Tag Archives: underground mines

INDABA, Newtrax, Cape Town, Mining

Join Newtrax at the Mining INDABA in Cape Town February 4-7

Join Newtrax at the Mining INDABA in Cape Town February 4-7

INDABA, Newtrax, Cape Town, Mining

Newtrax is attending the 25th Anniversary Mining INDABA in Cape Town from Monday, February 4th to Thursday, February 7th, 2019.

With the world’s largest gathering of the most influential stakeholders in African mining, we are looking forward to talking about the future of digitalization with our peers. Newtrax’s Luke Clements (VP Africa) and Trent Jackson (APAC Sales Manager) will be in attendance and welcome the opportunity to meet with customers and prospects.

If you’re interested in how Newtrax can help in your mines digitalization, please contact lclements@newtrax.com to schedule a meeting.

Data collection mining

How Data Collection and AI Will Change The Future of Mine Safety and Profitability

How Data Collection and AI Will Change The Future of Mine Safety and Profitability

Data collection mining

1.  Safety in Mines

Data collection and analysis, especially with the availability of AI algorithms, makes it easier to foresee possible risks that can arise in underground mines, and prevent them.  Predictive maintenance would be the best example of this. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, companies with a 9% reactive maintenance rate had a recordable incident rate of .1%, while those with a 64% reactive maintenance had a recordable incident rate of 4.3%.

These statistics highlight how having reliable equipment is safer.  Interpreting real-time data on your equipment and how they interact in the mining environment keeps everyone safer in the mine.  These algorithms are preparing today for the future needs of safety compliance in safety and prevention.

2.   Mining Productivity and Profitability

Productivity in mines is lower than in other industries, and working underground creates a gap of knowledge transfer between supervisors of different areas of the mine in real-time.  Decisions are made while there are still variables which are unknown. Data collection and analysis however, makes it possible to have a global view of situations for better decision making. There are serious cost savings when you can make important decisions with a full and clear picture in mind.

— Download the Slide Deck to Learn How Use AI on Mining Data To Create Value In Less Than 3 Months —

Download the AI Slide Deck To Learn More

This AI Slide Deck prepared by Newtrax VP of Artificial Intelligence, Michel Dubois, shows how to create value with data collected in underground mines using Artificial Intelligence algorithms.

3. Data collection for Mining

Mines have started digitalizing their fleets and collecting data.  This is where data contextualization comes in. Through the fleet and network agnostic systems at Newtrax for example, the data collected can be connected and contextualized.  Being able to have the full context of any piece of data will bring more possibilities and using trends and algorithms trained by multiple mines can help predict events in any given mine.

Mining will be much more calculated in the next 5 – 10 years, this means knowing exactly what is going on under the surface from to make the mine safer, more profitable and understanding how all of these elements interact with each other to have the most productive operation possible.

EMESRT Level 9 - Intervention Controls for Collision Avoidance

EMESRT Level 9 – Intervention Controls for Collision Avoidance

EMESRT Level 9 - Intervention Controls for Collision Avoidance

EMESRT Level 9 - Intervention Controls for Collision Avoidance

In February 2015, the government of South Africa made unprecedented news when it amended the Mine Health and Safety Act, placing regulations related to mine machinery and equipment.

From 2004‐2009, 35% of fatalities at mine sites were due to vehicle interaction incidents and 53% of these involved pedestrians. In response to this data, South Africa’s amendment to their policies required employers to take reasonable and practicable measures ensuring pedestrians are prevented from injury from collisions with trackless mobile machines.

Despite South Africa’s response to the need for safer mines, the discussion to improve safety in mines began nearly a decade earlier between mine operators and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Mining companies recognized that OEMs can and have demonstrated improvements in equipment designs, especially when they have understood the operational and maintenance risks from the customer perspective. In 2005, this issue evolved into a formal global mining initiative, driven by a desire to fill the knowledge gap between customers and equipment designers whilst focusing on new designs where the opportunity for major change was not only possible but also more economic.

At that point, the Earth Moving Equipment Safety Round Table (EMESRT) was created. This initiative has led to productive dialogue and best practices based on the needs of both mining organizations and OEMs. Members include many of the world’s top mining companies, including Barrick, Glencore, Anglo American, and Rio Tinto.

