October 20, 2019
  • 11:04 am Veteran director J Om Prakash dies
  • 11:02 am Jaitley responding to treatment VPs office after Naidu visits AIIMS
  • 10:57 am Govt seeks report from schools about initiative for cleaning Yamuna
  • 10:16 am Hong Kong leader insists she will stay on
  • 10:15 am Japan briefs diplomats to wipe Fukushima nuke water concern

first_imgOTTAWA – The firm that audited the accounts of Garth Drabinsky’s Livent should be held financially responsible for some — but not all — of the failed theatre company’s losses two decades ago, the Supreme Court of Canada says.In a 4-3 ruling Wednesday, the high court found Deloitte was liable for negligently auditing Livent’s 1997 financial statements, though not for other conduct.The court concluded that an audit firm can only be held responsible where a company’s financial losses relate to the actual purpose of the auditors’ work.Lower court decisions left Deloitte on the hook for almost $85 million, but the Supreme Court ruling reduces the damages award to $40 million.In the 1990s, Livent brought live theatrical productions such as “Phantom of the Opera” and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” to audiences across North America.Drabinsky, a colourful impresario and public face of the company, was suspended as Livent’s vice-chairman and chief creative director in 1998 amid allegations of accounting irregularities. Myron Gottlieb, who served as president, was also suspended. Livent subsequently filed for bankruptcy and went into receivership.Drabinsky and Gottlieb were later found guilty of fraud and forgery. Both were handed prison sentences.Livent, through its receiver, sued Deloitte in 2001, alleging that audits between 1992 and 1998 were done negligently.The trial judge found Deloitte liable for damages, a decision upheld last year by the Ontario Court of Appeal. The appeal court said the auditors should have been able to detect serious fraud in the company’s financial statements.Deloitte argued in the Supreme Court that it was effectively being penalized for failing to resign as Livent’s auditor.Livent’s bankruptcy receiver countered that a robust audit has an important place in the statutory corporate and securities framework for public companies. It argued that accepting Deloitte’s position would make audit firms immune from civil responsibility to their clients for incompetent audits.Writing for a majority of the Supreme Court, justices Clement Gascon and Russell Brown confirmed that Deloitte negligently audited Livent’s financial statements, resulting in the company losing millions more than it would have if the auditors had uncovered the fraud earlier.“As a consequence, Livent’s corporate life was artificially prolonged, resulting in the interim deterioration of its finances,” the judges wrote.They reasoned that Livent would not have taken on greater debt through financing, instead limiting the damage by declaring bankruptcy sooner.Specifically, the court found Deloitte liable for its April 1998 audit of Livent’s 1997 financial statements, which prevented shareholders from properly scrutinizing the company. It said Deloitte was responsible for 75 per cent of the difference in the company’s financial position between the time of the audit opinion and Livent’s bankruptcy in November 1998.However, the high court disagreed with the lower courts that Deloitte should be held responsible for losses allegedly related to Deloitte’s approval of an August 1997 press release and comfort letter to investors. The Supreme Court said that work was intended to help the company attract investment, and its financial losses did not relate to this purpose.— Follow @JimBronskill on Twitterlast_img read more

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New York – Lebanon continues to mourn the victims of the two terrorist attacks that hit Beirut on Thursday. The attacks, which were perpetrated by ISIS, claimed the lives of nearly 50 people and left more than 200 others wounded.Two suicide bombers and a third who died before detonating his explosive vest, perpetrated an attack in one of the most populated suburbs in Lebanon’s capital city, Burj al-Barajneh, a mainly Shia neighborhood in Dayhey, where Hezbollah resides.The first suicide bomber detonated himself outside a Shiite mosque, while the second one activated his explosives minutes later inside a bakery within feet of the same area. On Friday, Zahra Atat, the widow of Adel Tormos mourned the death of her husband who courageously tackled one of the suicide bombers to prevent him from entering the mosque and killing more victims, according to UK’s The Guardian.Termos cousin, Nazmiyeh Tarif, expressed his sorrow addressing the attackers: “They are people without conscience. May they get worse than what happened to us,” he told the paper.Hezbollah denounced the attacks: “They targeted civilians, worshippers, unarmed people, women and elderly, they only targeted innocent people,” Hezbollah official Bilal Farhat told The Associated Press, calling the acts a “satanic, terrorist attack.”