RCT system keeps WA mine's ore passes blockage free

Australian tech company RCT has developed an ore-pass monitoring system for the underground operation of a gold mine in Western Australia’s Goldfields region
RCT system keeps WA mine's ore passes blockage free RCT system keeps WA mine's ore passes blockage free RCT system keeps WA mine's ore passes blockage free RCT system keeps WA mine's ore passes blockage free RCT system keeps WA mine's ore passes blockage free

The project’s Epiroc MT6020 haul trucks use the ore passes to dump material to backfill an old stope

The mining company was looking for a way to monitor the project's ore passes - vertical chutes currently used to dump waste - to make sure they didn't get blocked by larger rocks during the transfer of material.

The project's Epiroc MT6020 haul trucks use the ore passes to dump material to backfill an old stope.

The ore-pass monitoring system developed by RCT features VEGA instrumentation, including a VEGAPULS 69 radar sensor for measurement of bulk solids, which spans the 91m-deep pass, and a VEGAMET 391 measurement display to indicate at what depth a blockage may occur.

RCT explained that the display was designed to use its readings to control an associated traffic lamp assembly on the wall of the mine to advise mine staff whether material had been successfully transferred. Once the system was in place, the miner introduced a procedure for the operators to ensure the traffic lamps changed back to green after tipping to indicate the pass was clear of material.

RCT said its technicians also installed a suppression field in the first 20m of the ore pass and directly above it to stop sharp edges in the pass bouncing echoes and falsely tripping the sensor.

RCT Kalgoorlie branch manager Rick Radcliffe said the monitoring system can significantly reduce the downtime associated with blocked ore passes.

"If the pass becomes blocked, then operators may not notice until the entire pass is filled up with material, and at that point it will take a significant amount of time to clear the pass," he said.

"The monitoring system ensures blockages are identified and cleared immediately."