Virtual mine training center opens in Australia

November 14, 2013

A new virtual reality (VR) mine training facility that is a 3D replica of working underground coal mine will provide training opportunities for miners in Australia.

According to a report from ABC News in Australia, the facility in Redbank, west of Brisbane, cost the state government $500,000 and will be used for training for Australian and overseas mining companies.

"Obviously with the growth in the [resources] sector and with the changes in the sector we always need to embrace new opportunities with the different ways that we train people to work on mine sites," Natural Resources and Mines Minister Andrew Cripps said. 

Cripps said improving safety is the project's priority.

"That's what our motivation is, to make sure that people who are working in the resources sector in Queensland make it home from work safely every day."

Brisbane company VR Space helped to develop the mine simulator.

Company director Kingsley Smith said it is based on an actual mine in central Queensland.

"The mine was developed in partnership with Vale and it's the Carborough Downs coal mine in the Bowen Basin," he said. "The whole mine was developed using Vale's mine plans and real data, so it's not a fictitious mine."

"It's a real mine so that just adds more to the realism and the experiential learning aspect of the facility."

The training facility is based at the Department of Natural Resources and Mines testing and research station at Redbank.

It enables workers to experience simulated emergency situations and tests their reactions.

"We can tailor the type of experiences that people who are undergoing training can be put in, depending on their level of experience or competencies," Cripps said. "We can have basic entry-level scenarios where people are just starting to learn about the importance of safety on mine sites. We can also ramp up the types of scenarios to high-stress situations or emergencies for people who are more experienced and need to be trained additionally to make sure that they can cope with any eventuality on a mine site."


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