GPS Applications At Optimum Colliery
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Jan 1, 1998
Optimum Colliery is an opencast strip mine producing 18Mt of bituminous coal per annum for the export and inland markets as well as for domestic power generation at the Hendrina PowerStation. Coal is exposed by four 60m3 and four 11m3 walkingdraglines and transported from the open cuts to the processing plants by twelve 130 ton coal haulers. Overburden and interburden areas are drilled by nine 250mm-diameter rotary drill rigs. Until 1997 all surveying tasks were conducted by electronictotal stations requiring accurate control points from which line-of-sight XYZ readings could be taken. In 1997 a GPS system was introduced which consisted of a fixed base station and two rovers. The rovers were able to perform most of the survey tasks assigned to total stations. In addition, two overburden drills were equipped with blasthole drill navigation systems, which includes the drill monitoring and material (strata) recognitions system. The rest of the drilling fleet will also be equipped with GPS systems. Blasthole positions are designed in the office based on survey and geological/geophysical information and transmitted via radio link to an industrial PC on the drills. Together with GPS positional data, both the planned and actual drill positions are displayed on an LCD screen. This eliminates the need for surveyed hole positions to be staked before drilling, and for actual hole positions to be surveyed after drilling. As holes are drilled, performance and rock property data transmitted back to the office. Future applications will include GPS monitoring of dragline positions and pad elevations. GPS receivers on the draglines will utilize the existing base station to calculate and transmit XYZ co-ordinates. Another application will be locating of boreholes in the field prior to the pumping of specified explosive charges into the blastholes. Charging instructions for each blasthole will be loaded into the computer on the explosives truck which will be equipped with a GPS system for hole identification.