Water and mining don’t always mix well. Most mines, whether they are on the surface or underground, must contend with the presence of varying amounts of water, in the form of standing bodies of water or groundwater.
The pressure exerted by water or excessive seepage into the mine workings can have a significant, negative effect on the productivity and safety of the mine. To minimize these risks, mine engineers need to monitor and regularly assess the status of the water present in and around the mine.
Generally, this is done by installing vibrating wire piezometers in various parts of the mine to measure water pressure and depth. Regular readings taken from these instruments can provide valuable information and act as an early warning system, e.g. when water pressure in a certain part of the mine starts to rise rapidly.
However, having piezometers installed throughout the mine only really yields benefits if the data they produce can be easily gathered and analyzed. This is easily achieved by having all the piezometers in the mine connected to a central system that automatically gathers data from each instrument (via its electronic readout head) at regular intervals.
In the past, this often meant having a network of cables running all over the mine, to connect piezometers (and other monitoring instruments) to a central data gathering and analysis point. The growing popularity and availability, though, of wireless piezometer monitoring systems has made piezometer networks faster to deploy, simpler to maintain, and easier to gain useful information from.
To connect individual instruments to a wireless piezometer monitoring system, wireless nodes are used. The LS-G6 system by Worldsensing is ideal for this purpose. These rugged, low-maintenance units have options to read either a single piezometer, or simultaneously connect to up to five piezometers, reading and sending data from them directly into the mine-wide wireless piezometer monitoring system.