Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Publication Details

D. Kent, Digital Networks and Applications in Underground Coal Mines, 11th Underground Coal Operators' Conference, University of Wollongong & the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, 2011, 181-188.


An increase in remote monitoring and automation of many aspects of mining operations has seen the demand for more reliable and higher bandwidth communication systems in coal mines. Digital networks have allowed the convergence of many applications onto a single communication backbone in general industry. The opportunity for a similar consolidation of communication infrastructure has driven the introduction of IP based networks into underground mines. One important application has been tracking personnel and equipment via RFID Tags. This tracking application has in turn formed the basis of a Proximity Detection System or a Collision Avoidance System. This convergence of technologies is discussed together with the experience in coal mines of the implementation of new applications, including: • Wi-Fi devices, such as intrinsically safe VoIP Telephones and RFID Tracking; • Network design considerations; • PDA’s, for paperless reporting systems. The growing industry push for Proximity Detection Systems and the initial implementation of Proximity Detection Systems, and in the underground mining environment is discussed together with work on a Longwall Tracking System.