Shaft sinking is an important practice within the underground mining context. This activity is primarily carried out when:
- New mines are being established
- Existing mines are expanded horizontally, requiring the sinking of new shafts
- Mines are expanded vertically, requiring existing shafts to be deepened
In all of these cases, shaft sinking can be a risky business as digging occurs through strata that have not been fully explored before and may behave unpredictably, no matter how much surveying has been done. Cost and deadline considerations can also mean that mine engineers come under pressure to keep advance rates high.
During shaft sinking operations, mine management and engineers must balance two important factors:
- The need for productivity levels to be maintained, with advance rate and clearance of the shaft bottom being two of the key elements;
- The need to ensure that mine health and safety best practices and regulations are still followed, so the need for rapid progress is not so emphasized that it becomes more important than the safety of mine workers.
An important part of ensuring the safety of miners during shaft sinking is simply knowing their location at all times. Tracking systems that can locate each miner via a device that forms a mandatory component of the shaft-sinkers’ PPE (personal protective equipment) can go a long way towards making this possible.
The MineTrax system by Newtrax makes use of its unique battery-powered wireless nodes and Newtrax-enabled cap lamps to achieve this. In face, MineTrax actually serves a dual purpose when keeping miners safe during shaft sinking; not only does it offer state of the art tracking, but it also serves as an emergency evacuation system. This system is very suitable for use during shaft sinking operations, and using it will enhance mine safety management practices.
Contact us now to find out more about the MineTrax system and how it can make your mine a safer place during shaft sinking and other mining operations.