Safety Programme in North American Open Pit Mines Enhanced With Slope Stability Radar Technology
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Safety Programme in North American Open Pit Mines Enhanced With Slope Stability Radar TechnologyGroundProbe
GroundProbe North America established operations in the US in 2005 and since then has sold or leased its Slope Stability Radar systems to 17 mine sites. The sites are owned by major mining corporations in Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Idaho and across Canada. The most recent sales were to Thompson Creek Mine outside of Chalis, Idaho (September 2008) and Bingham Canyon Mine outside of Salt Lake City, Utah (January 2009); the radars complement the mines current monitoring systems. The SSR uses radar to remotely scan a rock slope, continuously measuring movement of the face. The technology can detect and alert users of wall movements with sub-millimetre precision. Radar waves adequately penetrate through rain, dust and smoke, giving reliable and real-time measurements, 24 hours a day.
Thompson Creek Mine initially leased the SSR in July 2008 to monitor a wedge failure and later purchased an SSR-X, GroundProbe's longer range, higher resolution version. Dave Bates, geologist at Thompson Creek, said: "The SSR-X's ability to define the entire wedge failure was a great boost to Thompson Creek's comprehension of the failure mechanism. Moreover, the ability of the SSR-X to predict failures within the wedge increased the mine's ability to operate safely and efficiently. Thompson Creek is proud of its slope monitoring network, of which GroundProbe's SSR-X is the cornerstone."
The SSR is a mobile, trailer mounted radar unit that can be placed anywhere in an open pit mine to survey and monitor slope stability. Measuring wall movements at the sub-millimetre level, it can pick up potential movements and their exact location in the mine. The radar data can be transferred to the PCs of mine site geotechnical staff for analysis using GroundProbe's SSRViewer software.
Over 80 SSR systems have been installed at major mines around the world to manage the risks associated with slope instability. SSR technology is accepted as best-practice by the global mining industry for managing unstable and production-critical slopes. SSR systems have detected and recorded warning movements in over 200 rock falls and slope failures, ranging from small wedge failures of a few tonnes to dump failures of up to 30 million tonnes and have allowed productivity, planning and safety gains in many operations. GroundProbe is actively engaged in the development of new technologies for managing information in dynamic environments.