Dr Gareth Kennedy – Director, Mine Safety Technology Research Centre, Simtars
Simtars commenced operation in 1986, with purpose-built analytical and research facilities commissioned at Redbank in 1988. The Queensland Government established Simtars following the tragedies of Box Flat Colliery and Kianga No 1 Colliery explosions, which occurred in the 1970’s. Over the last 30 years Simtars has made significant contributions to industry.
Simtars has recently launched its new five year research strategy to help improve safety and health outcomes for Queensland’s future mining industry. The research strategy focuses on four key areas including health, safety, emergency response and emergency preparedness.
Through consultation with industry, this sets a framework for a more consolidated approach to research. Key areas will initially focus around respirable dust, human-machine interactions, emergency preparedness, spontaneous combustion and explosion characterisation and survivability.
This paper will present a summary of Simtars’ research journey over the last 30 years, an overview of current research projects, and finally discuss the plans for the future.
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- Post explosion atmosphere monitoring:– An industry study into available, low powered, sensors were conducted. The study was to identify commercially available equipment to sample the mine atmosphere post an underground incident.
- Ultra-resilient communication system:– An investigation was undertaken into the feasibility of components for a robust and resilient mine communication network. The network must survive an underground incident and be able to transmit information in and out of an underground mine environment.
- Blast protection (or blast resilience):– The blast protection was evaluated through subjecting different shapes of enclosures to actual blasts, in an explosion propagation tube.
- Navigational aids:– A series of test were undertaken to determine the suitability of using visible light, infra-red as well as radar to aid in self rescue. All test were undertaken in a “dusty”, or low-visibility, environment.