While the Western Australia-based supplier is initially targeting underground hard rock mines in the state, it has plenty of stock to supply underground coal mines in Queensland and New South Wales.
WA Mining Minister Norman Moore has already given this type of product his tick of approval.
He disclosed the urgent importance of such a product during a Legislative Council meeting last month.
“I am, however, unable to rule out that on occasions individuals employed in underground mines may have defecated in places other than within a toilet,” he stressed.
“The use of a purpose-designed proprietary product in an emergency situation is of course supported where such use is appropriate.”
But the Restop2 toilet bag is already used by the Australian military, along with emergency and disaster relief personnel, who all know the bag’s ability to contain smells.
The tough bags have an enzyme powder inside which ensures any deposits become a “spill-proof mass” according to Miners’ Mates.
Using a strong ziplock, the bag’s special contents will not escape before being disposed of in a handy bin.
The bags also come with hand sanitiser and toilet paper.
Miners’ Mates is a division of Mullan Industries, and its manager Tracey Mullan has certainly heard of too many unplanned pit stops, especially in WA’s hard rock sector.
“The miners are faced with many issues when they need to use a toilet on shift,” she said.
“The closest toilet can be more than one kilometre away, and difficult to get to by foot.
“Miners may have to wait around for service crew to get a lift to the toilet. This alone can increase traffic on the already busy access roads. And obviously, production stops during this time, especially if it’s a supervisor or Jumbo operator who leaves his station.
“Then when they get to the toilet, it’s usually a less than wholesome sight, or smell for that matter. It’s nobody’s fault that the toilets are in such a state or too far to travel to. It’s just that a conventional toilet design cannot cope.
“Mullan Industries does not intend for the toilet bags to fully replace the current underground toilets, but making Miners’ Mates available will dramatically improve a situation that has historically been a big headache for mining companies.”
Miners have been known to innovatively use rags and plastic shopping bags for emergency pit stops, but to date there has been a lack of supplier activity on this front in Australia.
Miners’ Mates also noted its product can help minimise disruptions to production and even improve budgets due to the low cost of the bags.
While a website is expected to be launched soon, Mullan is handling enquiries on 0410 472 239.