VLF Emergency Warning System for Underground Mining

Vanderlaag, J. Herman P. Eng. ; McDougall, J. Scott
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 4
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1995
An underground mine fire can seriously threaten the lives of all personnel in the mine. This fact makes fire emergency planning a high priority in the mining industry. The optimum warning alarm must be fast and able to reach all miners, regardless of their location or work activity. Current means of fire warning are varied, and include such methods as stench, telephones, and word-of-mouth (messengers). Unfortunately, none of these methods are entirely satisfactory. A novel fire warning alarm which enables instantaneous warning of all underground personnel, the Canary Nine Messenger System, has been developed by VLF Magnetic Systems Inc. in conjunction with Noranda Technology Centre and the U.S. Department of the Interior - Bureau of Nines. The warning is sent by an electromagnetic signal which penetrates through mine rock to receivers housed in the battery packs which also power each miner's cap lamp. A loud buzzer in the integrated battery/receiver unit and the flashing of the cap lamp alerts miners to incoming messages. Testing of prototype equipment has demonstrated that the transmitted signal is capable of penetrating through over a mile of mine rock and activating the receiver. This report describes the theoretical basis for through-the-rock ultra-low frequency electromagnetic transmission, and the design of recently available transmitter and receivers.
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