And now Newtrax, the leading provider of IoT safety and proximity detection solutions for hard rock underground mining operations, is happy to continue collaborative dialogue and protocols as a key stakeholder of EMESRT.

EMERST L9 vehicle collision avoidance

EMESRT Vehicle Interaction Protocol Development

One of the projects EMESRT has been charged with is developing an open-architecture industry communications standard for proximity detection and vehicle interaction. In a 2015 workshop, the group of OEMs, proximity detection suppliers (PDS) and mining companies discussed a common protocol for communications between PDS and OEM devices in the mining industry.

Since its formation, EMESRT has established nine levels of Incident Preventative Controls.

  1. Site Requirements
  2. Segregation Controls
  3. Operating Procedures
  4. Authority to Operate
  5. Fitness to Operate
  6. Operating Compliance
  7. Operator Awareness
  8. Advisory Controls
  9. Intervention Controls

The ninth level (L9) of PDS solutions is the performance requirement best suited for Newtrax involvement in the group. L9 will help establish technologies that automatically intervene and take some form of machine control to prevent or mitigate an unsafe interaction.

According to a 2015 report from EMESRT, there are some levels of solutions for electric underground vehicles. Underground diesel machines have continued to lack interoperability. In fact, the development of proximity detection systems linked to the machine’s interface has been unique for each machine. This leaves a number of different challenges for operating mines. On any mine, there will never be only one brand/type of equipment. Hence the interoperability of the multiple relationships between the levels of sensing and intelligence/rules and the different vehicles is essential to achieve an overall mine site solution for the industry.

Raymond Jepson, Industrial Design, Newtrax

Making Underground Mining Safer through Industrial Design

Making Underground Mining Safer through Industrial Design

Raymond Jepson, Industrial Design, Newtrax

“I predict that we will be releasing products that set a new standard for the mining industry,” says Raymond Jepson, an Industrial Designer in R&D at Newtrax when asked about the current and future projects at Newtrax.

In the world of hardware and software for the underground mining industry, usability, reparability, and ruggedness are top concerns for our partners.  We sat down with Raymond and asked him about what he does and how he addresses these concerns.

“I always wanted to work in technology.  I got my degree from a University on the west coast of the USA with a heavy influence from the tech sector but ended up working in traditional consumer products until now,” said Raymond. “I design new enclosures for our new hardware and troubleshoot design and production problems in our current products.  Designing new hardware involves helping define the mechanical requirements of the enclosure, drawing and prototyping concepts, building the product in CAD, finding suppliers and inspecting pre-production samples.”

“How can I make this safer, more pleasant, easier to use, or more reliable.”

The user experience is what first comes to mind when asked what he’s the most passionate about. “The user experience is always my top priority, and it’s even more important in Newtrax products.  Every day I ask myself, “How can I make this safer, more pleasant, easier to use, or more reliable.”  Because of the difficulty of mining, even the small improvements represent a huge gain for our end users.” he said.

Working toward the best user experience for Raymond means addressing some of the biggest challenges our clients face.

  • The need for ruggedness
  • Reparability
  • Usability

These technical challenges inspire Jepson.  “We want our products to be the lightest, most rugged, easiest to repair and best to use.  That means having to be fanatic about every detail.” When asked how we achieve these goals, we learned that the key is the perfect combination of the right conditions. “We invest in bringing the best products to market, from product management to human resources and the product themselves.”

Digitally transform your operation today!

Speak to a Newtrax expert about how you can monitor your data in real time, improving Safety at your mine, Productivity, and reducing your Maintenance costs.

Raymond Jepson, Industrial Designer Newtrax

When we asked Raymond why having good industrial design was so crucial to the industry and miner safety, he had this to say: “Ease of use is critical when it comes to personal safety devices like cap lamps:  with so much happening in a mine where full attention is required to work, the last thing we want is for a miner to be distracted by using their cap lamp.”

Not only do the products need good design to function with ease, but Raymond also elaborated on why the choice of material is just as important. “Few environments contain more unpredictable materials than a mine:  hydraulic oil, fuel, shotcrete, explosives, cleaner and other solvents are piled up everywhere.  Any of these can cause materials to degrade, therefore we need to carefully consider where our products will be used.”

