KOLKATA: A stethoscope-like instrument will soon be deployed in mines for predicting movement of rocks during excavation and minimize the risk of mining accidents.

Developed by IIT Kharagpur researchers, the “Instrumented Rock Bolt” can forecast vital information of rock movement before any unwanted accident occurs.

Field trials at Asansol coal mines of West Bengal have yielded positive results after which experiments would soon be done in the copper mines of Madhya Pradesh.

“The instrument will collect data on the health of the rock just like a stethoscope. It will then be analyzed using geocomputing technology. People who are excavating for mining or making a tunnel for a hydropower project will then know which rock is risky and to what extent,” Prof Debasis Deb of the department of mining engineering at IIT Kharagpur told PTI.

A part of this project is funded by the Central Mine Planning and Design Institute (CMPDI), a subsidiary of Coal India Limited.

IIT-Kgp and CMPDI have already filed a joint patent for the instrument.

“We are getting good response but the technology needs further validation before it is released in the market for commercial use. We hope that the entire system will be ready in the next two years,” the scientist said.

IIT-Kgp researchers are also collaborating with fellows from the MIT who are currently employing the same methods for shale gas exploration.
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