The underground mine is transforming.
Speaking to GE Mining’s Geoff Knox, he told Australian Mining that underground mining is very prospective, which is why it has been making major inroads into the sector.
“Underground mining’s technological demands are higher than open cut mining and stronger certification is required, and our new technology is what is setting us apart in this arena,” he said.
Knox pointed to developments such as its sealed battery technology, and the acquisition of collision avoidance systems company Infotronix.
One of its latest developments in the underground mining sector is a new Load Haul Dump (LHD) Loader, which it launched to the market at the China Coal & Mining Expo earlier this year.
According to GE Mining this new LHD “is a safe, purpose built vehicle with best practice Human Factor designs”.
One of the major changes has been the direction the driver faces.
“This is the first new product of this size for us,” Knox told Australian Mining, adding that GE focused on ergonomics and safety in the LHD’s design and that “the driver operates the LHD facing forwards, so we’ve built the operations and interface around that design”.
GE mining stated that “the ergonomically designed operator’s cabin can significantly reduce the risk of occupational working injury and increase the operator’s visibility, [and has been] combined with advanced motion control systems”.
“The LHD features a centre mount adjustable height cabin with a swivel seat to allow the operator to face the direction of travel and access to the cabin outside of the articulation zone, which greatly improves operator safety as compared with the traditional loader.”
Importantly, the new LHD has been built with a Tier 3 diesel engine, for safer underground operation and the minimising of emissions in the tunnels’ confines.
It will be going on an Australian roadshow, with the focus on the Queensland coalfields.
According to Knox GE Mining is also currently working on a new concept for underground mining, which it will roll out at MINExpo 2016, in Las Vegas, however he declined to elaborate on its details.