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Chinese Company Offers Technology Package To Help Chile Mine Rescue

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Dave Feickert, Whanganui based director of KiaOra - stay alive and mine safety adviser to the Chinese government and companies met engineers from the Shandong based firm, Micro Sensor Photonics Limited (MSP) on Friday, in Beijing. Following the meeting, Mr Feickert said,

'MSP can offer a package of fibre optics-based monitoring, communication and control systems which could help the rescue team and the trapped miners deal with some of the difficulties they face. These systems are already in use in underground coal mines in China.'

MSP is a subsidiary of UK Company Intelligent Sensor Systems (ISS), headed by Dr Andrew Rickman, founder of the major fibre optics company, Bookham. MSP is based in the Shandong Provincial Government's Academy of Sciences at Jinan, working with the Laser Institute there on these advanced new safety technologies.

Mr Feickert stressed that,

'This rescue is a major test for the world mining industry and requires all skills to be mobilised.'

The MSP engineering team can put together a package for:

1. Communications - communicating with 4, 8 or even 16 of the trapped miners at a time. This would use the existing MSP system with a hybrid cable - metal and fibre optic elements together, with DC power at low voltage. All the components would be small - the cable taking little space in the narrow access boreholes, small micro phone, thinner than a pencil and small earphones, plugged in, in series to the cable underground. No conventional switchboard would be needed under ground.

2. The cable could be used for some lighting as well.

3. For entertainment and educational purposes for the trapped men, the cable and audio, plus display screen (the size of a small TV small enough to be dropped down the bore hole) could be used. A number of commentators have suggested the provision of DVDs and video games, but, equally, distance learning packages might be prepared or existing ones adapted. Transmission is not the problem, but getting the right kind of monitors would be necessary.

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