Mark Chapman, Operations Superintendent, remembers exactly when his company’s investment in the Maptek Sentry slope monitoring system paid off.
Shortly after deploying Sentry in a high-risk area at an Idaho open pit phosphate mine, the system detected an increase in the velocity of a moving slope in the middle of the night. A surveyor working that shift saw the velocity change in real-time—thanks to Sentry—and pulled crews out of the pit.
“We didn’t have a big failure, but if we had kept on mining … who knows what would have happened,” said Chapman.
Maptek Sentry is a mobile remote-monitoring system that utilizes a Maptek XR3 laser scanner to continuously measure ground movement with extremely fine spatial resolution and accuracy. Housed in a self-contained unit with autonomous power and communications capabilities, Sentry relies on sophisticated software to monitor, analyze, and report on captured scan data in real-time.
Prior to selecting Sentry, the mining company did not have a continuous slope monitoring system in place. Instead, the company’s onsite surveyors went out once a week to measure slope stability by shooting prisms.
“It wasn’t an effective solution,” said Chapman.
In looking to upgrade its monitoring processes, the company reviewed several systems. The team ultimately chose Sentry because of prior experience with Maptek solutions — which are always backed by customer service that exceeds expectations.
The cost of Sentry was also extremely competitive when compared to other systems on the market.
RELATED VIDEO: Sentry slope monitoring case study
Ben Haugen, Maptek’s Geotechnical Solutions Engineer, was on-site when the Sentry unit arrived at the mine. Ben trained the on-site team on how to set up and operate the system.
“One of our surveyors can now set it up in 15 to 20 minutes,” said Chapman. “It’s simple and straightforward.” Chapman gave a terrific shout out to the personal dedication Ben brought to the field.
“He is invested in our success.”
— Chapman on Ben’s in-field involvement
Tyler Henesh, a Mine Surveyor who has used Sentry first-hand, says that early experience with the system has given the company confidence to remove materials it would not have otherwise gone after. For example, in one of its pits, the highwall slope had been considered too risky to retrieve the reserves.
“We deployed Sentry to keep operations safe…and ensure the overburden above was stable,” said Henesh. “Without it, we would not have been able to retrieve all the reserves safely.”
Without a doubt, the most important benefit of continuous remote monitoring is the improved safety, according to Chapman. There is no longer a need to risk sending surveyors out to steep slopes in bad weather to shoot prisms. It also saves time for the survey crews. They can spend the time saved performing other vital survey functions around the site.
“There’s peace of mind on a Saturday night when you know the guys are at the bottom of the pit and there is somebody watching,” said Chapman.
Want to know more about our slope monitoring solutions? Check out the details here.
Senior I-Site Solutions Manager
October 9, 2018
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