Digital Technology Trends for 21st Century Mining
DigiMine is a 21st century state of the art mining laboratory.The aim of laboratory is to make mining safer and sustainable using digital technologies.
The digital mine laboratory at Wits is an exciting project where the Chamber of Mines building on West Campus was converted into a ‘mine’, complete with surface (using the flat roof of the building), vertical shaft (using a stairwell in the fourth quadrant of the building) and mock mine with control room in the basement. The mock has a life-size tunnel, stope, lamp room and other features. The Mock Mine is equipped with the digital systems that will enable the research for the mine of the future and is part of Wits Mining Institute. Today it is a one-of-a-kind laboratory with a significant research agenda to transfer surface digital technologies into the underground environment – the enabler for a mine that can (automatically) observe, evaluate and take action. The ultimate objective is to use technology to put distance between mine workers and the typical risks they are exposed to on a daily basis. Although there are some mines in South Africa who installed similar systems, such installations are mostly vendor-driven-and-supported, resulting in large dependency on international OEMs.