The evolution of detecting gas leaks in underground mines

Nov 22, 2018 11:04:00 AM

Corridor in underground mine

The mining industry continues to treat safety as a prime concern - and rightly so as mining operators strive for a goal of zero fatalities and incidents.

This safety objective however is set against a background of profits being squeezed and the resultant drive to increase operational efficiency. Even if the mining sector has moved on since those days of Haldane and his canaries, one thing that has remained constant is the harsh and unforgiving environment of mining operations. The good news is that those challenging surroundings are being tamed by the application of innovative safety technology.


Dual protection

Protecting workers from the hazards of gas leaks in underground mines requires a two-pronged approach. First, the mobile devices that are carried or worn by the workers. Second, this mobile monitoring is backed up by a comprehensive fixed monitoring system.

With gas leaks in underground mines, operators have to overcome how gases behave in harsh environments. The behaviour of gases can change depending on density, ambient temperature and nearby airflow. If workers solely rely on mobile detectors, they would need to encounter the gas leak and put themselves in harms way before any danger was recognised.

This is where fixed monitoring comes into play. Although not portable, once installed, fixed gas detection equipment monitors the environment once workers have moved on. If any environmental changes occur in unmanned mining areas supervisors and operatives are alerted and safety measures are taken.

The connected nature of both mobile and fixed monitoring equipment means that any changes or alerts can be sent directly to operatives wherever they are in the mine. By utilising technology in an integrated manner, mine operators can fulfil their goal of providing high level safety coupled with ensuring that they are maximising production opportunities.

For those operating in highly regulated industries, there are a few options to  control your expenditure when it comes to gas safety technology. Download our  eBook to find out what these are.

Introducing GasHawk

The new GasHawk from Trolex is a multi-gas personal detector for hazardous industrial workplaces that can last up to seven days continuous use on a single charge, even with infra-red sensors operating. It is tough, reliable and easy to use, providing the best protection available. Its low-cost consumables give up to 90% reduction in total cost of ownership over six years. The unit employs superior engineering for operational efficiency, with inductive wireless charging and a hot-swap battery that can be changed out even in hazardous areas.

But the real benefit is that up to six gases can be detected in a single, compact lightweight hand-held unit, significantly reducing the number of unknown gas leaks in underground mines. It provides reliable accurate monitoring in the harshest conditions. IP67 rated and ATEX/IECEx and EAC approved, GasHawk is tough, rugged and built to last.


An underground connected environment

At the heart of our wireless and fixed gas detection range is the Trolex eModule, which allows the calibration of sensors in a fraction of the time it takes to calibrate other gas detectors. With intelligent plug-in sensing modules for on-board gas detection or remote sensor connections, the Trolex eModules can be substituted at any time with a replacement module.

Each eModule retains its calibration data, the condition of the gas sensing element and its service history. Furthermore, information captured by our eModules can be easily extracted for data analysis using an RS485 interface and PC application – providing greater insight into the presence or absence of gases in mining operations.


Using technology to advance safety

From wireless gas detection systems, personnel trackers, particulate monitoring, strata monitoring, monitoring of conveyors, machinery monitoring and control, and ventilation monitoring, the modern miner has never been so closely scrutinised and protected.

Reliable and instant detection of toxic and flammable gases is critical to the safety and efficiency of harsh and hazardous industrial and mining operations. Protecting workers and the public from harm, managing asset productivity, and improving decision-making in safety-critical incidents, can be achieved through a flexible and comprehensive gas detection solution that includes wireless, portable or fixed gas detection equipment.

Through using connected, wireless technology, workers can roam around the mine unhindered by unwieldy safety equipment in the knowledge that they, the static equipment and the working environment are being monitored.

Trolex eBook - Understanding the cost of gas detection systems in hazardous industries


Shortcuts are simply not an option when it comes to workforce safety and regulatory compliance. Consider the total cost of using a single, multi-environment gas detection solution that can help you achieve significant cost reductions whilst also driving up productivity and safety instead. To find out more, download our eBook:





Written by Trolex News