“The bloodshed was barbaric,” according to eyewitnesses, who said that Hezbollah militants did not allow photographers on the scene. “There is a massacre inside and we will not let you take photos,” a militant told an AP photographer as he approached the cordoned off area.Lebanon’s Prime Minister Talamm Salam held a meeting on Friday to discuss the twin suicide bombings and condemned the attacks. “The barbaric crime that took place in Burj al-Barajneh did not target just one region or sect but all of Lebanon from one end to the other,” Salam said.The extremist terrorist group ISIS claimed responsibility for the Beirut bombings on social media, saying that “the aim of the attack was to kill Shia Muslims.”Lebanon shelters more than 1.1 million Syrian refugees.Thursday evening’s terrorist attack is the second one claimed by ISIS in Beirut since January 2014, which had also targeted a Shiite neighborhood.Less than 24 hours after the Beirut attacks, France’s capital was hit by a wave of terrorist attacks also claimed by ISIS. Innocent lives were killed because of ISIS barbaric terrorist attacks.Millions around the world have shown their solidarity for the French people’s sorrow. Paris deadly attacks are mourned all over the world, while Lebanon’s casualties go nearly unnoticed and seen as “normal” news from the Middle East. All lives should matter. read more

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If necessity is the mother of invention, then pending motherhood may have given Sarah Vander Neut a creative boost.The Aurora, Colorado, seamstress was pregnant with her first daughter eight years ago and running in her husband’s heavy hoodie when she decided to sew a jacket to fit her growing form.“I was running every day until I had her, and it was winter,” said Vander Neut, now the mother of two little girls. “A husband’s hoodie does not make you feel fast. This jacket solved my running problems.”Already selling handmade skirts and dresses at Denver-area craft markets, Vander Neut began sewing athletic jackets in spectacular colour combinations. The handmade sportswear features extra-long arms for covering hands or cuffing back, a large hole at one wrist for checking the giant sports watch, deep pockets for holding gear, and reflective accents for nighttime runs. Her jackets are made from double-knit polyester — fabric designed to last.“The light just kinda went on for me,” said Vander Neut, who has an art degree and studied fashion design. “Colorado is not New York, is not L.A. This is our fashion statement. A jacket is something a woman is going to need for layering.”She’s made 730 jackets since launching Vander Jacket in 2011, selling the hoodies online and at craft markets. She has no plans to let up on the five-hours-per-jacket effort.“If I was pouring all the time in and it stopped growing . then yeah, I would fall out of love pretty fast,” Vander Neut said. “I’d be taking time away from my little kids and husband. It works when my little business is helping them, helping my little girls go to ballet or helping my family buy a car.”Vander Neut is not alone. Other makers pour their passion for a sport into handmade goods.For Ruby Amsen, in the Netherlands, inspiration was twofold: She loves roller skating and the 1970s. She sews roller-skating pants and shorts in outrageous, ’70s-style fabrics.“Flare pants and Farrah Fawcett, the windy blown hair. It’s mesmerizing,” said Amsen, of Amsterdam.A few years ago she learned how to dance on skates, and was hooked. She started sewing pants to accentuate her hip-hop and jazzy moves, piquing other skaters’ interest.“The ’70s-style clothing really accentuates your moves,” she said.Part-time work grew into a fulltime business for Amsen, who sells her skater wear on Etsy.com . The designer keeps her home minimally appointed so she can skate indoors, including while she works.“It’s like a kind of meditation for me. It keeps my mind still,” Amsen said. “Some people puzzle or go running, I start with drawing and then creating, then skating. That’s one synergy going on there.”Althea Rizzo of Salem, Oregon, sews rock-climbing chalk bags from second-hand stuffed animals. Her VertGear online site features chalk bags made from a pink elephant, green frog and purple zebra, among other critters.The chalk bags appeal to a certain level of rock climber.“The people who wear mine are not the super intense, professional athletes,” Rizzo said. “These are people who enjoy a little bit of fun and lightheartedness.”She began sewing sportswear and gear for her outdoorsy daughter. Her Etsy shop includes tank tops and shorts, made from fabric she designs.Rizzo recently streamlined her sewing process to save time. She only sews at night and on weekends; by day, she is the earthquake, tsunami and volcano program co-ordinator for the state of Oregon.The sewing work helps Rizzo avoid boredom and pay her bills.“I like to stay busy and I like to make money,” she said. “When I retire in less than 10 years, I’d like to have my student loans and mortgage paid off . and a stream of income to keep me from eating cat food.”The three businesswomen are inspired to do more: Vander Neut has expanded into windbreakers, Rizzo recently added new apparel, and Amsen talks about designing jumpsuits.“Stop? No, no, no. That’s impossible,” said Amsen. “My mind can’t stop thinking. I have designs to last for 80 years from now.”Jennifer Forker, The Associated Press read more

