in compiling the assessment document and developing the toolkit are also provided.

Free access to the PDS Toolkit is available to the industry, however users will need to register as a method of accepting the usage disclaimer, Mining3 said.

Click here to access the toolkit.

Wabtec on the evolution of collision awareness systems in mining

In an article arguing proximity detection and collision awareness technology makes for not only a safer, but more productive mine, Craig Hoffmann, Senior Product Manager – Collision Awareness & Geospatial Systems at Wabtec Corp’s Digital Mine division, has revealed that the company is currently working on conducting single and multiple machine testing on a production mine site using its collision awareness system.

In an opinion piece titled, Pioneering collision awareness technology enables safer mining practices, Hoffman went into the history of this technology, as well as the milestones the Wabtec team have achieved.

Mining has always been seen as a risky business, whether undertaken above ground or deep beneath the earth’s surface. But, thanks to a combination of government regulation in South Africa and a concerted industry effort by mining companies and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), further enabled by cutting-edge technology, it’s becoming a lot safer, he writes.

In several respects, South Africa is leading the way in this drive towards the ideal of a mining industry with zero avoidable fatalities. Collision awareness is a crucial component of this quest, contributing to the layers of protection against significant risk associated with vehicle interactions.

A collision awareness system (CAS)* is an integral part of mine safety management tools that helps workers make the right decision at the right time in order to mitigate vehicle interaction risk while helping to increase productivity and improve situational awareness.

The need for a CAS in South Africa was identified as far back as 1995, when the Leon Commission of Inquiry into Safety and Health in the Mining Industry identified haulage and transport accidents as the second largest category of accidents in mines.

The government wasn’t slow to respond. A year later, the Mine Health and Safety Act was enacted, which places the responsibility on employers to ensure mines are safe and workplaces healthy.

At the same time internationally, there was a concerted move towards making interactions between vehicles, vehicles-to-persons and vehicles-to-environment significantly safer. The Earth Moving Equipment Safety Round Table (EMESRT) was established in 2006 by six global mining companies. From the outset, engagement with OEMs was seen as crucial to the success of its efforts.

Since its formation, EMESRT, as part of the Vehicle Interaction Systems Performance Requirements PR-5A, has defined 24 surface vehicle interaction scenarios and established nine levels of vehicle interaction defensive controls, namely: level 1 – site requirements, level 2 – segregation controls, level 3 – operating procedures, level 4 – authority to operate, level 5 – fitness to operate, level 6 – operating compliance, level 7 – operator awareness (proximity awareness – alerts the operator), level 8 – advisory controls (proximity detection – advises the operator) and level 9 – intervention controls (collision avoidance – takes control from the operator). EMESRT has also driven the mining industry development of a standard communications protocol between the proximity detection system (PDS) and OEM machine for the practical implementation of level 9 – intervention controls as part of the standard ISO 21815.

The importance of level 7 – operator awareness and level 9 – intervention controls was highlighted on February 25, 2015 when the South Africa Minister of Mineral Resources signed the Amendment of Chapter 8 of the Mine Health and Safety Act. This legislation makes it necessary to implement a system which provides proximity awareness (level 7) and collision avoidance (level 9), which will automatically apply the brakes to trackless mobile machinery (TMM) without any human intervention at any mine where there is a significant risk of such collisions.

This functionality essentially requires the traditional level 7 PDS to mature to provide full machine interventions of a level 9 collision avoidance system. The final date for implementation is still to be confirmed but the mining industry is targeting late 2020.

The legislation requires that each mining operation conduct a comprehensive risk assessment to determine the risk exposure introduced by TMM. Based on the risk assessment, the mining operation is then able to define a collision management system user requirements specification with regards to CAS required on the TMM fleet.

The need for such measures was underlined when it emerged that fatalities attributable to TMM-related accidents increased nearly 50% from eight in 2016 to 14 in 2017.

Wabtec Digital Mine has been the global provider of a best of breed high integrity level 7 PDS system for the past 14 years and, therefore, was perfectly positioned to take on the journey to progress towards a fully compliant level 9 CAS system. At this level, the PDS automatically applies full intervention controls to the vehicle and takes control from the operator when a dangerous vehicle interaction situation is detected after the operator has failed to respond to the earlier level 7 proximity alerts and level 8 advisory controls.

