In December 2022, South Africa implemented the Mine Health and Safety regulation focused on trackless mobile machinery. This regulation aims to reduce collisions involving diesel-powered trackless mobile machinery in the mining industry, ultimately decreasing fatalities and injuries.
A decade ago, the mining sector faced a grim reality with 270 annual fatalities. However, the industry has made significant strides in reducing these numbers by 20% annually, resulting in improved safety records.
In 2021, the industry saw a slight setback with an increase in fatalities and injuries, but progress remains evident as 49 too many fatalities were recorded last year.
Booyco Electronics, an original equipment manufacturer specialising in mine safety equipment, has witnessed a surge in demand for its Proximity Detection Systems (PDS) and Collision Prevention Systems (CPS) since the regulation’s promulgation. These systems offer crucial vehicle-to-pedestrian and vehicle-to-vehicle detection capabilities.
Anton Lourens, CEO of Booyco Electronics, notes that South Africa’s mining industry has been proactive in adopting technologies and innovative products to foster behavioural changes in pursuit of safety.
With stricter mine safety legislation, the company is focused on ensuring compliance with South African proximity detection and collision prevention systems requirements.
Lourens says the Minerals Council South Africa played a pivotal role in understanding and mediating around this regulation and identified concerns related to equipment supply, installation, and maintenance. In addition to implementation of PDS systems, some mining houses are keen to take ownership of product maintenance, requiring comprehensive training for their personnel and this creates further opportunities for Booyco Electronics to expand its workforce.
“Significantly, South Africa was the first country to regulate PDS deployment in mining, attracting interest and engagement not only locally but also internationally,” Lourens says. Booyco Electronics, in business for over 17 years, has evolved its product line to meet diverse operational needs. However, Lourens emphasises that PDS alone cannot guarantee safety improvements and that overall CPS success hinges on buy-in from all stakeholders implemented through an integrated approach.
“The mining industry’s appetite for technology adoption varies, but the majority has been quick to embrace advanced technology systems, including PDS and CPS. Better connectivity and data management are also priorities, aiding in safety, efficiency, and productivity enhancement,” he adds.
The company, which is also growing its African footprint, already has a presence in Congo, Ghana, Namibia and Zambia, and has been appointing collaborative technology partners in areas that have a similar mode of operation to that of South African mines.
Lourens says that digital twin technology is also gaining traction, enabling real-time scenario simulations for risk mitigation, traffic management and analyses and movement monitoring. Booyco Electronics remains committed to helping industries save lives and reduce injuries through its innovative technology.
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