Wireless piezometer monitoring systems make mines safer and more productive.
As underground mines go deeper and wider, they frequently come into contact with bodies of water, either on the surface or in the form of underground reservoirs. In addition to concentrated bodies of water, there is also always water present in the soil in and around the mine which, under the right circumstances, could start to increase in pressure.
A substantial part of making sure underground mines operate as safely and as productively as possible is continuous monitoring of geotechnical and hydrological features inside and adjacent to the mine. Mine engineers use a variety of monitoring instruments to collect vital data about the status of ground and water in the mine, and especially any potential changes that may increase operating risks.
One of the key instruments used in this environment is the piezometer. Piezometers determine the status of bodies of water by measuring the height to which a column of water rises against gravity, or the pressure exerted by water or moisture contained within soil or rock formations.
Data generated by an array of piezometers deployed throughout a mine property can guide engineers and help them spot potential risks developing and deal with them efficiently while they are still easily manageable.
However, to fully utilize the data generated by piezometers, engineers must have easy access to the information. It is in this context that electronic monitoring systems prove invaluable. By connecting multiple piezometers to a wireless mesh network that links directly to the engineer’s computer, they remove the need for time-consuming and inefficient manual collection of data. This allows the engineers to spend most of their time using the data to make the mine safer and more efficient, rather than having to walk around reading data from dozens (or possibly hundreds) of hydrology piezometers.