CASE FIRST QUANTUM MINERALS (Pyhäsalmi Mine)
The Pyhäsalmi mine is the deepest mine in Europe, with its production levels being at the depth of 1,050–1,440 m. Every day, close to 220 people work at the mine, 70 of whom work underground. Pyhäsalmi Mine Oy is owned by Canadian First Quantum Minerals Ltd.
Pyhäsalmi Mine invests in the continuous development of occupational safety. In 2010, the mine deployed a mine rescue and access control system developed by Identoi, part of the Sovelluskehittäjät Group.
Every employee has a separate RFID tag. The mine entrance and protective facilities are each equipped with two RFID readers, one for checking in and the other for checking out. This prevents any mistakes and improves the reliability of data during rescue situations where every second counts. After the evening shift, it is ensured that all employees have exited the mine. Then, blasting is carried out and the mine is ventilated before the start of the morning shift.
Detailed plans have been prepared in the case of any accidents. In addition, regular rescue and evacuation drills are carried out. The mine includes protective facilities at every level, into which employees are evacuated in the event of a fire or another accident.
The rescue manager needs to be able to see at a single glance who are inside the protective facilities and who are still outside. Searches and radio communications can be targeted at those employees whose location is unknown.
“This rescue control system saves vital seconds during rescue operations. We hope that we never need to use this system in a real situation. It has proven its capabilities during our evacuation drills. At best, our employees have been evacuated into protective facilities in less than ten minutes”, says Kimmo Luukkonen, managing director of Pyhäsalmi Mine Oy.
“Our mine has visitors every week. We can now easily register all visitors using the system”, says Iiris Kuosmanen, mine planning and safety engineer at Pyhäsalmi Mine Oy. She continues: “When entering and exiting the mine, our employees can check the monitor located next to the lift shaft to see who else are in the mine. This also helps to improve occupational safety.”