Mining Contract: Mine Communications Engineering and Compatibility Guidelines

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Contract # 08FED898353
Start Date 5/22/2007
End Date 9/30/2009
Research Concept

The Federal Communications Commission maintains tight regulation of the radio spectrum due to the extreme importance of this resource to the public, business, government, and the military. These regulations are codified in Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

Unfortunately, these rules are silent about underground radio systems except that they may not interfere with systems operating legally above ground. The emergence of underground wireless communications and tracking systems in response to the MINER Act of 2006 will require guidance to ensure that:

  • the limited useful spectrum is used efficiently,
  • health and safety hazards are not introduced, and
  • new systems do not interfere with each other or with older systems already in place

The Department of Defense Joint Spectrum Center (JSC) will search its database of all classified and unclassified systems that may be adaptable to underground use, make recommendations for electromagnetic compatibility, and develop models for estimating wireless coverage in underground mines.

Topic Area

Contract Status & Impact

This contract is complete. To receive a copy of the final report, send a request to

JSC delivered the following reports over the course of the contract:

  1. Underground Mine Wireless Communications Compatibility Standards Recommendations
  2. Minimum Required Separation Distance Calculations for EMR hazards
  3. Equipment Database search report
  4. Propagation Modeling Report
  5. Draft Communications and Tracking Plan Form and Instruction booklet
  6. Draft Communications and Tracking Tutorial

One recommendation from this work is that mine equipment should comply with electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) guidelines as specified by MIL-STD-461F but be tailored for underground mine operations. No such requirements currently exist for underground mine equipment.

Issues were also identified with current standards and regulations in use by both OSHA and MSHA when considering deployment of blasting caps in underground coal mines around radio transmissions.

MF Signal Propagation

Page last reviewed: July 19, 2016
Page last updated: July 19, 2016