Inventive miners win innovation award

An innovation that makes a mine site safer while reducing carbon emissions has taken out the prestigious Queensland Mining Industry Innovation Awards presented in Townsville recently.

An innovation that makes a mine site safer while reducing carbon emissions has taken out the prestigious Queensland Mining Industry Innovation Awards presented in Townsville recently.

Both the judges’ and people’s choice awards went to Oz Minerals’ lighting plant auto start system.

Prior to the development of the system, the 45 lighting plants spread around Oz Minerals’ Century Mine had to be started manually by staff that travelled across the mine site in light vehicles, stopping constantly to start each plant.

Automating the system reduced the risks from moving about the mine site including vehicle accidents, exposure to heat and dust, and slips trips, sprains and strains.

Another benefit includes reducing carbon emissions by more than 173,000 kg of CO2 per year by cutting running time of the diesel-driven lighting plants by 2.5 hours per day. Reduced diesel use contributed to total cost savings of more than $366,000 annually.

Commended awards went to BMA’s Goonyella Riverside Mine, which came up with a safer way of handling the very common task of repairing dozer lights by eliminating the need to work at heights and Xstrata Copper’s Ernest Henry Mine, which devised a safer way to remove foreign metal objects from its ore crusher.

Both innovations, which were in response to injuries to workers, eliminate or greatly reduce the risk of reoccurrence.

Judging of the awards, which were compered by James O’Loghlin, host of ABC television’s ‘The New Inventors’, took place during the 20th annual Queensland Mining Industry Health and Safety Conference.

Conference Chairman and Chief Executive of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) said the awards acknowledge the ingenuity of Queensland’s mine employees who develop innovative solutions to practical problems.

‘I have no doubt that these innovations have, and will continue to make mines throughout Queensland, and further afield, safer places to work,’ Roche said.

The awards were presented by Roche and the Minister for Mines and Energy Geoff Wilson.

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