Harden up

SUPPLY Side thought he had seen it all. Then along came an invention that could turn mine rescue on its head. At least in theory. By Noel Dyson
Harden up Harden up Harden up Harden up Harden up

RCT's Teleromote Control System inside a MineARC refuge chamber

Noel Dyson

The folks at Minearc and Remote Control Technologies are clever. But to bring a whole different twist to mine rescue?

At least that is how it appeared from the press release the two companies sent out.

In essence the two companies have come up with a way for the RCT teleremote system to be operated from a Minearc refuge chamber.

Aha, thought Supply Side. Here’s a scenario for you. There is a rock fall and the miners head straight for the refuge chamber as their training dictates.

And here is the twist. Instead of waiting for rescue, they can simply whistle up a bogger with the teleremote system and dig themselves out.

Well, maybe not.

In reality it is a very safe workplace for the operators of teleremote-controlled mining equipment.

It builds on a similar system RCT put together with container maker Royal Wolf.

In that iteration Royal Wolf would put together a specially fitted out container that included an RCT teleremote system. It could be deployed underground or on the surface as needed.

However, the containers were not refuge chambers.

The Minearc-RCT offering will have the best of both worlds.

It gives the client a refuge chamber and an RCT teleremote operating station.

All for the one price.

For the operator things are pretty good too. The Minearc refuge chambers are very spacious – at least when there is only one operator and a teleremote system in it.

In an emergency situation when there is a whole crew of miners in there, not so much.

The operator also gets the benefit of much cleaner air because the refuge chamber has a filtered air-conditioning system.

The teleremote control system is installed into the refuge chamber at Minearc’s production facility in Perth.

The all in one solution has been carefully designed and manufactured to enhance both sets of technologies.

Well, at least for those miners who need to have a teleremote system underground. There are many operations where the teleremote systems are run from the surface.

As Rio Tinto is showing with its remote operating centre, it is quite possible to run equipment from a good 1600km away.

That is for surface equipment but it is not too much of a stretch to consider it being extended to the underground realm.

Indeed, many years ago attendees at a conference were treated to a demonstration of a raise bore being turned on from half a world away.

But for those who want their teleremote systems set up underground there is the RCT-Minearc option.

This article first appeared in ILN's sister publication MiningNews.net.