Unnoticed and unchecked convergence and deformation in underground mines have the potential to lead to incidents that pose significant risks to the safety of mine personnel, cause damage to mine vehicles and other equipment, and disrupt production, leading to a loss of profit for the affected mine.
Often, convergence and deformation within underground mines is caused by rising stresses that affect the behaviour of geological formations (either natural or caused by human activity, e.g. mine-induced seismicity) or structures within the mine– for example, “squeezing” caused by a gradual increase in the weight carried by pillars, support structures, or even the rock structures surrounding tunnels, stopes, caverns, and working faces.
Left unattended, these factors can lead to a reduction in the distance from roof to floor in tunnels, caverns, and stopes (convergence); deformation of walls; tilting or buckling of support structures; and other reactions the can affect mine safety.
To minimize risks and ensure continual mine safety, engineers must constantly monitor the status and behaviour of all geological features in and around the mine, and any effect they are having within the mine.
Massive advances in laser technology in recent years have made this type of monitoring easier and faster to perform. In particular, the development of mobile mine scanners has made mobile geological monitoring feasible, practical, simple, and quick.
These devices are ideal for:
- Monitoring roof to floor convergence
- Monitoring deformation, e.g. of tunnel walls
- Measuring tilt of wooden and other props
- Monitoring the deformation of steel arch support structures
- Monitoring changes in floor dinting
- Many other monitoring tasks and exercises
Implementing a mobile geological monitoring program in your mine will make a huge contribution to the overall safety of your mine.
When it comes to selecting equipment for this purpose, the choice is obvious. The uGPS Rapid Mapper™ stands in a class of its own. Rugged construction (purpose-built for underground mines), low maintenance requirements, ease of use, and above all, the ability to generate accurate 3D point cloud data while on the move (e.g. while attached to a mine vehicle being driven through the mine) make this the only mobile mine scanner you will ever need.