Digital Canaries
The Venture Magazine|October 2019
Digital Canaries
Damien Martin

Mining safety has come a long way since the last canary left a coal mine. Whilst they might not sing and become mascots, AI and digitalisation are doing a fantastic job at keeping miners safe in ways the lovable canary never could. From drones that go deep into mines to map them and data analytics predicting where best to dig next, the digital mine is one that is both more productive and safer than in a bygone age.


Rather than sticking a songbird below the surface to serve as a harbinger of too much carbon dioxide in the air, modern mines use data-analysing sensors that detect tremors and changes in temperature as early warning systems to alert miners to potentially dangerous conditions.

With software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms, companies such as Canada’s Focus Fields Solutions can digitise operations data. This streamlines health, safety, and corrective actions and can digitally locate workers in the event of an emergency. This real-time data, and accompanying digital communications software, can coordinate rescues efficiently.

“This digital technology minimises risk and delivery performance insights to create safer and smarter workplaces. Through optimised workflow traffic and facility activities, realtime analytics, and dynamic HSE (health, safety & environment) processes, worker safety accelerates from simple compliance to safety culture dominance,” Ann-Marie Edgerton, vice president of emergency & rescue services at Dräger — which purchased a stake in Focus FS in August — told International Mining.


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October 2019