Newcrest Mining brings proximity sensing online at Lihir

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Newcrest Mining brings proximity sensing online at Lihir
Newcrest's Lihir mine.

After a year of deployment.

Gold miner Newcrest Mining is set to go live with an Australian-developed proximity detection system it has been installing at its Lihir mine in Papua New Guinea since the end of last year.

The system - which is designed to avoid collisions or near misses between vehicles, pedestrians and infrastructure at mining operations - is being deployed at Lihir after a similar rollout at Newcrest’s Telfer copper and gold mine in Western Australia.

The Telfer deployment began in 2016 and involves fitting GE’s collision awareness system (CAS) to 140 vehicles as well as tagging people on-foot within the open pit mine.

Work at Lihir started in October last year. That project sees 250 vehicles and about 1500 staff tagged. A two-way alarm sounds when any two come dangerously close.

The miner revealed in its sustainability report [pdf] this week that the system is “due to go live at Lihir in November 2018.”

The miner is hoping to achieve similar success at Lihir as it has at Telfer, where “vehicle-to-vehicle collisions have reduced by 33 percent in the space of a year.

“The technology provides equipment operators with realtime awareness, including audible tones, voice prompts and visualisations, so they can determine with accuracy their proximity to people, other equipment or infrastructure, and can react accordingly,” Newcrest said in its report.

“As well as increasing safety, the technology reduces the cost of lost production and equipment damage caused by collisions and rollovers, and brings Newcrest into line with other major mining groups using the technology.”

Newcrest said it has now awarded an additional contract to GE Mining to roll out the CAS technology at surface operations of its Cadia gold mine in regional NSW. It is expected to be “fully operational in January 2019.”

In addition, the company said it would now also deploy Mineprox technology by Newtrax on mobile mining fleets used in underground operations at Telfer and Gosowong mines.

Cadia also has an underground operation, albeit with slightly different needs.

“Given the anticipated automation and tele-remote system program of works at Cadia, the business has adjusted the criteria for its proximity detection solution and is expected to award a contract soon,” Newcrest added.

Proximity detection is considered an important technology to improve safety at mine sites. Systems using GPS and arrays of cameras help equipment operators improve situational awareness as they work in the mine.

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