Software and technology company Mine Vision Systems (MVS) has released a face-imaging device for use in mines, seeking to improve safety.

The company’s FaceCapture™ allows geologists to scan and image mines within a couple of minutes. The technology can combine both images and scans, which have been georeferenced, for increased accuracy.

Following the device’s release on Thursday MVS announced that Hecla, the US’s largest silver manufacturer, will deploy the system. The multi-year deal will see the system deployed at two of Hecla’s North American mines.

Based in Pittsburgh, US, MVS’ executives claim that developments in imaging and 3D construction will keep people away from the most dangerous parts of the mine.

MVS CEO Michael Smocer told Mining Technology that in discussions of new technologies, safety is “overwhelmingly important”. He went on to say that the imaging device “will keep people away from the face [and therefore] keep people away from the riskiest parts of the mine”.

Smocer claims that a number of mining companies have already invested in beta versions of FaceCapture™, which will be presented at the annual conference for the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration later this month in Denver, US.

The technology aims to reduce geologists’ time spent at the face by 80%, as well as improving levels of accuracy through real-time imaging. Scott Thayer, MVS’s Chief Strategy offer said that the technology is “designed to minimise the impact of scanning on the users”.

As demand for metals increases, in line with the renewable energy transition, prevention of mine accidents is a topic of concern.