How do miners communicate underground?

Mining is an integral part of a society to eliminate waste. The current process of mining uses machines to extract metal from the earth’s crust. Mining is typically done with large drills that breakthrough huge holes into the underground rock layers. They then use explosives to break walls and send the broken pieces up, where they are collected for processing.

The extraction process of these mines can create areas called shears, which are essentially corridors between two areas of rock. These areas are often located in the middle of the rock floor, making it extremely difficult for any miners to travel through them.

In addition to being challenging to get through, these corridors also have a high chance of collapse for any miner who tries to exploit them. Therefore, communication between miners is key for each area of the rock floor to be treated and mined efficiently.

Communication between miners works through a system known as pagers or VHF radios. A pager is a small, handheld device that sends signals through radio waves. The VHF radios are much larger and require actual badges for identification purposes, but they hold more information in their memory, allowing the miners to send messages through them up to 50 miles away.

These messages are used mainly for two purposes: to warn miners of any imminent danger and alert them of any changes in shifts or breaks. A team will have an assigned break time to eat and possibly change shifts.

With the amount of machinery and equipment involved in mining, it would be near impossible to work a shift without any breaks. These pager messages allow the miners to know precisely when their break times are coming up so that no one is caught off guard.

These messages are also used to warn miners of any impending danger or spills of chemicals. The radio waves allow for signals to be sent through multiple areas, allowing miners to hear the warning and evacuate if need be.

Mining is a dangerous job that requires a lot of attention and focus. Any messages sent through the pager system are crucial to the safety of the miners, so they take each message very seriously. These messages provide an extra sense of security in the underground mines, which is crucial for the safety of all miners.

This post was written by Justin Tidd, Director at Becker Mining Communications! For over 15 years, Becker Communications has been the industry’s leader in radio communication in tunnels and electrical mining communication systems. As they expanded into surface mining, railroads, and tunneling they added wireless communication systems, handheld radios, tagging and tracking systems, as well as gas monitoring.

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