Much like in our everyday lives, advanced technology is playing a larger role in the mining industry. Throughout the mine life cycle, technology is used not only to improve efficiencies and communications, but also to save lives. Three such technologies – GPS, vehicle monitoring and fatigue sensor systems – are helping keep our employees and contractors safe.
Our exploration teams work in some of the most remote regions of the world in an effort to discover the next major gold or copper deposit. As you can imagine, ensuring their safety in the field is serious business and a top priority.
These employees and contractors wear spot locator beacons, which send out a GPS signal that gives us a view of teams around the globe, often up to a streetview location. The device offers multiple safety options that allow them to check in or call for help to company security or local authorities, if needed.
In Ghana, driving conditions can be hazardous in the communities around our mine site. Newmont uses GPS technology to track and locate company vehicles that have been involved in an accident, have a driver emergency or have been stolen.
Vehicle Monitoring Systems
Also in Ghana, we installed vehicle and driver monitoring systems in light-duty vehicles that alert drivers to buckle their seatbelt or maintain the speed limit.
The information obtained by these systems is helping us understand what may lead to a potentially unsafe scenario and identify the root causes that can prevent further accidents. Since installing the vehicle monitoring systems, speeding incidents have been reduced by 80 percent.
If you have ever been on long road trips, you probably fought fatigue while driving. For Newmont, ensuring our drivers are alert and safe during their 12-hour shift driving two-story, 240-ton haul trucks, is a top priority.
At our Phoenix operations in Nevada, we piloted a fatigue sensor system that uses infrared technology to measure drivers’ eyelid and facial movements. Mounted on the trucks’ dashboard, it can detect when a driver is distracted, not completely engaged or tired.
If the sensor detects an abnormality, the seat vibrates and a notice is sent to the mine’s dispatch center, and drivers check in with their supervisor to make sure they are fine. Should another alarm occur, a driver is evaluated to determine if he or she is alert enough to safely remain on the shift.
This technology has reduced fatigue-related events at the site by 90 percent.