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Mine safety system that can boost productivity is to go global

26 May, 2009

A real-time risk management system to improve safety and boost productivity in underground mines will be available globally after a Queensland company was awarded a license to commercialise the CSIRO technology

Mackay-based company Mining Logic Solutions has signed an exclusive global licence agreement with CSIRO Exploration and Mining to commercially develop the Nexsys™ real-time risk management system.

Nexsys allows underground coal mines to interrogate vast amounts of digital information from a variety of sensors and systems throughout the mine, which normally do not communicate with each other.

The system analyses this integrated data to provide real-time risk management and decision support for control room operators, including automatic triggering of response plans if it discovers a hazardous condition.

“The potential market for Nexsys is not limited to Australia, it is ideally suited for export to many other countries including India, China, the USA and Canada,”?Dr McWilliams said.

Nexsys can extract critical data from existing proprietary strata control, ventilation monitoring, Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) and other critical mine monitoring systems and turn this data into knowledge in real-time – a capability that did not previously exist.

CSIRO Exploration & Mining Chief Dr Mike McWilliams said the agreement continues to demonstrate how new technologies developed collaboratively by CSIRO and its partners can benefit the mining industry.

“Today, about 60 per cent of mining software used globally originates in Australia – and Nexsys will help that market share grow.”

Nexsys was developed by CSIRO Exploration and Mining with the support of the Australian Coal Association Research Program (ACARP) and the Japan Coal Energy Centre (JCOAL).

JCOAL’s input was vital to the success of the program, through financial support,  participation in the initial research goals and provision of test sites in Japan to demonstrate the technology.

ACARP’s executive director Mark Bennetts said the agreement is another example of how CSIRO can work with industry to develop and commercialise important new technologies.

“CSIRO has created a new safety tool that did not previously exist,” Bennetts said. “They recognised it should be made available to the industry as soon as possible and have negotiated with Mining Logic Solutions to make that happen.”

Mining logic solutions director Dean Kirkwood said the licence agreement is a coup for a Queensland based regional company. “We are Queensland built and owned, and are delighted to gain access to a technology that has the potential to improve safety and save lives,” Kirkwood said.

“Nexsys™ will also bring new levels of efficiency to underground coal mines. For example, this technology will enable accidental damage to equipment or breakdowns to be pinpointed and repaired within minutes.”

“We will ask operators exactly what they need to know in real-time and look at
additional ways the technology can be used to streamline mine operations.”

The technology will be developed into a commercial-ready product within 12 months.

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