Australian measurement systems company, GroundProbe, will launch a ground-breaking mine safety and alarm system at the Rustenburg Platinum Mine Ltd (previously known as Potgietersrus Platinums Ltd.) in South Africa next week.
The new alarm system allows real-time monitoring and control in open cast mines.
Geotechnical engineers from Rustenburg, the largest platinum mine in the world, approached GroundProbe last year with the idea of integrating a pit alarm system with safety data generated by GroundProbe’s Slope Stability Radar system.
Slope Stability Radar systems have been successfully used in Rustenburg Mine for past five years.
Greg Hull, Austrade Senior Trade Commissioner to South Africa, said this project is a clear illustration of Australian innovation and the ability to meet the needs of an industry.
“GroundProbe is a company at the leading edge of the technology of mine safety, with systems that solve very serious problems in opencast mines.
“This collaboration with South African engineering has been able to turn industry driven needs into engineered reality.”
He said that the new pit system enhances the safety of all who work in open cast pits.
“It is very much a success story.”
Dr David Noon, COO of GroundProbe, said that rock falls are dangerous for people working at the bottom of the open pit mines and also impact on mine productivity if equipment is damaged.
“Our Slope Stability Radar system is a mobile unit that can be placed anywhere in a mine to survey and monitor a mine’s slope stability.”
The new pit alarm system responds to the data activated by the radar unit, setting off alarms.
Deformations in a mine rock wall as small as 0.1 mm can be picked up by the radar.
“With this system you can actually see the boundaries within which the rocks are moving,” Dr Noon said.
“We can pick up the exact locations of any potential wall failures.”
GroundProbe’s pit alarm system is also in use at Letlhakane Mine in Botswana and KOV Mine (Katanga Mining) in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Austrade’s Greg Hull said that Australian mining expertise has been making a substantial contribution to the development of the mining sector, not only in South Africa, but throughout the continent.
“This is a sector which is extremely important for Africa’s future,” he said.
Australian mining and resources investment in Africa is now estimated at around US$15 billion, with a large proportion of new ventures featuring Australian involvement.
Major Australian mining projects are underway in Burkina Faso, Mozambique, Senegal and Tanzania, with copper, coal, gold, mineral sands, nickel and uranium among the resources being mined.
n Dr David Noon
Chief Operating Officer & General Manager – Technology & Sales
07 3010 8944
n Greg Hull
02 9390 2191