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A three-day meeting held by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) wrapped up today in Bangkok, with more than 100 participants concluding that the disparity in Internet access is driven by the narrow coverage of telecommunication networks as well as limited access to computers and knowledge on how to use information and communication technology (ICT).There are fewer than 10 Internet users per 100 people in more than 25 countries in the region, mainly the least developed and small island developing States, while wealthier nations such as Australia and New Zealand have an 80 per cent penetration rate, said Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).Ms. Heyzer was addressing the First Session of the Committee on Information and Communication Technology (CICT), a gathering of all 62 Member States of ESCAP. This was the first session of CICT, which was set up in April to serve as a forum for discussions on using ICT as a means to propel development.Although the number of mobile phone subscribers in the poorest countries in the region has increased by some 800 per cent this decade, there remains a gaping gap between rich and poor countries in the ability to gain Internet access, Ms. Heyzer said.The five most web-connected countries in the region – New Zealand, Japan, the Republic of Korea (ROK), Singapore and Malaysia – have between 55 per cent and 80 per cent of their populations connected to the web. By contrast, in the bottom five countries on the scale – Myanmar, Timor-Leste, Tajikistan, Bangladesh and Cambodia – less than 1 per cent of the population has access to the Internet, and the average for the Asia-Pacific region as a whole is 20 per cent.The delegates attending the meeting recognized the need for expanded campaigns to raise awareness and build ICT capacity among a wider segment of society.They also called for further support from ESCAP in building ICT capacity among government officials in non-ICT ministries and training institutes, through the use of programmes set up by the Asian and Pacific Training Center for Information and Communication Technology for Development – a subsidiary body of ESCAP.“We have paid close attention to the views exchanged over the past three days and I wish to assure you that we will endeavour to turn them into concrete actions in our future activities,” said ESCAP Director of ICT and Disaster Risk Reduction, Zengpei Xuan. “In this regard, I call on all entities that are in a position to provide development funding and technical assistance to contribute the much-needed financial and technical support to reach the development goals expressed at this Committee.” 21 November 2008The United Nations today called for support in bridging the persistent “digital divide” in the Asia-Pacific region, where access to the Internet varies widely between rich and poor countries. read more

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by Ken Sweet, The Associated Press Posted Jan 14, 2016 5:18 am MDT Last Updated Jan 14, 2016 at 3:43 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email JPMorgan Chase’s earnings rise 9 per cent, beat estimates NEW YORK, N.Y. – Banking giant JPMorgan Chase & Co. said Thursday that its fourth-quarter profits rose 9 per cent from a year earlier, helped by strong performance in its consumer banking division and lower legal expenses.The largest U.S. bank by assets said it earned $4.91 billion, or $1.32 per share, after payments to preferred shareholders, compared to a profit of $4.49 billion, or a $1.19 per share, a year earlier. The results topped analysts’ forecasts, who were looking for JPMorgan to earn $1.26 per share, according to FactSet.JPMorgan’s latest results reflected similar themes CEO Jamie Dimon and the bank’s management have been pushing for several quarters. The bank remained focused on cutting expenses, including through layoffs or other headcount reductions, preparing itself for bigger profits once interest rates rise further, as many expect will happen this year. The bank’s total employees fell 3 per cent year-over-year to 234,598 workers.The bank was also impacted by a steep drop in prices for oil and other commodities. JPMorgan had to modestly add to its credit reserves to cover loans to oil and gas companies, who have been struggling as oil plunged near $30 a barrel, as well loans to metal and mining companies.Dimon stressed that the deterioration in oil and commodities should be treated as a sign of caution, but not of extreme worry.