World-first practices to monitor mining under the Hume Highway
March 06, 2013

A mine south of Sydney has been commended by the NSW Premier for successfully mining under major infrastructure without impacting the road above it.


Fibre optic cables are tracking potential impacts of a longwall mine under the Hume Highway to ensure the safety of the thousands of drivers and passengers who use the road.
Our world class miners want the surrounding communities to prosper, and part of that effort includes minimising the impact of a mine on the local environment.

That’s why just southwest of Sydney BHP Billiton Illawarra Coal, in consultation with the Roads and Maritime Services and with the help of expert consultants, has installed three kilometres of fibre optic cables under the Hume Highway to track any movement of the earth that may be linked to its nearby Appin mine.  
Hume Highway 1

Every ten metres along the highway there are sensors that measure temperature and strain so that any damage can be swiftly detected. The company also installed 48 pavements slots to reduce stress in the road.

The data is analysed in real-time and compared against pre-determined triggers. The system also includes a best-practice capability to initiate SMS-generated alarms, in the event that one of the pre-determined thresholds is reached. 

If certain thresholds are exceeded, a control centre at Appin mine will receive the alarm notification and respond as needed.

By using cutting-edge technology to measure and respond to mining’s impacts in real-time, this NSW Miner has developed a monitoring method that could be applied to mining practices worldwide. 

The system means that mining operations can continue while ensuring the safe and smooth operation of the Hume Highway, a road that carries over 40,000 vehicles in and out of Sydney each day.  

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