Technological advances in telecommunications for mines

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 95, No. 1057, 2002

P.M.Y.Waye and R. Yewen, Mine Radio Systems Inc., Stouffville, Ontario

As mines utilize more automation in mining operations to improve efficiency and safety, a corresponding increasing demand is placed on the transport of information. Some of the recent technological advances in underground telecommunications are described for various data, voice and video applications. In particular, two new innovative underground communication systems are described, one with highspeed data at 30 Mbps and the other for minewide evacuation and safety applications. The high-speed data system incorporates state-of-the-art data networking technologies and the existing leaky-cable, narrow-band radio channels. The new system provides over the same basic infrastructure — the highspeed data network at 30 Mbps TCP/IP Ethernet with 100 Base-T interconnection, plus 32 narrow-band radio channels. The second system is a system for minewide evacuation with "through-the-earth" communication infrastructure. Emergency situations can be communicated to and from all the miners within seconds through a central control location. The technology involved does not require leaky cable or any other similar transmission media installation. Many applications are possible, including warning miners of emergency situations, mine rescue operation to communicate with trapped miners, and regular reporting from miners working alone.
Keywords: Mining, Automation, Underground data network, Earth communication system, Networking technologies.