It is recognised by Wabtec and the mining industry that CAS alone should not be viewed as a ‘silver bullet’ for mitigating the risk of vehicle interactions, as the initial focus should be on maximising the maturity of the more effective mine site defensive controls at levels 1 – 6 and supplemented by PDS/CAS levels 7 – 9 where required. This approach has also been adopted through a new initiative by the International Council on Mining & Minerals (ICMM) as part of the program for ‘Innovation for Cleaner Safer Vehicles’, where the mining industry globally has an ambition at the CEO level to eliminate all fatalities from vehicle interactions in mining by 2025.

The Minerals Council of South Africa is currently coordinating the development and testing of all the CAS suppliers by providing a best practice framework with the aim of fast tracking the industry developments. This work is also being integrated into a new EMESRT initiative to develop a unified, integrated industry PDS testing methodology and validation framework.


The first milestone for the CAS supplier is to conduct independent lab scale testing done by the University of Pretoria (UoP) at the Gerotek testing facility, in South Africa. The UoP uses high precision measuring equipment to test and log the performance of the CAS system as is capable of providing a detailed independent report on the capability of the CAS system. The tests provide invaluable insights into the capability of the system and level of technology readiness.

The second milestone, which the Wabtec Digital Mine Collision Awareness System team conducted on an independent machine OEM site, is single and multiple machine testing. These tests were successfully performed, as real-world scenarios were created and tested against. These tests were conducted in dry and wet conditions and to speeds up to 40 km/h.

The third key milestone that the Wabtec team is currently working towards is to conduct single and multiple machine testing on a production mine site. The range of machines being tested include rigid body haul trucks, articulated dump trucks and a rubber-tyred wheel loader, which represent the typical high risk TMM found working on a mine site.

In order to address the significant challenges in achieving a level 9 – compliant CAS system, Wabtec Digital Mine has developed proprietary software algorithms that are able to interpret and anticipate the complex scenarios presented during normal mining operations. This enables the Wabtec systems to operate seamlessly with the operator.

If Wabtec’s experience has shown anything, it’s that proximity detection and collision awareness technology makes for not only a safer, but a more productive mine, thanks to the wealth of data the systems are able to gather, analyse and feed back to the mine operators we support. We remain committed to delivering a world class, Level 9 CAS system to the global mining community.

* “CAS” has been alternately referred to as collision awareness system or collision avoidance system. Wabtec CAS solutions should be understood as collision awareness systems

Polyus looks for safety gains with Orlaco collision avoidance system rollout

Polyus, Russia’s largest gold producer, is to rollout Orlaco’s collision avoidance system (CAS) across its mining fleet following the successful implementation of a similar system at its Krasnoyarsk business unit in 2017.

VIST Group, which is part of the ZYFRA Group and the exclusive dealer of Orlaco’s CAS in Russia and the CIS, will carry out the installation.

German Popov, Head of the Division at VIST Group, said: “With 30% of all accidents in the workplace, in 2018, caused by mobile equipment, according to the International Council of Mining and Metals, health and safety surrounding vehicle usage is critical. At VIST, we have proved our capability in increasing the safety of mining operations through the implementation of cutting-edge solutions.”

The Orlaco CAS consists of a set of cameras and radars mounted on mining equipment. The information collected from this hardware is communicated to the driver via a monitor, allowing them greater spatial awareness of their vehicle and the surrounding area.

The features include a built-in warning system, which automatically alerts the transport operator to any equipment, people, boulders, poles and stationary structures within a 30-m radius.

The system has been designed to provide operators with greater control over their vehicle for manoeuvring, mainly where space is tight, other vehicles or people may be present in large numbers, and/or weather conditions prove prohibitive.

The implementation of this latest safety solution follows VIST’s 2017 installation of an Orlaco video surveillance and collision avoidance system at the Krasnoyarsk business unit of Polyus. This project was well received by equipment operators, according to a survey, with 77% “fully satisfied” with the installed system and its ease of use, 78% noting an increase in the level of safety in work, and 75% reacting positively to the additional visibility provided by cameras when operating in the dark.

Robotics and automation projects among latest METS Ignited funding recipients

Australia’s Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews, has announced seven mining supply businesses as the recipients of A$4.1 million ($2.9 million) in innovation funding under the METS Ignited Collaborative Project Funds.

