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3D Laser Mapping helps monitor De Beers diamond mine

Monday, August 13th, 2007

Nottingham, UK, 13 August 2007 – De Beers is utilising the latest laser mapping technology from 3D Laser Mapping to improve safety at the world famous Kimberley diamond mine in South Africa. The state of the art ‘SiteMonitor’
laser scanning system is designed to capture highly accurate slope measurements and will help identify potential failures within the pit wall. De Beers will also use the system to measure the volume of waste dumps and stockpiles around the mine.

The De Beers Kimberley mine known as the ‘Big Hole’ is the largest man-made excavation in the world, yielding 14.5 million carats (2,722 kg) of diamonds while in operation. It is located next to the N12 Johannesburg to Cape Town freeway and is a major tourist attraction for the region.

The 3D Laser Mapping SiteMonitor system, including a high performance Riegl LMS-Z420i laser scanner, will be used by De Beers to capture highly accurate measurements of the Dolerites and Shales that make up the upper portions of the pit walls. By continuously capturing and analysing slope measurements the SiteMonitor system helps surveyors to identify areas of movement and therefore potential failure of the walls which are critical to the stability of the
N12 freeway and the shops and businesses around the pit.

The laser scanning system will also be used for other tasks around the mine, maximising the return on investment in the equipment. Previously the large and complex waste dumps and stockpiles around the mine were measured using airborne laser scanning. The expense and long lead-time for such surveys meant that they could only be carried out periodically and interim surveys were carried out using a low-end vehicle mounted GPS rover system. By using the Riegl laser scanner the surveyors can perform fast, highly accurate volume measurements with zero lead-time and at a much lower cost whilst reducing vehicle wear and tear and improving the safety of personnel.

“The high performance of the laser scanner ensures we get good measurements of both the Dolerites and underlying Shales that make up the pit walls and the integrated digital camera provides a visual record of the behaviour of the rock to help us understand and interpret the laser data,” said Colin Crowie, Surveyor – Dormant Mines. “In addition SiteMonitor is easy to learn and simple to operate, great for a busy survey department like ours.”

SiteMonitor is a unique suite of software developed to meet the demand for accurate and repeatable measurements of surfaces and slopes in hazardous or inhospitable environments. When used in conjunction with the Riegl LMS Z420i, SiteMonitor can obtain measurements accurate to 5mm with a distance range of up to 1,000m. Recording and analysing up to 8,000 measurements per second SiteMonitor creates a detailed, accurate and continuous record of the slope profile.

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