Successful trials of Mine Escape Vehicle at Centennial Newstan Mine

The Simtars Research Team, working with staff from CSIRO, carried out successful underground trials of the Mine Escape Vehicle (MEV) at New South Wales, Centennial Newstan mine during March.

The MEV project was established in 2002 in response to the Moura No 2 mine disaster in 1994. It is one of the few remaining recommendation made from the inquiry that has not been implemented.

The 2001 Level One exercise at Kestrel Mine demonstrated the need for the MEV when the Queensland Mine Rescue Service (QMRS) and the incident management team were unable to respond to survivors deep underground.

The project stages included:

  1. R&D into diesel engine options to enable safe vehicle operation in high methane environments
  2. adaption to retrofit existing mine vehicles for rescue
  3. development of technology to enable 'self-rescue' - a cost effective guidance system for retrofit to a drift runner
  4. R&D into navigational aid technology to enable a mine vehicle to be driven in low (or zero) visibility caused by dust or smoke. Surface and underground mine trials were conducted in controlled smoke and dust conditions to refine the technology options.

The successful trail of the MEV means we are now working closely with the MEV industrial steering committee to commercialise the prototype for introduction into Queensland coal mines.

For further information on the MEV please email Gareth Kennedy.

MEV research team underground

Drift runner mine vehicle set up with the navigational aid equipment during underground trial

The video demonstrates the effectiveness of the MEV navigation systems, which enabled the driver to safely manoeuvre around corners and obstacles in a high dust (low visibility) situation.