The Mine Safety and Health Administration is planning the release of two final rules this year, while the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has plans to release eight new rules, all by years end. Mine operators have been critical of some of these proposed changes for fear that fines will be higher. MSHA plans to release a final rule addressing fees for testing, evaluating, and approving mining products this August. Find more information here on the proposed MSHA, OSHA plan to release new rules and target release dates.
Ericsson, in collaboration with several other Swedish companies, will launch a pilot project that will use 5G technology for communication and remote control operations for safer and more productive mines. The initial phase of the project, set to improve productivity and safety in the Swedish mining industry, will use new and existing technologies to remotely control a Volvo truck which transports ore in a mine operated by Boliden. The project, Pilot for Industrial Mobile Communication in Mining,is a joint cooperation between Ericsson, ABB, Boliden, SICS Swedish ICT and Volvo Construction Equipment, and its goal is to find solutions for increased productivity and safety in the mining industry by using 5G technologies.
With costs rising and commodity prices declining, more efficient ways of mining are needed. Companies like Anglo American, with its FutureSmart technology, are working toward making it happen. “At the moment, more than 50 FutureSmart initiatives are under way to find safer, more efficient, environmentally-friendly and, ultimately, more sustainable ways to mine. Some of the innovations will be on a small scale, while others will be more ‘disruptive,’ creating a step-change worth more than new projects,” said Donovan Waller, group head of Anglo American’s technology development.
The mining industry faces many uncertainties but rather than hold back on production, Caterpillar Inc sees an opportunity for innovation. An opportunity to make mining more efficient, profitable and safer. So the U.S. based equipment manufacturer has formulated Cat MineStar, a comprehensive suite of mining technology products. The MineStar technology suite allows miners to configure technologies to fit their specific needs from mine operation to equipment management using five features: Fleet, Terrain, Detection, Health and Command.
Construction workers, miners, sand blasters, and road maintenance crews are among the two million American workers exposed to silica-one of the most common earth minerals-while working on the job. The tiny dust particles can build up in their lungs over time, leading to the potentially fatal lung disease silicosis. OSHA is fighting for stricter limits on how much silica dust workers can be exposed to on the job. Today there are still more than 1600 new cases of silicosis every year, leading to almost 100 deaths. Using water or a vacuum when cutting stone will help reduce the amount of dust workers are exposed to. Wearing respirators during work will also help reduce the amount of dust workers inhale. OSHA believes new rules will save more lives.