Safety Benefits and Risk Management Strategies for Automated Loader Systems in Underground Mining

Rijubrata Das

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis (University Course)


The significant driver for automation in the mining industry has been the concern for safety of manpower exposed to hostile and sometimes un-hygienic environments. Automation has other benefits like increased productivity and reduction in operation and maintenance costs. Diesel operated Load-haul and dump (LHD) machine or loaders are key equipment for trackless mining method. LHDs have application in different mining methods like cut and fill, sub level stoping, block caving, bord and pillar, etc. These loaders come in different sizes and carrying capacities range from 1 tonne upto 25 tonne. Mostly operated manually these equipment works in some critical areas of the mine which can be hazardous. Over the years there have been constant efforts to reduce the human interaction in underground mining through the process of automation. Progressive developments in the field of automation in mobile equipment have led to the following developments. Radio Remote Control (RRC): Line of sight control of equipment during mucking. Traming operation is manually controlled. Tele-remote: This is beyond line of sight operation. Mucking is done remotely with video images supporting the operator while traming cycle is tele-remote / automated. Full automation: Complete operation is automated and controlled and monitored from surface station. Remote monitoring: Access to data on production, utilization and health of machine. The implementation of any of the above automation requires some changes in the mining systems. Some systems need restricted entry by use of electronic lockouts and physical barriers. Other systems require modified infrastructure and re-defined path-ways, revised speed limit of operation and even modification in machines. Any change to existing infrastructure and operations in a restricted environment like an underground mine will require close monitoring, hazard identification and risk assessment. Hence before implementing such systems a thorough safety benefit and risk assessment is necessary.
Translated title of the contributionSafety Benefits and Risk Management Strategies for Automated Loader Systems in Underground Mining
Original languageEnglish
  • Moser, Peter, Supervisor (internal)
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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