Digital networks are making mining safer and smarter

The mining sector and health & safety have always gone hand in hand. Over many years, the hazards of excavation have led to many attempts to mitigate risks both on a small, everyday scale and in actions encompassing large-scale measures such as the Mining Safety and Health Administration Act, created by legislation in 1978. Today, as miners seek to automate and apply data intelligence to their efforts, one constantly advancing area is having a huge effect: ubiquitous communications.

We shouldn’t underestimate the scale of challenges associated with mining. Miners obviously continue to face a range of obstacles from dust inhalation and harmful (and potentially inflammable) gases to the dangers of physical collapses and high noise levels. But connectivity, and technology more broadly, are helping to make mines smarter and safer environments.

Specifically, networking is changing mining in two ways: connecting to the outside world via WANs and remote monitoring of internal operations. These are equally being enhanced by the rapid improvements in speed, scalability and value in Wi-Fi and cellular communications we have all seen. Today’s miners can receive advice and assistance through video-augmented calls that can act as visual tutorials. Instrumented objects with attached sensors can transmit status updates across Internet of Things networks. These are vast improvements in areas where laying network cables is practically impossible.

Sensor networks are enabling a new age of mining where everything from weather, the health of the dam for tailings, moisture, vibration, structure stability, dust and the condition of vehicles and equipment can be monitored. These are opportunities that need to be taken with both hands.

Download this whitepaper to find out more.