The ability to track miners and communicate with them while they work in underground coal mines is important during normal daily operation, and critical in emergency conditions. This was evident during recent incidents at underground coal mines worldwide. Communication with miners and the knowledge of their location is of great importance for rescue efforts and the preservation of life.
Numerous technologies have been developed, adapted and deployed to meet tracking requirements of the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response (MINER) Act of 2006. Evaluating the performance of these systems has proven to be difficult for mine operators, system manufacturers and regulatory agencies. The MINER Act requires operators to improve accident preparedness by developing an emergency response plan specific to each mine. With the recent implementation of the provisions of the MINER Act of 2006, all underground coal mines in the United States are subject to the mandates of legislation concerning communication and tracking system installation.