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Laser device helps mitigate deep mine ground-support concerns

Kidd Mine argues the case for using hand-held laser scanner

A senior engineer at the Glencore Kidd Mine in Timmins has argued the case for having laser mapping technology in place to help mitigate ground support problems and seismic events associated with mining at extreme depths.

That was outlined in one of the dozens of technical papers presented at the Ninth International Symposium on Ground Support in Mining and Underground Construction, held in Sudbury in October. Although organizers disallowed direct news coverage of the event, copies of the presentations were provided.

David Counter, a senior ground control engineer at the Kidd Mine, explained the importance of using a hand-held laser scanning device to map the underground areas at the mine. The device is a SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping) laser.

It produces a continuous 3D animation image of whatever underground areas are being scanned as the user walks along the drift. This allows the mine to map out problem areas and to carry out ground support rehabilitation in those areas.

Counter wrote that Kidd Creek had been using a ZEB1 SLAM device since 2015 initially as part of research for a doctoral thesis by another individual. Over a 16-month period, 40 scan-kilometres of drifts were documented, with some areas being scanned several times.

Then in 2017, he said Kidd purchased a newer version of the SLAM device, a ZEB Revo, to continue scanning the most active work areas.

The new device is designed to “provide a background dataset that can be used for comparative purposes if a future high-magnitude seismic event occurs or for determining how much static deformation has been occurring due to regional mine closure over time,” said Counter, in his presentation.

“Although very much a work in progress, the goal is to calibrate the deformation history of an opening to the residual capacity left within the ground support systems,” said Counter. He said this was especially important in documenting ground support failures.

Len Gillis is the editor at Sudbury Mining Solutions Journal.