Camera System Keeps Watch Over Codelco’s Radomiro Tomic Pit

Almost a dozen Bosch cameras—including those with standard video, thermal and infrared capabilities—monitor
conditions at this Codelco copper operation.
Mining copper in Codelco’s Radomiro Tomic mine, 3,000 m above sea level in the Atacama desert of northern Chile, can be a rough, rugged and sometimes dangerous experience. Almost weekly, strong winds bring operations to a halt for an hour or two, while thick dust clouds or avalanches are ongoing hazards for equipment operators hauling ore out of the huge pit, which measures 3,500 m long, 1,500 m wide and 470 m deep.

In order to maintain operational efficiency and safety across the mine, a large team of geotechnical experts monitors the operations 24/7 from a nearby central location, making decisions needed to safeguard personnel, machinery and roads while keeping production interruptions to a minimum. This facility uses input from 11 Bosch cameras to provide the observational insights the team needs to ensure smooth and safe operations, in every type of weather and lighting—or lack of it.

Six Bosch MIC 412 and MIC 612 thermal cameras provide standard and thermal video pictures, allowing team members to visualize external and even internal ground conditions such as changes in rock temperature, to identify in advance rock faces that may become unstable. Another four Bosch MIC 550 cameras, plus an MIC IP starlight 7000 HD camera with infrared illumination, provide further video imagery around the clock, even in complete darkness.

Engineered to work in extreme conditions, the cameras feature solid metal bodies that can withstand high impact (up to IK10 rating) and continuous low-frequency vibration (IEC 60068 rating). MIC cameras can endure temperatures from -40° to +60°C, severe winds and 100% humidity, and are rated IP68. The thermal, infrared and starlight cameras are all part of a complete Bosch reporting system, which forms the basis for observing the entire mine—from capturing images in the open pit to transmitting the videos wirelessly via radio networks to the monitoring center. It enables team experts to constantly view and monitor operations in the pit and initiate preventive security measures if necessary. The system also records video via a Bosch DIVAR IP 7000 recording unit, allowing monitoring center personnel to carry out search queries for historical data analysis and an improved understanding of mine conditions.

As featured in Womp 2016 Vol 11 -