Weather Stations for Mining
Mine managers require accurate and timely site specific weather data for a number of reasons.
- satisfying Government and EPA requirements
- workplace health and safety
- monitoring environmental impacts
- operational decision-making
Environdata has extensive, long term experience in the configuration of weather monitoring solutions for the mining industry. Our mine weather stations are robust and reliable, even in the harshest climates and are fully backed by Australia-based remote support and technical staff who travel Australia-wide.
Why do mining sites and gas fields require a good, automatic weather station?
EPA & Statutory Requirements: Environmental Impact Statement
When applying for mining leases, extensions and approvals, a reliable automatic weather station can be used to undertake a local climate (microclimate) weather audit. Baseline weather data from this audit can be used in the preparation of an environmental impact statement and various reports required by State EPA and government authorities concerned with the likely movement of dust and toxic gases, wet season run-off and the leaching of chemicals into waterways etc.
Typically, the various authorities in Australia require a minimum of 2 years' of weather data from an on-site weather station. This weather station will need to meet Australian Standards to properly support your EIS.
Some states and regulators require up to 5 years of local climate data. If you don't choose the right weather station solution the first time your whole project can be delayed significantly while waiting for the baseline data to be collected.
EPA & Statutory Requirements: Licences to Operate
Most mines in Australia will have a requirement from a state government to monitor their local weather. Typically this will be included as part of a development application or Environmental licence.
The typical licencing requires the Mine's Weather Station to meet Australian Standards, such as "AS/NZS 3580.14:2014 Methods for sampling and analysis of ambient air Meteorological monitoring for ambient air quality monitoring applications".
In NSW the licencing requirements will primarily reference their EPA Approved Methods for Ambient Air Monitoring; AM-1, AM-2 & AM-4.
These standards detail the requirements from Hardware specifications, mast heights, Sampling sites, clearances, instrument exposure and servicing and calibration requirements.
It is important to use a supplier well versed in these requirements & who can help you decide the best weather station for your mine.
Impact of weather on mine production, worker comfort & safety and community wellbeing
Data from on-going weather monitoring through an automatic weather station on site at your mine, can inform decisions which will impact directly on mine production, worker comfort and the wellbeing of neighbouring communities. For example:
- Rainfall and soil moisture data can inform risk management strategies associated with mine and site flooding, all-weather road access, slope stability and the siting and construction of mine infrastructure and worker facilities. This same data will influence the management of run-off during heavy rain and strategies to revegetate mined land.
- Standalone logging rain gauges across sites, when accompanied by suitable telemetry and SMS alarms, can inform management when sites are likely to become inaccessible, or mud and water that could impact mining operations.
- Automation. Pumps and valves in open cut mines likely to flood can be activated by weather sensors when pre-set rainfall volumes are reached within a particular time frame.
- Evaporation rates can be measured via the FAO56 calculation within the Weather Maestro, based on wind speed, air temperature, relative humidity and solar radiation sensors. This has implications for determining when operations can recommence after a major rain event, and for monitoring of tailings dams and other water storages.
- Worker Heat Stress & UV radiation Through calculating the industry best practice Thermal Work Limit (TWL) Index & Monitoring for UV radiation exposure, Mining Management has the ability to confirm a safe working environment.
- Wind direction and wind speed data:
- Enables monitoring of the movement and dispersion of dust and hazardous gases
- Influences dust suppression strategies (eg frequency with which mine access roads and pit areas are watered)
- Influences the design and positioning of worker quarters, administration buildings and workshop facilities/laboratories etc.
- Is also critical in ensuring that local residents and communities are not negatively impacted by excessive dust drift from the mine site.
- Lightning Warning
- Various sensors can be used to detect nearby and approaching lightning, from Lightning Strike sensors determining the distance and bearing of both cloud to cloud and cloud to ground strikes to Electric Field Mills that detect the conditions needed for lightning to occur. Adding these to your mine weather station allows you to monitor for lightning risk and issue Alerts via SMS and Email when required.
Operational Decision-making and Planning
Data from each of these weather sensors also has implications for the design, selection and maintenance of plant and machinery capable of operating under the climatic conditions experienced at the mine site.
Weather data can help determine:
- Plant and machinery maintenance cycles
- The selection of oils and lubricants
- Corrosion management strategies etc.
- Ambient temperature has a major bearing on tyre pressures used in dump trucks and mine vehicles.
Dust Monitoring Weather Stations
Dust Monitoring and Dispersion Tracking
Many Mines, Quarries and other extractive industries benefit from including continuous dust monitoring as part of their weather station. This will provide logged airborne dust concentrations alongside the time series weather data, so your analysis is quick and easy.
Whether you want to monitor Total Suspended Particulates (TSP) PM10 or PM4 particulate sizes for respirable dusts, there is a dust monitoring solution that will suit your needs, and we can help you to match a solution to your needs and budget.
The Wind Speed and Direction Sensors, on the 10m Mast and utilising the built in AirData and Sigma Theta firmware in the Weather Maestro Mining weather station will provide you the core information you need to track the movement and dispersion of dust from your Mine site.
Engineers need to be able to track the movement of escaping toxic or volatile gases from a well head or mine.
- The same weather station sensors used to track the movement of dust can be used to map the movement of these gases and implement strategies to ensure the safety of workers and the local community.
Weather Software for Mining
The Weather Maestro weather station package includes Environdata’s powerful WeatherMation Live Service.