Each role is crucial to the success of a product and how it will perform in its environment.  It was easy to see that Raymond is passionate about the challenges of the underground mining industry and plays a big role in its continuous improvement.

Michael Place, Unit Manager of Granny Smith Gold Fields Mine using Newtrax Technology

Newtrax is Attending & Exhibiting at IMARC 2018

Newtrax is Attending & Exhibiting at IMARC 2018 Booth B90

Michael Place, Unit Manager of Granny Smith Gold Fields Mine using Newtrax Technology

Newtrax will be attending the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) in Melbourne, Australia from October 29 to November 1st, 2018.  This is our second year attending the show, and we are very proud to be a sponsor.

Be sure to register to listen to Michael Place, Unit Manager for projects at Granny Smith Gold Fields Mine speak about his experience integrating Newtrax technology at 13:55 on Wednesday, October 31st in the Technology Theatre.

Watch the video to see what it’s all about!

Stop by Booth B90 to see what Newtrax can do for you!

Let’s meet to discuss how we can partner with your mine to achieve your KPI’s.  Click the link below to have a Newtrax representative schedule your IMARC meeting today!

VIDEO: Using Artificial Intelligence to Deliver Customer Value in Under 3 Months

VIDEO: Using Artificial Intelligence to Deliver Customer Value in Under 3 Months


Michel Dubois, Vice President QA & Artificial Intelligence spoke at Mines and Technologies last week in Toronto about how Newtrax utilizes real-time data for AI.

Michel started his career in 1996 specialized as a Mathematician in Artificial intelligence.  He is involved in the A.I. community through conferences, articles, social media and universities.

“We collect data from three different sources: Mixed Fleet Vehicles, Personnel, and Environment providing contextualized data taken every second,” says Michel.  “We clean the data, we validate it, we transform it and we visualize it”

Watch the conference video to find out more about how Newtrax utilizes this very rich data in a unique way by its expert team to deliver customer value in less than 3 months.

Immediate Value: Delivering Concept of ROI in only 4 days!

To Have Exclusive Access to The Full Presentation about How We Deliver Value

Mines & Technology 2017 Toronto

Newtrax is Presenting at Mines & Technology 2018 in Toronto

Newtrax is Presenting at Mines & Technology Toronto 2018

Newtrax will be attending the Mines and Technology conference in Toronto on October 16 2018. As Silver Sponsors, we are excited to be supporting this essential platform where coveted speakers from all around the world are gathering to share their latest projects and ideas for the mining industry.

Newtrax will be speaking on October 16 at 14:15 -on the topic of “Artificial Intelligence Using Real-Time Data”.

We will also be taking one-on-one meeting requests for those who are interested in learning more about how Newtrax helps mines achieve their digitization goals with the latest Internet-of-Things (IoT) and analytics technologies.

Mine Evacuation Best Practices

Best Practices for a Safe Underground Evacuation

Best Practices for a Safe Underground Evacuation

Mine Evacuation Best Practices
Photo Credit: https://www.workplacesafetynorth.ca/news/news-post/mining-safety-report-new-heat-stress-standard-released-ontario

One of the biggest challenges underground mining operations face is visibility of events happening underground from the surface. When monitoring an evacuation situation, this limitation is even more pronounced when ensuring miner safety during an emergency.

Newtrax recently spoke to Michael Place, Unit Manager at Gold Fields’ Granny Smith mine, about the best practices to follow during emergency evacuations. Michael has spearheaded the implementation of the Newtrax Evacuation Notification system at Granny Smith and will be speaking about the benefits of this digital system at the upcoming IMARC 2018 conference in Melbourne.


Newtrax: What types of dangers are miners exposed to underground that  could trigger an emergency evacuation?

Michael Place: When it comes to dangers facing miners underground, the most terrifying would be fire. Operating diesel powered equipment in a confined space can deplete oxygen when fire and smoke break out. Some other triggers of an emergency include, but are not limited to, seismicity (underground earthquake), fall of ground, unintentional initiation of explosives, any personnel medical emergency, gas intersection, water inrush, vehicle vs vehicle collision and so on.


