Mining in an environment where there are significant water reserves, or the ground is simply very damp, adds more complexity to an already challenging activity. In order to minimise the risk of mining operations being disrupted, and possibly made unsafe, by flooding or large changes in water levels, it is necessary to monitor this water.
Piezometers and other hydrology measurement instruments have been used in and around mines that are susceptible to the effects of water for quite a long time. However, one of the problems faced by mine engineering staff until recently was that collecting data from all of these instruments was inefficient, slow and sometimes even dangerous.
Connecting the surface and ground water hydrological measuring devices to a single wireless network removes the need for a member of the mine’s engineering department to move from sensor to sensor collecting data manually.
Not only is this inefficient, but can also contribute to unsafe or unproductive conditions within the mine, due to the delay experienced while data that points out a developing dangerous situation is being collected.
Connecting piezometers, underground hydrology, and other geotechnical instruments to a series of Mine Design Technologies RTUs (remote terminal units) forms the basis of an efficient wireless data acquisition network within the mine.
These RTUs are spaced out so that they loop the signal from one to another, with one or more RTUs being connected to an ethernet gateway (or multiple gateways) that links directly into the mine’s ethernet infrastructure.
This allows data to be sent directly to an engineer’s PC via a software solution like MDT’s MineHop web interface or MineMonitor, reducing or completely removing the need for manual data collection and allowing for a faster reaction to potential hazards caused by the movement of water in and around the mine.