RCT says it has developed a monitoring system to improve underground mining operations at a gold mine in Western Australia’s Goldfields.
The miner approached RCT’s Kalgoorlie-based staff to develop a way to monitor the project’s ore passes to ensure they did not get blocked by larger rocks during the transfer of material.
The ore passes – now used to dump waste – are vertical chutes used by the mine’s Epiroc MT6020 haul trucks to dump material to backfill an old stope.
RCT subsequently developed the ore pass monitoring system consisting of a VEGAPULS 69 radar, spanning the 91 m deep pass, and a VEGAMET 391 measurement display to indicate at what depth a blockage may occur.
The VEGAPULS 69 is a sensor for continuous measurement of bulk solids under different process conditions, while the VEGAMET 391 is suited to simple control tasks in level, gauge and process pressure measurements, as well as for inventory management and remote enquiry, according to its manufacturer VEGA.
The display was designed to use its readings to control an associated traffic lamp assembly on the wall of the mine to advise mine staff whether material had been successfully transferred.
RCT said: “Once the system was implemented, the mining company introduced a procedure for operators to ensure the traffic lamps changed back to green after tipping to indicate the pass is clear of material.
“RCT’s technicians also installed a suppression field in the first 20 m of the ore pass and directly above it to stop sharp edges in the pass bouncing echoes and falsely tripping the sensor.”
RCT Kalgoorlie Branch Manager, Rick Radcliffe, said the monitoring system can significantly reduce the downtime associated with blocked ore passes.
“If the pass becomes blocked then operators may not notice until the entire pass is filled up with material and, at that point, it will take a significant amount of time to clear the pass,” he said.
“The monitoring system ensures blockages are identified and cleared immediately.”