Newtrax: What are the first 3 things personnel working underground should do when an emergency has been announced?

Michael Place:

  1. Park up equipment off main travel ways
  2. Make their way to the nearest refuge chamber
  3. Maintain radio silence to allow the airways to be clear for communication to the incident scene


Newtrax: What are the most important things to think about during an emergency underground?

Michael Place: Accounting for all personnel and if there is an injured person, getting them to the surface as quickly and as safely as possible.


Newtrax: How are emergencies in underground mines different from any other emergency alarm?

Michael Place: The sheer size of an UG mine adds a layer of complexity to an emergency. Accounting for personnel and communicating from above ground to underground are some of the hardest things to manage. Generally, the assistance required in an emergency comes from above ground through the form of a medical professional or the emergency response team (ERT).


Newtrax: How does technology enable emergency evacuation to be safer?

Michael Place: Accounting for personnel underground without the use of the radio allows the radio to remain clear for communication to the incident scene. Allowing real time tracking of personnel gives the incident controller data like never before to focus on the incident at hand.


Newtrax: What kind of advice would you give to other underground mines about best practices regarding safer emergency evacuations?

Michael Place: When it comes to enhancing safety UG during emergency evacuations, the most important aspect is getting all personnel out from UG or to a safe location in a safe manner, as quickly as possible.

Best practice now combines multiple technologies including stench gas, voice over alarm and the Newtrax Evacuation system to ensure communicating to all personnel that an emergency in in place is done as fast a possible. Investing in technology to enhance safety in UG mines ensures everyone goes home safely every day.

Learn how Big Data, IoT, and Predictive Maintenance can help you?

Contact a Newtrax Expert to answer all your questions on how our custom solutions can integrate seamlessly with your underground mining operation.

Underground Mine is the Future

Will underground mining replace surface mining in the future?

Will underground mining replace surface mining in the future?

Underground Mine is the Future

A wave of influential factors – including economic, political, environmental and technological advances – strongly suggest that underground mining will be the miner’s method of necessity in the not-so-distant future.

Mineral explorers and project developers are increasingly unable to find economically viable deposits with a proven plan for open-pit mining operations. Many companies currently operating surface mines will be looking towards brownfield underground operations to expand operations and extend mine life.

This, however, is not the entire foundation for the future of underground mining.

Emerging economies across the globe are growing their middle-class populations in bustling urban centers, putting ever-increasing demands on mining operations to produce the raw materials that make modern society possible, from infrastructure to consumer goods.

However, while consumers want a new car, a television and even renewable energy infrastructure, they tend to no longer accept the environmental and social costs that surface mining has on their communities. Policymakers and neighbors of mining operations vocally reject the visual impact of an open-pit, a waste dump and the destruction of habitat it brings during construction and operations.

“They are unwilling to accept the loss of farmland, the possible impacts on ground and surface water, loss of recreational space or the noise and traffic issues stemming from truck traffic associated with surface mining,” according to the research. “Underground Mining for Meeting Environmental Concerns – A Strategic Approach for Sustainable Mining in Future.”

The pioneering work of Newtrax is eliminating the current digital divide between surface mines and underground mines to make operations safer, environmentally sustainable and more profitable.

Big Data is helping to reach ore deposits more economically

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are helping miners reach underground ore deposits more economically.  Digital twinning, first created by NASA, allows geologists and engineers to develop predictive work models using real-time data from the field to test out production scenarios before they are implemented, leading to productivity and environmental improvements.

Real-time data improving productivity

Rio Tinto generates 2.4 terabytes of data every minute from mobile equipment and sensors at its  16 mines, 1,500km of rail, three ports around the globe. Data-driven precision mining powered by machine learning will make the mining industry more profitable.  The data helps miners know how much of the ore has been extracted and which direction it has traveled – key performance indicators vital to driving improvements in the mine. This can be especially helpful in block caving, an efficient underground mining method that uses gravity to force ore to strategic draw points below. Other miners are reducing fuel and energy costs by using smart machines to sort mined material based on set criteria defined by real-time analytics.