“So obviously (the U.S. economy) going to get a little bit worse. We’re not forecasting a recession. We think that the U.S. economy looks pretty good at this point,” Dimon said, in a call with investors.Marianne Lake, JPMorgan’s chief financial officer, said the bank is likely to set aside more money to cover oil and gas loans, if oil prices continue to struggle. The amount is small, possibly $500 million to $750 million, Lake said in a conference call with reporters.JPMorgan’s consumer bank, the firm’s largest division by profit and revenue, reported strong results. Chase earned $2.41 billion, up 10 per cent from a year earlier. The bank grew both deposits and loans in the quarter. Notably, auto lending was up 33 per cent from a year earlier. Credit cards also did well, as customers spent more on JPMorgan’s credit and debit cards and lower delinquencies and charge-offsThe corporate and investment banking division also reported a jump in profits, but it was largely tied to lower expenses. The volatile stock and bond markets in the last part of the year made trading more difficult, and JPMorgan reported a slight drop in both its equity and fixed income revenues from a year ago. The division earned $1.75 billion in the quarter compared with $776 million a year earlier.JPMorgan cut expenses two ways in its investment bank. Legal expenses dropped to $644 million compared with $1.1 billion a year earlier and the bank’s employee compensation expenses fell from $2.02 billion to $1.86 billion. The lower compensation expenses is a sign the bank set aside less for year-end bonuses this year, likely a reflection of last year’s difficult markets.JPMorgan’s commercial bank, where a significant portion of JPMorgan’s oil and gas lending business sits, was on big drag on the bank’s results this quarter. The division had profits of $550 million in the quarter, down from $693 million in the quarter a year earlier. The money the bank had to set aside for struggling oil and gas loans was largely the cause for the drop, as commercial banking revenue was relatively flat in the quarter.Total revenue at the bank totalled $22.89 billion, compared with $22.75 billion in the same period a year earlier.For the full year, JPMorgan earned $22.41 billion, up 12 per cent from a year earlier.Shares of JPMorgan rose 86 cents, or 1.5 per cent, to $58.20. read more

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by Steve Douglas, The Associated Press Posted Feb 12, 2016 5:31 am MDT Last Updated Feb 12, 2016 at 8:40 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email English soccer set for another fan protest at Arsenal Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger looks on prior to the start of the English Premier League soccer match between Bournemouth and Arsenal, at the Vitality Stadium, in Bournemouth, England, Sunday Feb. 7, 2016. (John Walton/PA via AP) UNITED KINGDOM OUT NO SALES NO ARCHIVE Fan protests have been the theme of the week in European soccer — and there could be another on the way in the most high-profile game in the English Premier League this weekend.Against a backdrop of growing anger in England at rising ticket prices, supporters of Arsenal and Leicester could unite in protest at Emirates Stadium to highlight their unhappiness at a decision to move the game back a day — at just three days’ notice — for television coverage. It will be played on Sunday lunchtime instead of Saturday afternoon.A group of Leicester fans is planning to boycott the first five minutes of the match, citing lost money on travel and accommodation booked before the alteration. And some Arsenal fans are willing to do the same to show unity and make a stand against a perceived mistreatment of fans.“Match-going fans are treated appallingly, both by clubs (who continually increase ticket prices, despite the huge and growing TV revenues flowing into their coffers); and TV companies (who move kickoff times at short notice and stage games at times that are good for TV viewers but bad for the match-going fan),” Arsenal fans’ group REDaction said in a statement.On Friday, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger called on fans of both clubs to cancel the planned protests, saying they should take place before or after what is a crucial match in the title race. Leicester, the surprise league leader, holds a five-point cushion over both Tottenham and third-place Arsenal with 13 matches left.