Gold Fields Granny Smith: Digital Evacuation System

Saving 20 minutes in an evacuation situation.
Track personnel in real-time throughout over 80km of development.
Alerting personnel immediately in the event of an emergency.

Granny Smith is a fly-in gold mine and processing plant run by the Gold Fields mining company located in Western Australia. It’s been operating since 1989 and currently produces about 290,000 oz of gold every year. Originally an open pit operation, gold at Granny Smith is primarily mined underground in the four zones of the Wallaby deposit. Access to the surface is through a portal, and all the mine’s haulage is via truck. There are about 100 people working at the site.

The Challenge

The underground mining environment is a dangerous one, and even when people are at their most vigilant, accidents and injuries can happen.

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 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).

By putting in this technology at Granny Smith, we can now physically see the time that it saves to account for all personnel underground. To save 20 minutes just by implementing technology on the safety of personnel underground, that’s a fantastic achievement.”

Michael Place – Unit Manager of Products – Granny Smith – Gold Fields

“In the event of an emergency, the Newtrax system alerts us immediately. It eliminates any waiting time for emergency calls from stench gas. It’s immediate. So the Newtrax system alerts us and we can get to the nearest refuge chamber, which also identifies that we’re safe and sound.”

Nicola Allen – Stores Truck Operator – Granny Smith – Gold Field

Choosing Newtrax

What’s unique about the Newtrax offering is that it helps not only improve safety, but has benefits for mine productivity as well.

The integrated Newtrax system is able to track and monitor both personnel and equipment anywhere in the mine through the use of sensors that go beyond location data.

Measuring tonnage hauled, equipment engine performance, tire pressure and operator behavior is also a crucial part of the Newtrax digital offering.

“The main reason Granny Smith engaged Newtrax was to explore the possibilities both from a safety and a productivity improvement perspective.”

— Mark Glazebrook Mining – Manager – Granny Smith – Gold Fields

Outcome

The Newtrax system now allows Granny Smith mine to track their personnel underground in real-time to ensure they are safe at all times.

“The mine currently has 80 km of development underground and over 100 personnel, so to know where people are in the mine at all times is a huge benefit”

— Michael Place – Unit Manager of Products – Granny Smith – Gold Fields

When something goes wrong, the system sends notifications through the Newtrax-Enabled cap lamps to all the workers so they know to get to safety as quickly as possible.

The team on the surface are notified when people reach a refuge station, knowing immediately when workers are safe, and where to send rescue teams, should that be necessary.