Traditional HydroMining – FDP 2016
Safety issues identified:
Operators required to be on the dam surface; exposed to the elements – hot, cold, wind, rain, sleet, snow
Fine particle dust liberation despite the use of water – when the wind is blowing the wrong way operators are required to wear respirators for the duration of the shift
The use of high pressure water and associated stored pressure issues
Manual handling of steel pipes – In the mining industry, musculoskeletal injuries from manual handling (muscle sprains/strains and back injuries) make up over 53%* of all injuries (*WorkCover Queensland). WorkCover data shows that on average, workers have 56 days off work to recover from this type of injury and only 84% of those who sustain a musculoskeletal injury return to work.
Slips, trips and falls due to the inefficient monitor barrels suffering ‘blowback’ of water onto the operational area
A ‘vertical edge’ hazard created by hydromining at 45 degrees which requires physical barricading
Geotechnical risk from tailings slumping when mined at 45 degrees
Poorly designed barrels and washers presented a hazard when they needed to be changed.
The solution to eliminating the hazard is to remove the operators from the dam surface. Alios developed the manned HydroMiner series of monitors.
Alios’ superior barrel and nozzle engineering, design and production has resulted in lower input pressures required to achieve the same results. This system is designed to eliminate radial flow swirl to maximise the effect of the available energy. The use of these engineered nozzles and barrels has allowed Alios to use an input pressure of 1,200 kPa. The efficient engineering of the barrell and nozzle minimises energy loss to less than 20kpa delivering an Effective Mining Range (EMR) of up to 100m with an outlet pressure of 1180 kPa so all mining water can be delivered by welded HDPE piping. Manual handling of steel pipes has been eliminated from Alios sites.
This efficient use of energy and increased EMR allows Alios an intrinsically safe 1:4 batter angle with a 6m standoff.
Alios HydroMiner 150
Alios Mining Geometry for typical 150tph project
Alios Multi-machine HydroMining Control Room
It was then a logical progression to fully tele-remote the HydroMiners, completely removing operators from the dam surface during the normal operation of their shift.