“You want everybody there when the game starts,” Wenger said. “Football is a moment of happiness in your life, so don’t miss it.”This latest grievance comes days after Liverpool’s American owners apologized to the club’s fans and reversed planned rises in ticket prices, following a walkout by more than 10,000 Liverpool supporters at Anfield near the end of Saturday’s match against Sunderland.Malcolm Clarke, chairman of the Football Supporters’ Federation in England, called the decision a “game-changer.”The cost of tickets in English soccer is a hot topic, especially since topflight teams are less reliant than ever on ticket revenue with Premier League clubs about to rake in around 8.3 billion pounds ($12 billion) through new three-year television deals. Even British Prime Minister David Cameron has weighed in, calling the escalating cost of watching Premier League games a “problem.”In Germany, fans of Borussia Dortmund held up a Bundesliga match against Stuttgart on Tuesday by throwing tennis balls onto the field during play. A banner was held up, reading: “Football must be more affordable.”Arsenal often comes in for criticism for having both the most expensive season ticket and matchday ticket in the Premier League.“I don’t think we are on the same level ground as foreign clubs,” Wenger said, referring to the Premier League. “For example, Bayern Munich paid one euro for their ground whereas we paid 128 million pounds for our ground.“In France, they pay nothing at all for their stadiums, they pay nothing at all for their maintenance. We pay absolutely everything ourselves so we have to generate more revenue.”Liverpool was leading 2-0 at the time of the protest last weekend, and ended up drawing 2-2. Wenger doesn’t see a protest on Sunday affecting his team.“I wouldn’t like to use that as an excuse,” Wenger said. “I think, once the players are on the pitch, they are focused other job.” read more

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It all started in a restaurant at the Buffalo airport. While waiting for a flight, Brock University Professor of Psychology Catherine Mondloch and her research team spotted a group of older women sitting at a nearby table.As she watched the women, Mondloch asked her student researchers to look at the women’s faces and write down who they thought was the best-looking woman and why.“We traded notes,” recalls Mondloch. “There was not a lot of consensus; people in our group varied on how attractive they thought each women was.”Mondoch knew that faces considered to be “attractive” were usually ones that had “typical” features. But what determines our ability to define a “typical” – or “normal” – face?That exercise led to one of three experiments in the group’s study “Judging Normality and Attractiveness in Faces: Direct Evidence of a More Refined Representation for Own-Race, Young Adult Faces,” published June 21 in the journal Perception.The basic idea behind the study is that we all have an impression of what a “typical” face looks like: the “average” size of eyes, nose, mouth, forehead; how these are placed proportionately to one another; and other features that make up a face.Drawing upon that typical face, we notice differences from what we consider to be “normal,” such as eyes placed close together, a wide forehead, among others. These differences help us not only to remember or identify a face, but to judge how attractive we think that face is.But our ability to spot differences – and, hence, recognize faces or judge their attractiveness – is not consistent.Previous research has shown that we are less able to recognize other-race faces and older faces.“We were thinking that this is probably the case because people have less-refined face prototypes for other-race faces and old age faces,” says the study’s lead author, PhD student Xiaomei Zhou.She says many people have less exposure to, or experience with, people from other races and older adults, affecting their ability to form a mental image of a “normal” face for these two groups.In each pair, the left side shows the undistorted face (0%) and the right side shows the same identity with his/her facial feature expanded 20%.“This is the first study where we provide direct and strong evidence suggesting that our face recognition models are less refined for these unfamiliar face categories,” she says.Which explains why the team at the Buffalo airport didn’t reach a general agreement on who the most attractive older woman was, says Mondloch.“The logic here is that, if I don’t know what a typical old face looks like, or I don’t know what a typical other-race face looks like, then there should be much less consensus in terms of attractiveness ratings,” she says.In the study’s first experiment, researchers created a seven-photo row of an Asian young man’s face and a seven-photo row of a Caucasian young woman’s face.In the centre of each row was the original, untouched photo of the “normal” face. Three images to the right were distorted so that facial features were expanded 10, 20 and 30 per cent, making the face appear wider than the original. Three images to the left were compressed by 10, 20 and 30 per cent, showing facial features to be closer to each other than the original.The researchers showed photos from both rows to a group of young Caucasian adults in Canada and a group of young Asian adults in China. Almost all participants in both groups reported that none of their friends were from the other race.Participants saw various pairs of photos – one original and one distorted – from each racial group and were asked to identify which of the two images was “normal.”Both Caucasian and Asian participants were less able to detect the “normal” image of the other-race photo compared to the photo of their own race.The second study provided converging evidence by measuring the extent to which participants agreed on the attractiveness of other-race faces.