The mining industry has significantly enhanced its safety protocols beyond the traditional pickaxe and hard hat approach. Advanced technologies are now available with customized safety measures. By accurately identifying the potential hazards and proactively preventing accidents, mining companies are paving the way for a safer and more secure work environment. This transformation is further accelerated by the adoption of technologies such as tunnel safety devices and location-sensitive alarms, says GlobalData.
Vaibhav Gundre, Sr. Consultant of Disruptive Tech at GlobalData, comments: “There is a pressing need for advancements in safety devices for tunnels within the mining industry. Accidents not only incur significant costs but also attract negative publicity for a company. As environmental and regulatory hurdles mount, prioritizing the adoption of safety technologies for miners is a crucial step towards securing profitable mining contracts.”
Rahul Kumar Singh, Senior Analyst of Disruptive Tech at GlobalData, comments: “Technological progress has greatly improved the ability of mining companies to effectively address health and safety risks, surpassing the limitations of past approaches. By embracing drones, IoT devices, and other advanced tunnel safety technologies, companies can not only proactively tackle frequent mining hazards but also attract top talent seeking a safe and innovative workplace.”
GlobalData’s FutureTech Series report, “Digging deeper into sustainability: key disruptive forces in mining,” highlights more than 30 disruptive forces in mining as emerging, accelerating, and maturing innovation areas based on their rate of growth in innovation.
Tunnel safety devices are sophisticated systems designed to proactively identify, mitigate, and manage a wide range of risks that can arise within tunnels, encompassing hazards such as fires, smoke, flooding, and accidents. In February 2023, researchers at the Schulich School of Engineering developed a sensitive methane sensor that detects methane at extremely low concentrations.
Location-sensitive alarms are specialized systems that activate when a person or object enters a predetermined geographic zone, functioning as an early warning mechanism to detect any unusual activity within that area. In February 2023, Sandvik launched xCell Cyclops, a convergence system for ground support in underground mining featuring built-in notifications and alarms to support a sustainable work environment.
In December 2022, LKAB, a government-owned Swedish mining company, partnered with Epiroc to increase mine safety by utilizing Epiroc’s systems to receive alarm and crisis information on employees’ mobile phones in an emergency.
Singh concludes: “The mining industry’s heightened focus on safety for workers and mines is evidenced by the rising number of patents for tunnel safety devices. By incorporating health and safety technologies, mining companies can not only enjoy benefits like attracting and retaining skilled workers and reducing maintenance expenses but also improve the early identification of potential hazards, thereby avoiding costly maintenance and repair work and generating substantial cost savings. As easily accessible mining sites become exhausted, companies must either explore more challenging areas or excavate deeper, underscoring the importance of mine safety.”