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Feb 08, 2021

Asset surveillance conducted in real time

Asset surveillance conducted in real time

When you’re putting a $170,000 piece of kit down a 4m diameter, 230m-long ventilation shaft that’s drawing 100 cubic metres of air a second, you want to be sure you know what you’re doing.

That piece of kit is reporting on the structural integrity of what is an integral feature in the design of modern mining systems.

SEAM Surveys recently tied their experience to a SLAM service in the Central Queensland minefields while the mine continued to operate unabated. 

SLAM stands for Simultaneous LiDAR and Mapping and refers to a survey service using autonomous orientation technology undertaken in ‘GPS denied’ locations including underground mining.

SEAM Surveys employed SLAM for geotechnical analysis to confirm the integrity of a coal mine ventilation shaft, survey manager Marty Phillips said.

Section view showing bands of different material in the shaft.

“The client was concerned about the structural integrity of the shaft before they lined it. This exercise gave them the certainty the shaft was OK, and they could proceed with lining,” Mr Phillips said.

“It was employed by lowering the scanner on a cable, down the shaft, in a protective cage. The scanner automatically mapped the shaft on its descent and ascent. 

“The post-processing of that scan stitched it all together and provided the point cloud for a 3D image of the shaft. From that, we can take exact measurements for height and distance and depth. 

“You can zoom in on anomalies and otherwise it gives a really good overall picture of the actual subject matter that we’re looking at.”

View looking down the shaft showing transition from concrete plug to natural surface.

Certainty for a small cost

The return on investment was preventing a possible shaft collapse and the associated safety risk and capital loss, Mr Phillips said.

“For a very small cost, you can have certainty in exactly what you are dealing with,” he said.

“In coal mines there is a lot of tertiary material that is weathered and unstable at times. It is probably a lot more volatile than what you would expect in a hard rock mine.

“We have skilled, experienced surveyors using this technology, available and inducted on most coal mine sites. That allows us the flexibility and the availability to do these jobs.”

There was generally a lack of industry awareness, Mr Phillips said.

“I think it’s very under-appreciated at the moment,” he said. “The bit of information that we’ve put out there about this job has already led to other opportunities.

“So, I think the more our customers and our clients see this technology and know what it can do for them, they will soon realise the value of it.”

  • SEAM Surveys can be contacted at (07) 3408 2735.
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