Safety First From Day One at Xstrata’s New Platinum Mine

Booyco Electronics’ groundbreaking new Collision Warning System 800 Plus will be installed at Xstrata’s new Elands Platinum Mine in the Brits area from operational start-up.

“Every vehicle to go underground will be fitted with the CWS 800 Plus System and every pedestrian will be equipped with the relevant VLF tag,” Anton Lourens, managing director of Booyco Electronics, says.

The CWS 800 Plus is an upgrade of an earlier technology which now incorporates both UHF RFID and VLF capabilities. “Collisions are all too common in mining operationa,” continues Lourens. “In conjunction with Selectronics of Germany and VAK Technical Solutions, Booyco Electronics has been refining a technology originally developed and patented by Dr Valery Konovov of VAK Technical Solutions. The CWS 800 Plus will alert both vehicle operators and pedestrians to any impending collision.”

The mining industry has now accepted that the only reliable technology for collision warning underground is VLF, Lourens claims. “It has remarkable through-rock penetration capabilities, so that pedestrians are made aware of oncoming vehicles even around rock walls and corners. It is an extremely stable and predictable system which can be set to function within predetermined zones with a high degree of accuracy. In addition, it is not adversely affected by surrounding equipment.”

The warning zone is established for between one and 12 metres for pedestrians using VLF and up to 50 metres for vehicle-to-vehicle alerts using UHF. “A flashing light and a buzzer warn the pedestrian of approaching vehicles so that avoiding action can be taken, and a visible and audible alarm in the vehicle cab caution the operator to stop immediately,” Lourens continues.

Xstrata is one of several leading mining houses in South Africa who has taken the bold step of installing this equipment in their mines to boost safety standards. “We have, however, received numerous other enquiries,” Lourens comments. “And I have little doubt that before long it will be regarded as essential equipment in any mining operation.

“We are also using this same technology for shaft clearance on the mine,” he adds. “The VLF tag is tested before the miner goes underground and the ID number is recorded, so that there is, at all times, an accurate determination of who is underground.”

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