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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 0038-223X

J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. vol.111 n.1 Johannesburg Jan. 2011




Safety considerations in underground logistics - a look at vertical, horizontal and in-stope transportation systems



S.M. Rupprecht

University of Johannesburg




Transportation accounts for some 26% of all mine accidents in South Africa. Although this figure may not be as prolific as fall of grounds accidents or accidents caused by seismic events, the enormity of transportation accidents demands attention, especially as many of these accidents are avoidable.
This paper investigates vertical (i.e. shaft), horizontal (i.e. haulages), and in-stope transportation systems and their function as it applies to safety. Recent transportation accidents are discussed looking at current trends within the three transportation areas. In the shaft area, discussions will focus on handling of material cars, loading and off-loading of the workforce and management of shaft orepass systems. The horizontal component will focus on personnel transportation, safety around trains and hoppers, and handling of material in the cross-cut. The discussion on in-stope transportation will focus on the general congestion of the stope environment and how it affects the overall movement of personnel, material, and rock. Of concern are the large numbers of material handling and scraper winch accidents that occur and which will be discussed in some detail. The paper will conclude with a section on proposed guidelines within the three above-mentioned systems for mine engineers to consider in mine design and life of mine planning and scheduling.

Keywords: Underground logistics, safety in material handling



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