Operator Wayne Locht trams his Scooptram ST14 loader to the automation zone, passing white Wi-Fi boxes mounted on the access walls. He stops short of the first “light curtain”, a laseractuated barrier marking the zone’s boundary. Crossing a light curtain will trip a shutdown of the level and alarm those at the surface.
Equipment at Hemlo is tagged to display its location in the mine with Mobilaris real-time tracking software. The same Mobilaris technology is planned for miners’ hard hats by the end of 2018. Exiting the cab, Locht says: “We still personally walk the area to make sure no one is in the zone.” Reassured the zone is clear, he takes an electronic “key” from a safety box near the light curtain. “This key gives the rig permission to enter. It connects the rig to the automation area so that the safety system knows that the rig is in the area.” He inserts the key into a socket beneath his operator’s seat. The red status light on the pole turns to flashing yellow. Locht may proceed to the second light curtain.