Mining of Mineral Deposits

ISSN 2415-3443 (Online)

ISSN 2415-3435 (Print)

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Towards Safer Mining: the Role of Modelling Software to Find Missing Persons after a Mine Collapse

F. Cawood1, H. Ashraf1

1University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Min. miner. depos. 2018, 12(2):13-28

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      Purpose. The purpose of the study is to apply science and technology to determine the most likely location of a container in which three miners were trapped after the Lily mine disaster. Following the collapse of the Crown Pillar at Lily Mine in South Africa on the 5th of February 2016, there was a national outcry to find the three miners who were trapped in a surface container lamp room that disappeared in the sinkhole that formed during the surface col-lapse.

      Methods. At a visit to Lily Mine on the 9th of March, the Witwatersrand Mining Institute suggested a two-way strategy going forward to find the container in which the miners are trapped and buried. The first approach, which is the subject of this paper, is to test temporal 3D modeling software technology to locate the container, and second, to use scientific measurement and testing technologies. The overall methodology used was to first, request academia and research entities within the University to supply the WMI with ideas, which ideas list was compiled as responses came in. These were scrutinized and literature gathered for a conceptual study on which these ideas are likely to work. The software screening and preliminary testing of such software are discussed in this article.

      Findings. The findings are that software modeling is likely to locate the present position of the container, but accurate data and a combination of different advanced software packages will be required, but at tremendous cost.

      Originality. This paper presents original work on how software technology can be used to locate missing miners.

      Practical implications. The two approaches were not likely to recover the miners alive because of the considerable time interval, but will alert the rescue team and mine workers when they come in close proximity to them.

      Keywords: safer mining, missing miners, software modelling, caving phase, software, underground mining


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