Authors: Brink, AvZ; Roberts, MKC

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Brink, AvZ & Roberts, MKC 2007, 'Early Warning and/or Continous Risk Assessment of Rockfalls in Deep South African Mines', in Y Potvin (ed.), Proceedings of the Fourth International Seminar on Deep and High Stress Mining, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 437-450,

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This paper describes the development of a system that will provide early warning and/or continuous risk assessment of rockfalls in deep South African mines. A multidisciplinary team from the CSIR, South Africa has been developing a scalable risk/hazard monitoring system, based on a wireless sensor network concept. The first application of this underground wireless sensor network is the monitoring of precursory indicators of rockfalls. Continuous measurements will be undertaken primarily to identify rockfall hazards, possible precursors, or parameters indicating increased risk. With an improved understanding of failure mechanisms and where and when fatal rockfalls occur, the system requirements for detecting the theoretically likely precursors are being specified. Specifications included the expected dynamic range of these precursors, their rate of change, and the sensing resolution required. A statistical analysis of the identified warning parameters is undertaken to understand their interdependence and the correlation between them. It is likely that single parameters will not provide adequate risk measures or alarms. The critical parameters are being combined using Bayesian theory and other statistical methods to improve the accuracy and relevance of risk quantification and prediction. The application of wireless sensor network-based monitoring in deep and high-stress mining to provide early detection of potential rockfalls is the first of a series of anticipated applications of such technology to assess and mitigate mining hazard/risk in South African mines.

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Early Warning and/or Continuous Risk Assessment of Rockfalls in
Deep South African Mines A.v.Z. Brink, M.K.C. Roberts
450 Deep Mining 07, Perth, Australia

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