Newcrest keeps up Lihir safety initiatives

The Lihir operation. Image: Newcrest Mining

Newcrest Mining has continued to roll out safer and more productive mining operations at the Lihir gold mine in Papua New Guinea.

Lihir Island is located in a volcanic caldera that causes rock temperatures in the Lihir gold mine’s open pit to reach 150 degrees Celsius.

A briefing pack of slides released by Newcrest on the ASX has outlined that its new technology is allowing “safer (and) productive mining of Lihir’s hot ground zones”.

The hot ground zones pose two geothermal risks, according to Newcrest.

This includes geyser events, where steam and water bursts out from drilled holes, and geothermal outbursts, where trapped steam pockets vent through the rock.

Newcrest stated that a new electronic detonator and bulk explosive products had been tested to 150 degrees Celsius and high reactivity.

The company has several other safety projects at Lihir, including development of a suite of mining robotics solutions as part of its “Nil on Foot” program.

The “Nil on foot” program implements robotic technology at the hazardous site, allowing workers to operate the mine inside the safety of a vehicle. It also involves blast hole measurement, geological sampling and the explosive priming and charging of blast holes.

Newcrest also implements “Nil on bench” to remove operators from the pit floor, preventing their exposure to geothermal outbursts. Newcrest aims to achieve this by using tele-remote technology on dozers, shovels and blasthole drilling rigs.