The development face is one of the most significant hazard areas of an underground mine, particularly in seismically active ground with geotechnical hazards such as ground fails, stress induced failure and rock bursting.
Industry members have long identified the need to minimize exposure, particularly for charge-up crews who are most at risk due to the length of time required at the mining face to perform their tasks.
CMIC’s RCU project promises to provide a solution that is both efficient and cost-effective.
RCU is a project that started in 2019 when Olitek Mining Robotics began developing its innovative Trigger Assembly technology, which uses conventional detonator technology in combination with remote charge-up solutions. This will remove personnel to at least four or five meters from the underground development face while avoiding the need for costly wireless detonation solutions.
Newcrest Mining and Olitek approached CMIC with the technology, and CMIC’s members agreed that RCU could redefine the approach to remote charge-up at the development face. Another CMIC consortium project was conceived.
“As part of the global mining industry’s need for a safe means of undertaking face prep and charge-up processes, this collaboration will deliver viable mechanized hole cleaning and charge-up capability, supporting the industry’s drive towards safe, deep development and mine development in high stress environments,” said the consortium partners.
Olitek has developed the sub-systems, including the trigger assembly, vision and control systems, coarse and fine positioning systems, hole inspection, cleanout and the tie-in module. These sub-systems are now ready to be integrated into the system. The CMIC consortium will be pulling those pieces together to design, build and test a prototype.