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The use of virtual simulators for emergency response training in the mining industry

Damian Schofield, BSc, PhD, PGCAP, Andrew Dasys, BSc


By its very nature, underground mining can be a hazardous activity. The history of all countries where mining has taken place unfortunately often contains major disasters. The successful initial control of such incidents is crucially dependent on the effectiveness of the mine’s immediate emergency response and the mine’s emergency preparedness arrangements, which underpin this response.
Emergency response is sometimes given a low priority in training planning because catastrophic events occur infrequently. The majority of mine emergency rescue training is traditionally focused on training the rescue teams. A number of computer augmented training systems have recently been developed to perform or assist all levels of mine personnel in the process of mine rescue training.
Modern simulation systems range from tactile systems that physically represent the real world to purely computer generated visualizations. In a mining context, a primary aim of developing virtual environments is to allow mine personnel to practice and experience mine processes that will be encountered in the day-to-day operations at a mine site.
This article provides a review of the use of such simulators in the mining industry and details current work being undertaken in Australia and Canada to develop the next generation of this technology in the mining field. This work is based on an extensive literature review and the insight and the experience of the two authors who have each worked in this field for more than 20 years.


emergency response, virtual simulators, computer graphics, virtual reality, mining industry, mine disaster

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