Olitek Mining Robotics (Olitek), Australia and the Canada Mining Innovation Council (CMIC) are pleased to announce their partnership on the Remote Charge-up Unit (RCU) project. Globally, mines are getting deeper, and this forces a re-think of the manual mining practices that are common across our industry. Ground falls, stress-induced failure and rock bursting mean the development face is one of the highest hazard zones in any underground mine. The development face explosives loading and priming crews are most ‘at risk’ to these geotechnical hazards due to the lengthy exposure duration at the tunnel face to perform their tasks.
The partners stated: “As part of the global mining industry’s need for a safe means of undertaking the charge-up process at tunnel development faces, this collaboration will deliver viable mechanised charge up capability, supporting the industry’s drive towards Safe Deep Development/Mine Development in High Stress. The project will be delivered in a series of development phases through to a TRL7 (Technology Readiness Level) fully functioning prototype unit that will move personnel at least 4-5 m away from the underground development face and provide faster manual charge-up options to reduce exposure time for existing operations.”
The core enabling technology behind this project is Olitek’s innovative “Trigger Assembly” (pictured below), that enables lower cost conventional detonators to be mechanically safely and efficiently installed. The Olitek RCU technology was identified by CMIC members as redefining the approach to remote charge up. Olitek is known as a leader in the mining industry for producing smart machinery solutions that improve mining, in this case, the charge-up process at tunnel development faces.