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Wireless Technology Modernises Stench Gas Alert System

A North American gold mine incorporates the first wireless stench gas technology to improve emergency response planning across the site.

Effective alerts and communication systems play an essential role in a site’s overall emergency response plan. Providing underground personnel with as much time as possible to safely exit or proceed to a refuge chamber.

Stench Gas is an underground alert system designed to suit noisy environments where audible alarms may not be heard. During an emergency, the distinct and recognisable odour is rapidly dispersed through the ventilation system, prompting personnel to head to a safe area.

Challenges

  • Replace the existing manual stench gas system with a wireless option at a newly developed portal.
  • Ensure a strong signal could be sent without using repeaters. 

The Nevada gold mine currently utilised MineARC MineSAFE Refuge Chambers, this established the foundation of confidence to provide a tailored safety solution.

Solutions

  • Install a Stench Gas Alert System capable of remote activation.
  • Develop a custom unit to meet the unique requires of the site, i.e. temperature and size.
  • Incorporate wireless Stench Gas technology into the mine.

Customised Stench Gas Alert System

As every mine site is different with unique requirements, MineARC engineers continue to work closely with each customer to accommodate their individual needs and the environmental conditions of each site. The Remote Activated Stench Gas Unit is no exception as the engineers determined the correct mass and pressure of stench gas required to be dispersed into the mine, delivering the appropriate configurations. After careful evaluation, the recommendation was for two separate 4-cylinder units connected via a Remote Activation Console (RAC).

Temperature is another factor that needs to be considered throughout the development process. In understanding the climatic conditions and chemical nature of stench gas, an option for the unit is a heating package to keep the cylinders warm during situations where the temperature drops below 50° F (10° C).

Remote Activation of Stench Gas

Remote Activated Stench Gas Units, as well as Manual Stench Gas Units, are both utilised across the globe.

The MineARC Remote Activated Stench Gas Unit supports up to three redundant methods of operation to suit various emergency activation situations:

stench-gas-remote-activation
  1. Remote operation from any terminal connected to the local network via an integrated IP addressable web server provides system status monitoring and activation capabilities.
  2. Remote operation capabilities via the optional Remote Activation Console, provides system status monitoring and activation capabilities from remote locations.
  3. The capability of manual release of each console if all communications are lost.

The Stench Gas units installed on this Northern Nevada mine are monitored and released through the RAC located in the dispatch trailer or via a web browser accessible by security and key personnel throughout the site. Both units are activated and fired simultaneously by pressing a single button. The single button feature was an important factor when developing the unit for simple operator usage which has been received with positive feedback.

A necessary attribute for the customer was to have remote access for additional operational options. With the RAC, the system records all faults and events through logs that can be viewed remotely.  For mines that already have network infrastructure underground, such as fibre or Ethernet, the RAC is available in a touch screen HMI Control Panel. Error codes can also be viewed from any screen on the system.

Wireless Technology

The digitalisation of mines does not come without challenges as infrastructure and equipment are not commonly established to accommodate new technology. As the first to incorporate wireless stench gas technology into their mine, one hurdle was to ensure the signal could be sent the more than 2,000ft horizontal distance and 300ft of vertical distance without using repeaters.  Antennas were mounted over 25 ft. (7.62 m) into the air to ensure a strong signal was able to be transmitted across the gold mine.

Incorporating a Remote Activated Stench Gas Unit has reduced response times on-site for personnel above and below ground. MineARC Systems supports all industry champions who strive for a safer working environment designed for personnel. The international engineering teams continue to work alongside clients to better service the industry every day and aim towards the ongoing task of safety solutions. In keeping with MineARC’s commitment to innovation, we continuously develop new technologies that support our customers’ needs for safer more innovative ways to operate.


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