Rasberry Pi and BeagleBones : evaluating a cost effective GPS system for on‐mine navigation

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 12
  • Abstract:

    Abstract: The South African Mine Health and Safety Act (MHSA) requires the mine surveyor to inform the manager of all workings within 100 metres of other workings, abandoned areas and hazardous accumulations of water or gas. The main purpose of this requirement is to ensure that all employees are aware and can take all the necessary precautions against un‐planned breakthroughs, falls of ground and subsidence. In the case where mines are mining through abandoned workings in order to remove remnant pillars and previously unmined reserves, the potential for subsidence and equipment falling into excavated areas become a reality. A single incident where a machine falls into a collapsed working can amount to in excess of R1 million per incident, excluding the risk of loss of life or serious injury. An unplanned collapse of workings in the specific case study can also lead to sufficient air flow into the old underground to cause spontaneous combustion of the remaining pillars. Although systems for navigation of drill rigs exist the cost to deploy a similar unit to all vehicles in the mining area is prohibitive. A low‐cost system that can navigate a vehicle and indicate to the operator what the subsurface features look like in the direct surroundings of the vehicle was developed using off‐the‐shelf technologies. This paper discusses the process of developing a lowcost navigation system towards a real time information management system for a mining operation. Benefits from this system may be applied in underground navigation and guiding rescue services in the search of illegal miners in abandoned mines.