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Sensing and Monitoring Technologies for Mines and Hazardous Areas


This text offers an overview of a selection of hazardous issues requiring management in underground coal mining. In addition, open-cut stability hazards and associated slope monitoring methods are the focus of the first chapter. A similar chapter focusing on geotechnical aspects of underground strata control is absent.

This seemingly inequitable balance between underground and open-cut mining is questionable, given the book is, according to the publisher, targeted at geotechnical and mining engineers. In reality, different aspects of the book will be useful to a wide range of students and practitioners.

For example, the first chapter provides an exposition of slope stability problems, of interest to undergraduate engineering geology students, but not to electrical engineers working underground.

Fundamentally, the book leans heavily on Indian coal mining systems, procedures and examples, and this could have been extended to provide a more international context. This has been attempted in part, for example in Table 4.2, which provides a global list of coal mining accidents from explosions, but the selection criteria for inclusions is uncertain.

Some notable omissions which would have increased the international context include the three Moura Mine explosions in Queensland, Australia, and New Zealand’s Pike River Mine disaster (29 fatalities in November 2010). Much of the fourth and fifth chapters focus on very specific details of electronic circuitry within underground hazard detection systems.

While this may be of use to electrical engineers working underground in Indian coal mines, it’s of questionable interest for mine engineers working elsewhere, where intrinsic safety and technical requirements may be quite different.

The most intriguing chapters are centred on the concept of the Internet-of-Things (IoT) and cloud computing for real-time digital mine management, and this section of the book would be of interest to Technical Service Managers, and graduate students of mining engineering. IoT offers advanced connectivity of devices, systems and sensors beyond machine-to-machine (M2M) communications.

The interconnection of such embedded devices should advance automation in nearly all fields of mine management and safety technology. The emerging vision of an IoT in an underground mining environment raises important technical questions regarding wireless system networks, design and development.

Given that intrinsic safety requirements in underground mining can vary internationally, IoT advances may be difficult to implement in some underground mines, compared with IoT in above-ground industries. In summary, while the structure and content of the book may appear somewhat muddled, it will be a useful addition to students of mine engineering and some industry practitioners.

Reviewed by Martin Brook

SENSING AND MONITORING TECHNOLOGIES FOR MINES AND HAZARDOUS AREAS by SWADESH CHAULYA and G.M. PRASAD, 2016. Published by: Elsevier 432pp (pbk) ISBN: 9780128031940 List Price: £95.00. W: