During the phase of growing the cave to breakthrough, the understanding of the cave back location is critical for making informed decisions. Existing methods for monitoring and managing cave back are not able to provide all of the data required by mine operators.
Elexon Mining has developed the Networked Smart Marker System to complement existing monitoring systems. This system enhances knowledge of cave back behaviour, offering insight into areas not previously visible to mine operators. With this enhanced knowledge, mine safety and economic risks can be more effectively managed.
Monitoring and managing cave back propagation is critical to achieve safe and performing cave mining. Cave establishment and cave propagation until the cave breaks through to surface is a highly critical and stressful period of time during cave mining projects. The understanding of the location of the cave back at any time during this phase enables managing safety and economic risks. These risks include:
Traditional cave back monitoring solutions may not provide sufficient insights into cave back monitoring and expose cave operations to the above listed risks.
Networked Smart Markers use radio frequency communications to identify gross movement and to transfer this measured data from units installed in the cave to a reader.
Illustration of Networked Smart Marker installation
Arrays of Networked Smart Markers are installed and grouted in holes. The Markers communicate with neighbouring Markers which enables them propagate data wirelessly through rock over long distances. Markers record radio signal strength for communication between Markers.
Radio signal strength is directly related to the distance between Markers. Changes in radio signal strength over time indicates movement between Markers until the Markers move too far apart, which is when communications is interrupted.
The communication range is dependent on the rock properties and usually is around 6 – 10 metres. This communication does not rely on cables which means that ground movement in the range of a few metres does not break communications, unlike cable based monitoring systems.
This recorded data is analysed for identifying the cave back’s location and cave growth. Ground movement of up to several metres will not break the communication chain of Markers.
Indication of cave moving through an area
Networked Smart Marker hole overview
Networked Smart Markers are based Elexon Mining’s rugged, blastproof and multi-year battery-powered Smart Markers which have been successfully used in the majority of large scale cave mines for monitoring cave flow.
Contact our team to learn more about current Networked Smart Marker System installations and their outcomes, and to discuss how we can work with you to enhance your cave monitoring capabilities.