North-Western Phosphorous Company has installed an underground mine positioning system that enables it to monitor the location of personnel and equipment in real time.
This system provides automated control in such fields as workplace safety, personnel and production monitoring, and expansion and development of the workflow supervision network. Supervisors receive alerts about system component failures and information that allows them to analyse the movement of equipment and workers and view reports.
When coupled with Wi-Fi data transfer, the mine positioning system delivers highly precise coordinate positioning, which, unlike the sectoral positioning used by most similar facilities, displays the precise location of a moving object within the system’s coverage area. The equipment on which the system runs is manufactured by Australian MST, which has vast expertise in the development of underground safety systems.
Mine shift supervisors have specially designed rugged tablet PCs from which they can control production processes and access other information from inside the mine. Personnel can made internal and external calls via rugged cell phones through the positioning system. These cell phones have an advanced feature – they can be used as radio sets, reducing blind areas and providing better oversight of the production process in the underground mine environment.
Currently, NWPC has set up tracking for more than 200 persons and items. All purchased equipment and new personnel members are given positioning tags. The Company is increasing the number of signal receiving and data transmitting points as the mine expands.
NWPC plans to expand the availability of transmitting and receiving units in 2018; the Company will lay additional fiber-optic cable routes to cover blind areas and new openings. NWPC also plans to begin transmitting information on fuel and oil consumption by underground mine machinery.