WHAT IT DOES:
- Collects data from the data logger
- Features a range of export options
- Allows for the viewing of data in tabular or graphical form
- Facilitates the viewing of real time weather data
- Has a range of connection and communication options
- Provides daily, hourly and more intensive (e.g. every 10 minutes) reports from the weather station
- These reporting intervals are fully customisable to meet your weather monitoring needs. Custom reports and Wind Rose reports are a breeze
- The capacity of WeatherMation Live to perform complex calculations, report data in multiple formats, manage multiple weather stations at once and integrate with other software packages, makes it the ideal package to support mine managers requiring instant access to microclimate data.
- ‘AirData’ Vector Analysis firmware is able to detect changes in wind speed and direction on a 3 second basis so that particle and pollutant drift and dispersion can be accurately mapped. Mine managers need this data to monitor dust movement and the dispersion characteristics. The firmware generates wind trajectory data, and facilitates Sigma Theta analysis, the ‘coefficient of dispersion’. Sigma Theta is available as an additional firmware calculation.
- Wind Rose software provides a convenient way to summarise wind speed and direction data on a weekly, monthly or custom basis. This gives a simple visual display or a numeric table of percentages of speed and direction combinations. This software displays an impressive circular graphical summary that is invaluable for analysing wind distribution, and is easily exported to ensure your wind distribution reports are done quickly and with a minimum of fuss.
10m Instrument Mast (IS37)
Environdata’s 10 metre mast (standard meteorological height) meets EPA licensing conditions and enables mine staff to monitor winds in terms of the relevant Australian standards when coupled with the appropriate sensors (i.e. Environdata’s wind direction and wind speed sensors).
This is of particular significance when managing dust drift. By adding a second air temperature sensor at 10 metres, the Weather Maestro weather stations can detect the presence of inversion layers, brought about by night time cooling, which trap airbourne particles and allow them to travel long distances without significant dispersion.
Our IS37 10m mast is engineer designed & rated to withstand 57m/s (over 205km/hr) wind gusts. For higher speed ratings we have our Stainless Steel IS88 Version, capable of withstanding wind speed gust to over 316km/hr.
This robust mast and sensors can be installed by one person from ground level and provides the perfect platform for air movement monitoring, and meeting EPA requirements or Australian Standards.
We are able to provide mounting solutions for a range of instruments on this mast, with factory made adapters to suit a number of common systems. Ask us for more information.
Communication Options for Mine Weather Stations
Environdata provide multiple options for getting data from the your Mine Weather Station to the relevant managers and stakeholders.
Cellular modem communications have revolutionised remote access to weather stations within Telstra’s 3G or 4G mobile coverage areas. Our industrial modems fit inside the Weather Station housing and are far less expensive than comparable radio or satellite links.
UHF, VHF RADIO LINKS
Data can also be streamed from the weather station to an office / LAN on the mine site via UHF or VHF radio links. Our UHF modems are industrial grade, spread spectrum in either the 433MHz or 900MHz licence free bands. They come as field-ready packages and include two radio modems, antennas, housings and power supplies where applicable.
Where your site is truly remote, a satellite connection to your remote weather station is a viable alternative.
The most basic and least complex is to download your data directly from the weather station to a laptop via a direct cable link. This remains an option on any system even with telemetry in place.
Servicing and Support
Environdata technicians perform regular service trips to mines in Queensland and New South Wales to ensure optimal performance of customer's weather stations. Service trips to SA, WA, VIC and TAS are also a regular feature. Every Weather Maestro weather station is delivered pre-configured for the customer's specific requirements and includes a comprehensive handbook and backup support by phone and email.
Typical Weather Stations
The ideal automatic weather station for mines, gas fields, oil wells and mineral exploration.
Environdata’s Weather Maestro is a robust weather station designed to cope with the extreme conditions typically found in mining sites and gas fields across Australia and around the world.
The Weather Maestro meets Australian Standards and EPA requirements, is fully designed and manufactured in Australia, comes with a range of telemetry options and is backed by full instructions & manufacturer’s support.
Weather Maestro’s data logger can be equipped with a wide range of sensors (up to 20) generating data which will support management decision making and flag safety issues.
Mining Weather Stations
Some Typical Sensors
BLACK GLOBE TEMPERATURE SENSORS
Adding a black globe temperature sensor to your weather station will allow the calculation of Heat Stress Indices TWL & WBGT. This in turn allows mine managers to monitor site conditions as felt by workers on the ground.
SMS or Email alerts can be sent from the WeatherMation LIVE system.
On the basis of these alerts decisions can be taken to protect workers from heat stress related injury.
TIPPING BUCKET RAIN GAUGE
The tipping bucket rain gauge is built to Bureau of Meteorology standards and is sturdily constructed from stainless steel with a powder painted cast aluminium base and copper receiver funnel.
Accurate and reliable monitoring of rain events on mine sites assists with both environmental monitoring including triggering of sediment control and slope stabilisation, as well as operational decision making.
Add a good quality rain gauge to your mine weather station for the added assurance you will measure the rain accurately.
Typical mining weather stations include relative humidity, air temperature, radiant heat, wind speed, wind direction, solar radiation, rainfall and barometric pressure sensors.
Commonly added options include soil temperature, soil moisture, UV radiation, lightning strike sensors, electric field mills, water level sensors (pressure cells and radar), class A evaporation pans and continuous dust monitors.
Custom interfaces to other sensors are available to record almost any parameter you can imagine.