If a remote closed mine site dam leaks or fails, does it still hurt the environment?
As mine owners and managers you are required by investors to minimise expenditure. You are also constrained by your "social licence to operate". These can sometimes be at odds with each other. With closed mines, you need to balance the cost of not knowing what's going on and paying for a potential clean up if something goes wrong, against the cost of a real-time monitoring solution that can save on clean up if pre-emptive actions are taken using the real-time data.
At end-of-life, coal mines need rehabilitation. This takes time and money, and, in the process, there is a risk of leakage and other issues. You can’t always be there but if there is an issue you need to know and deal with it as soon as possible.
In Australia, as many as 1,000 mines are being rehabilitated, so that the land can be returned to its original use. The rehabilitation process can take decades to complete.
Many closed mine sites have Tailings Storage Facilities, essentially dams, that contain water and chemicals from the old mining operations. On occasions Tailings Storage Facility dam walls can fail or overflow, especially in extreme weather events. Run-off can flow into adjoining areas and present dangers to animals and people in the area.
Investors are now pressing for miners to take accountability for their activities - from the time of opening the mine to the end of rehabilitation works. Communities near closed mines are demanding that they can live, work and play in a safe environment. Damage to heritage sites and unique wildlife can also have serious consequences for a miner’s reputation.
Miners take their "Social Licence to Operate" seriously and are doing much to ensure that their operations are safe to all.
In most cases, closed mine sites have no network coverage, and no available power. Normally, owners install sensors and data loggers on site, and visit the site a few times a year to collect data log information and to perform any maintenance. Data is not real time and mine owners are not aware when a situation arises.
Any real-time solution deployed to such places must be self-powered and connect to the outside world.
OmniTabz offers miners 'Closed Mines as a Service' which provides alerts immediately issues arise – at the time when action is needed to halt or manage damage.
Our service combines outputs of loggers and sensors already on site with sensors for intrusion detection, weather events and other sensors to complement those that are already on site. We combine the outputs from these sensors and send the information via satellite, direct to the miners’ own dashboards. Regular updates are key here, especially in environments where rapid and unexpected changes and developments can occur.