The recipients of the funding will now be able to launch eight collaborative industry projects delivering highly-advanced solutions to a variety of mining challenges and contribute to the growth and capability of the METS sector, according to METS Ignited.

This funding is part of a four-year, A$15.6 million commitment made by the Australian Government to incentivise collaboration and address METS sector priorities. The funding established the METS Ignited Collaborative Project Funds, which support industry-led projects to improve the productivity, competitiveness and innovative capacity in the METS sector.

Today’s announcement at Mineral Technologies, on the Gold Coast of Australia, is the third tranche of funding. METS Ignited received 26 grant applications and has awarded the funds to businesses specialising largely in robotics and automation, data analytics, data platforms, Internet of Things and business and professional services. The recipients are: Mineral Technologies, Premron, Austmine, Roobuck, Process IQ, AMOG (x2) and Magotteaux.

Acting CEO of METS Ignited, Ian Dover, said: “Active collaboration across the ecosystem is core to accelerating commercialisation of innovation and has been lacking in the METS and mining sector, where historically relationships have been in the main transactional.”

“Facilitating such innovation is part of the mandate for METS Ignited. It’s vital we support the application of influential future technologies across the METS sector and maintain Australia’s competitiveness.”

Recipients of the Collaborative Project Funds are required to secure equal or greater investment from an industry partner. As a result, the total value of the eight projects is A$11 million.

The largest fund recipients were Queensland-based Mineral Technologies and Premron, awarded A$1 million each. Mineral Technologies’ automation of the Roy Hill Iron Ore beneficiation plant project automates the gravity separation spiral process used in the mine to optimise the concentration of lower-grade ore into higher value ore for export, METS Ignited said.

Roy Hill CEO, Barry Fitzgerald, said: “I am delighted the government is supporting our partnership with Mineral Technologies – a project that seeks to enhance the operational efficiency of our mine, delivering more high-grade product while reducing waste for the same operational cost.”

The automation of spiral control in the Roy Hill beneficiation plant will materially improve the concentration of ore into high value product for export, according to Roy Hill. More high-grade product and less waste will be produced for the same feed and processing cost, delivering value to both the environment and Roy Hill’s bottom line, the company said. Once proven effective at Roy Hill, the technology can be commercialised and rolled out at similar operations across the world.

“This innovation project will deliver a step-change improvement through real time control of our 720 spirals, enabling our processing plant to dynamically respond to the natural variability of the material it is treating,” Fitzgerald said.

Premron’s Continuous Haulage System (CHS) project, meanwhile, will revolutionise coal mining in underground mines, according to METS Ignited. It eliminates the use of shuttle cars, used to take the coal cut from the wall of the mine to a transfer point further away in the mine (dead time). CHS will see the coal go straight to a conveyor belt and out of the mine.

Other projects that received funding in this round include: sensor technology to monitor the location of people and equipment underground; artificial intelligence technology to emulate the role of a grinding expert; automated sensor detection for oversized rocks; a predictive analytics tool that pinpoints the best time for equipment descaling; a METS career pathway programme; and a device to give more detailed information on the chemistry inside the grinding mill while it is operating.

METS Ignited said: “Collectively, the projects will benefit the mining sector by optimising the value chain, increasing productivity for mining and mineral processing, supporting and enhancing environmental management, and improving operational safety.”

The project fund recipients include:

Automation of the Roy Hill Iron Ore beneficiation plant

  • Recipient: Mineral Technologies
  • Partners: Roy Hill
  • Collaborative project funds: A$1 million
  • Industry investment: A$1 million
  • This project automates the gravity separation spiral process used in the mine to optimise the concentration of lower-grade ore into higher value ore for export.


  • Recipient: Premron
  • Partners: Gauley Robertson Australia, Kestrel coal mine
  • Collaborative project funds: A$1 million
  • Industry investment: A$1.13 million
  • Continuous haulage will revolutionise coal mining in underground mines. It eliminates the use of shuttle cars, which are used to take the coal cut from the wall of the mine to a transfer point further away in the mine. CHS will see the coal go straight onto a conveyor belt and out of the mine.

