As part of our FutureSmart™ mining strategy, we invest in technology to keep our people safe and to build efficient processes.
Evolving drilling and cutting systems
The technical demands of underground hard rock mining operations are higher than for open cut, which is why we are collaborating with key mining machinery and technology manufacturers (OEMs) to transform how we mine underground using advanced drilling and cutting systems.
We have created the Rapid Mine Development System (RMDS) together with Atlas Copco, designed to quickly, cost efficiently and safely develop low-profile tunnels in hard rock.
The RMDS excavates a rectangular-shaped tunnel, important for roof stability purposes in platinum mines, for example, as well as providing the flat floor needed by mine vehicles. As well as removing people from areas of most danger underground, the RMDS causes less damage to the overhead walls, thereby reducing the risk of collapse and enables greater ore excavation time as there is no time lost for explosive blasting.
We are currently testing the RMDS at our Twickenham platinum mine in South Africa.
OBJECT DETECTION AND AUTO-BRAKING TECHNOLOGY
We have fitted trucks at our Sishen iron ore mine in South Africa with tracking radars for object detection, in-cab operator display, collision detection alarms, and auto-braking technology.
The auto-braking technology in particular significantly improves accident prevention. It helps operators avoid collisions by indicating when danger is imminent and automatically adjusts the truck’s speed, applying the brakes if an operator fails to do so when there is an obstacle.
It also limits movement of the haul truck when an object is detected and reduces the majority of incidents that occur by reducing speed in areas that are geo-fenced with a speed limit.