Axis Monitors for Mining Efficiency
Axis Communications | Date:
In May 2006, Stracon Mining entered into an alliance agreement with Oceana Gold New Zealand. The mine, on the west coast of New Zealand's South Island, is a 24/7 operation and employs 110 staff.
The mine is subject to challenging temperature and precipitation conditions. Annual rainfall is 2,100 mm. While snowfalls are regular during the winter, summer temperatures can reach around 35 degrees centigrade. Ore zones are only mined during daylight when on-the-spot visual checking is possible.
Snowgrass Solutions designed and deployed an IP camera system that allowed the alliance to monitor the pit's operations and identify areas to improve the allocation of its equipment, vehicles and resources.
Given the challenging weather conditions of the area and rugged environment associated with gold mines, the camera system would have to ensure protection from the elements and particularly from moisture creep within the camera itself, which would lead to fogging.
Furthermore, the camera would have to be portable - as the mine advances, the camera would have to be relocated. The locations of the camera would not have access to conventional power sources, so a solar charged battery system with the capacity to keep the camera operating for approximately one week without direct sunshine, was required. A high speed radio link would connect the camera to the mine's computer network. Image quality would also be important, with the camera having to be capable of zooming from one end of the 1,200 m long pit to the other.
Snowgrass Solutions designed a wireless network solution with a long range data radio link and solar derived power system. The camera orientation is controlled by the desktop in the Supervisor's office while eight remote logins have also been set up so that a number of staff can access the camera and manage it remotely, if necessary.
With the installation of the large screen outside the Supervisor's office streaming live video of the site, it increases everyone's awareness of the pit. When each shift comes into work they can see what is happening in the mine, where the machinery is, which areas are being worked on and get an idea of the status of operations.
The images from the camera have also proved to be a great planning aid. The technical staff will hold daily planning meetings where they will manipulate the camera and use the images on a large screen to map outand communicate their approach to working in the pit that day. Being able to work with live images allows them to discuss their plans much more clearly.
The installation of the camera system has also resulted in improved safety at the mine. By enabling the operations managers to point out the locations of potential issues such as unstable slopes and haul road restrictions. It makes communications much clearer so everyone understands where things are, what they're due to be doing during that shift and where to keep an extra eye out for potential hazards.