Austmine METS career Pathway Program

  • Recipient: Austmine
  • Collaborative Project Funds: A$240,000
  • Industry investment: A$1.76 million
  • This project places university students as interns in METS companies around Australia, increasing the interest level and uptake of graduates into the METS sector

The OVERwatch Platform

  • Recipient: Roobuck
  • Partners: Redpine Signals, Northparkes Mines, University of Wollongong
  • Collaborative project funds: A$600,000
  • Industry investment: A$1.5 million
  • This project develops sensors and software to track the location of people and machinery working in underground mines and ensure that collisions are avoided. This is a complex project as there is limited communication options underground (eg no Wi-Fi).

Remote grinding optimisation and support centre

  • Recipient: ProcessIQ
  • Partners: Orway Mineral Consultants, Jamieson Consulting, Curtin University
  • Collaborative Project Funds: A$620,000
  • Industry investment: A$780,000
  • This project enables grinding experts to interact directly and in real time with grinding circuits on remote mine sites to ensure they are operating at their most productive levels. The project will develop automated artificial intelligence software to emulate the experts as there is very limited supply of this specialist expertise, leading to increased processing efficiency globally.

Automated Oversize Detection

  • Recipient: AMOG
  • Partners: Omniflex
  • Collaborative Project Funds: A$150,000
  • Industry investment: A$220,000
  • This project involves developing sensor equipment that alerts the mine when rocks are too big to process through the crushing and grinding equipment. Blockages in the crushing and grinding circuits are costly and time consuming. Haulage trucks with oversized rocks will be diverted to a separate location in the mine, which avoids stoppages.

Smooth Operator leach circuit process optimisation

  • Recipient: AMOG
  • Partners: Lithium Consultants
  • Collaborative Project Funds: A$220,000
  • Industry investment: A$220,000
  • This project involves developing a predictive analytics tool that allows copper and nickel mines to pinpoint when they should close equipment for descaling. Closing equipment too late or early is very costly. There is a very large global market for this product.

Commercialisation of pulp chemistry monitor for the mining industry

  • Recipient: Magotteaux
  • Partners: Hydrix, Manta Controls, Newcrest Mining
  • Collaborative Project Funds: A$250,000
  • Industry investment: A$310,000
  • This project involves developing a device to give more detailed information on the chemistry inside the grinding mill while it is operating. Grinding and flotation circuits use many chemical inputs in order to extract minerals from the ore. Getting the chemical balance right in the mill and the next stage of floatation is critical to removing as much of the valuable mineral as possible. The percentages of the yield vary between 85% and 95% and a 1% improvement in yield will deliver a very large financial benefit to the mine.

Hexagon’s CAS to protect workers and equipment at Conuma Coal Resources ops

Hexagon’s Mining division has signed a safety solution deal with Conuma Coal Resources Ltd that will see its HxGN MineProtect collision avoidance system employed at the miner’s metallurgical coal operations in British Columbia, Canada.

The three-year subscription package will cover Conuma’s Brule (pictured), Willow Creek and Wolverine mines, near Tumbler Ridge, in north-eastern BC. These operations employ about 800 staff and have a fleet of exceeding 180 pieces of equipment.

Hexagon said: “Used in more than 30,000 vehicles and in over 60 mines worldwide, HxGN MineProtect CAS will give Conuma vehicle operators 360o proximity detection at any speed and in all conditions via unobtrusive cabin display units.”

The system is fully integrated with HxGN MineProtect Fatigue Pro, which uses computer vision technology to monitor operators unobtrusively while driving, according to Hexagon.

“Further integration with HxGN MineProtect Tracking Radar will help characterise a potential threat’s position and motion, providing drivers and operators the information they need to prevent incidents,” Hexagon said.

Conuma will also use HxGN MineEnterprise Platform, a web-based reporting and analytics solution, to monitor and control critical risk events by connecting a multitude of data sources via live dashboards. This will help visualise all aspects of CAS, according to Hexagon.

Hexagon Mining President, Josh Weiss, said: “We’re hugely impressed by Conuma’s commitment to safety. This is a great example of how subscription licensing and an integrated portfolio package adds flexibility while allowing mines to maximise safety. We share Conuma’s core belief that protecting people and equipment is the smartest investment a mine can make.”

Conuma President, Mark Bartkoski, said: “We are extremely excited to be partnering with Hexagon to implement an integrated safety solution that provides protection for our employees. We are truly dedicated to providing our people with the tools to run a safe, productive and efficient operation that provides security for all of our partners.”