Mining Contract: Mobile Adaptable RF/IT Infrastructure - Experimental (MATRIX)
This contract will test the efficacy of deploying a vehicular satellite communication system, augmented with rapidly deployable mesh networking nodes and other emerging telecommunications technologies, during mine rescue and other emergency events. The study will identify gaps in current mine rescue response communications capabilities and technologies needed to address them. The study will also address user training for equipment. Testing, evaluation, and integration of these technologies will begin, and training will be conducted. This will provide a blueprint to establish best practices for an effective interface among company, emergency response, and government communications systems.
Contract Status & Impact
The contract is complete. To receive a copy of the final report, send a request to OMSHR@cdc.gov.
The final report outlines areas needing improvement for above ground mining communications, as well as potential solutions to these issues. Of equal importance to the flow of information and data is the proper distribution and management of that information. The January 2006 Sago Mine explosion demonstrated that advanced communications technologies can actually hamper effective communications, not because of the technology, but through the use of those technologies, in this instance cellular phones, to circumvent the authorized chain of command and information flow.
The contractor assembled specialized communications equipment from off-the-shelf components for use on the mine surface to keep emergency personnel connected at all times. They also developed new methods to evaluate different plans of action in the event of an emergency. A demonstration of the new equipment and methods took place at the Seldom Seen Tourist Coal Mine (http://www.seldomseenmine.com) near Patton, Pennsylvania, in August 2009. A summary of the demonstration is available in the final report.