IoT technology is making underground mining safer

Working deep within an underground mine is dark, wet and inherently hazardous. Having initially adopted a ‘fast follower’ approach to IoT technology, the notoriously risk-averse sector is finally waking up to the fact that data is now, arguably, its most precious commodity, with 40% of mining businesses now expecting to leverage the technology within the next 12 months.

IoT has the potential to improve safety, automate machinery operation, facilitate predictive rather than preventative maintenance, improve traceability and harness real-time data and analytics.

Equipment performance and maintenance

Unplanned downtime is very costly to mining operations. Mobile equipment sensors give miners real-time health checks of their equipment, including temperature, speed, and vibration. This allows operators to predict when to schedule planned maintenance. In underground room and pillar settings, this can keep an operation in continuous production, avoiding costly shutdowns.

The ability to access this data empowers mining companies to understand the precise manner in which their machines are being used, how well each individual machine is functioning, and can offer predictive suggestions to increase both productivity and profit.

The data mining of today is literally setting the groundwork for the next-generation underground mine that will be powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning capable of producing incredibly productive operations that protect human life and the environment.

Learn how Big Data, IoT, and Predictive Maintenance can help you?

Contact a Newtrax Expert to answer all your questions on how our custom solutions can integrate seamlessly with your underground mining operation.

Using Technology to Increase Safety during Mine Evacuations

Using Technology to Increase Safety during Mine Evacuations

One of the biggest challenges underground mining operations deal with is visibility of events happening underground from the surface.  When monitoring an evacuation situation, this limitation is even more pronounced when ensuring miner safety during an emergency.

The team at Gold Fields’ Granny Smith mine recently decided to change this by using technology to increase safety.  Newtrax was engaged to provide an underground personnel tracking system using their enabled cap lamps.

Through the Newtrax enabled-cap lamp technology, the Granny Smith Mine was able to improve:

  1. Safety
  2. Performance
  3. Profitability
  1. Improved Safety

The technology incorporated into the Newtrax enabled cap lamps transform the lamp into more than just a Personal Safety Device, it is an integral part of a mine evacuation system. Where the limitations of communication through two-way radio make it difficult to be 100% sure of the miners’ safety during an emergency, the Newtrax Evacuation Notification system is able to position each team member underground in real-time.

All existing Cap Lamps at the Granny Smith Mine were replaced with the Brando Corded and Cordless Cap Lamps with Newtrax Safety Features and a High-brightness Light. This allowed Granny Smith to integrate with the Newtrax Evacuation system which sends an emergency message underground to every cap lamp. When activated from the surface, the lamp lights flash, notifying all employees that an emergency has been initiated. They set up their system to work in parallel with their stench gas system and their voice over alarm.

The Newtrax Evacuation system allows Supervisors and the Emergency Response Team (ERT) to quickly determine the location of all employees below the surface, improving safety.

  1. Improved Performance

Emergency drills are important, and they take time and resources to effect, ensuring that all personnel are accounted for while handling the incident. Mines rely heavily on two-way radio for communication, and in an emergency visibility can be lost when the understanding is only as good as the radio calls made to and recorded on the surface.  

The first ever Newtrax Evacuation test was conducted at Gold Fields’ Granny smith mine on July 31st, 2018 through an underground mock emergency exercise. This is the second time worldwide that the Newtrax Evacuation system was adopted in its full capacity, and the hardware functioned seamlessly.

These systems allow the Emergency Rescue Teams (ERT) to know exactly which miners are in which refugee chambers in the mine, and refocus their energy on those who have not yet made it to their chamber.

  1. Increased Profitability

The Newtrax Evacuation system allows for effective and accurate safety drills. Using Newtrax technology reduces the time and resources needed to effectively execute and complete the drill, leaving more time for production.

The result of setting up the Newtrax Evacuation system in the Granny Smith mine was evident: improved safety, performance and profitability during an evacuation drill. Due to the safety features that the Newtrax enabled cap lamps offer, additional features can be added on to the software as required. These include vehicle proximity detection and full mine employee tracking and positioning through an expanded Newtrax Minehop network.

Talk to an expert today on how to best implement the safety measures your mine requires today.

Improve Safety, Performance and increase Profitability.

Have a Newtrax expert contact you to learn how our Custom systems can integrate into your current infrastructure.