Helping to Save Lives in the Mining Industry

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Teboho Nyareli has worked at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in South Africa for 3-years as a research engineer specifically doing research for the mining industry. Mr. Nyareli obtained his Masters degree in Electronic Engineering from the University of Cape Town in South Africa.

In the mining industry, most of the underground injuries and fatalities are due to rock falls (i.e. fall of hanging wall/roof). The method that has been used for many years in the mines when determining the integrity of the hanging wall is to tap the hanging wall with a sounding bar and listen to the sound emitted. An experienced miner can differentiate an intact/solid hanging wall from a detached/loose hanging wall by the sound that is emitted. This method is subjective. CSIR has developed a device that assists any miner in making an objective decision when determining the integrity of the hanging wall. A trained neural network model is embedded into the device. The device then records the sound emitted when a hanging wall is tapped. The sound is then preprocessed before being input into a trained neural network model and the trained model classifies the hanging wall as either intact or detached.

Mr. Nyareli has been using NeuroSolutions now for two and a half years and attended the May 2005 Neural Network Course in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Using the Professional level of NeuroSolutions with the Source Code License, Teboho was able to obtain around 70% accuracy on out-of-sample data using the default settings from the NeuralExpert. The model contained a total of 9 inputs and 2 outputs with around only 160 exemplars for training and 50 exemplars for Cross Validation and Testing.

Mr. Nyareli only used the Professional level of NeuroSolutions and the Source Code License to complete this project and found that "NeuroSolutions has a good graphical interface" and chose it over competitive products because it was the easiest "to use NeuroSolutions on a Windows platform".

Currently the prototype system is undergoing a final set of tests. Next will be the commercialization phase, which is planned for completion sometime in 2008. We would like to thank Mr. Nyareli for the great insight on how CSIR is making underground mining safer for miners in South Africa and we look forward to hearing about the finished product.

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