Report: APP CMHS Project 1

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5.8. Communication

Communications are critical in safe and productive operations in underground coal mines. A number of options have been suggested for further improvements in this report.

Current leading technologies successfully developed and applied in some of APP countries include:

  • tracking of people and assets

  • text message communication (one way)

  • cable and mobile voice communication (leaky feeder)

  • video communication.

R & D requirements to address the gaps in mine communication technology and to meet future needs in APP countries include:

  • full implementation and operation of VoIP phones with tracking integration

  • mine phone broadcasting to Voicecomm phone systems

  • full integration of VoIP with othe equipment in the mine – such as conveyor belt status

  • high definition tracking on longwall faces, personal and equipment proximity detection

  • GPS capability via VoIP phone

  • real-time monitoring and coordination network to allow all wireless objects (fleet and/or personnel) to be located to provide localisation and two-way communications between vehicles and the base station

  • reliable emergency communication technology.

Current leading communication technologies have been developed through the joint efforts of research organisations, mine operators and communication companies. Most of the technologies are applied at the coal mines in Australia. A number of significant improvement initiatives are about to become commercialised and will have direct safety benefits to all coal mine workers. The personnel tracker, VoIP phone and vehicle proximity detection system (particularly the latter) will address significant causes of fatalities in the mining industry. It is recommended that these initiatives be supported through dissemination of relevant data among APP countries.

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