“Because typical faces tend to be rated more attractive, this provides another measure of our knowledge of what typical faces from various groups look like,” says Mondloch.Caucasian participants agreed more on the Caucasian faces they found attractive than on the Asian faces they rated as being attractive. Interestingly, Asian participants agreed equally on the attractiveness of both the Asian and Caucasian photos they rated.The study suggests this might be because Chinese participants were more exposed to “attractive” Caucasians appearing in Western movies, music videos and other media compared to Caucasians’ limited access to Asian media.In a final study, a group of young adults and a group of senior citizens living in independent housing in the Niagara Region were shown photos of young and old faces and were asked to rate their attractiveness. Like other-race faces, older faces are harder to recognize. The researchers wanted to know whether this also might reflect a lack of knowledge about what a typical older face looks like.Both groups agreed more on which younger faces they found attractive compared to the older faces. The study notes that this is unusual, considering that older people presumably have more recent exposure to older faces than younger ones.“We suspect that the continuous young adult face bias in older adults reflects the special influence of early experience in shaping perceptual expertise – experience that is dominated by young faces,” says the study.The research has far-ranging implications for society. Zhou notes that kindergarten teachers, for safety reasons, need to be able to recognize parents or grandparents who pick up their children at school.Border officials need to be able to match faces with picture ID, a task made more complicated by rising photo fraud, says Mondloch. And, eyewitnesses to crimes may have a more difficult time describing the distinguishing features of older or other-race crime suspects, she says. read more

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first_imgAcademic sleep research shows strong relationship between fatigue and performance Individual operator fatigue score in control room and on in-cab display Dynamic safety zones based on vehicle speed and type further limit alarms to just those that require action Extremely importatn to minimise nuisance alarms –intelligent alarming based on context and risk is critical Pit optimisationAt Austmine 2013 in May, Gavin Yeates, Vice President Mine Optimisation, Group Resource and Business Optimisation, spoke about BHP Billiton’s Next Generation Mining (NGM). He explained the visions is that “our large open-pit mining assets, will be running standard processes and systems for production management (drill-hole to port), utilising autonomous mining equipment, operated from integrated remote operations centres, using the most efficient mining methods.”Caterpillar automated mining trucks are arriving in Western Australia, with six of Fortescue Metals Group’s first 12 793Fs delivered to the Solomon mine and 12 trucks set to arrive at BHP Billiton’s (BHPB) new Jimblebar iron ore mine.Yeates says autonomy will lift productivity through, higher utilisation, reduction of labour, greater predictability and less variability. BHPB has had autonomous haul trucks operating at New Mexico Coal for two years. Jimblebar commenced in August 2013 with six such trucks and is moving to a fleet of 12 trucks in 2014.Geobrugg rock fall barriers for mines are based on a much tried and tested technology that was further developed for use on berm benches in mines for rock fall events up to a nominal energy of 5,000 kJ.He also discussed Mass Mining Methods – “designing our mines for scalability and simplicity by identifying alternate mining methods for our large open pit operations.” The opportunities include increasing mining intensity by removing bottlenecks and haulage congestion. Reduce overburden with fewer ramps. Such planning will also reduce energy consumption.  The approach is to use fully mobile crushers and conveyors, gravity-convey technology, and under-pit infrastructure.Like Rio Tinto, BHPB has a remote operations centre in Perth, Western Australia. The Iron Ore Integrated Remote Operations Centre (IROC) provides real-time management of the supply chain (pit to port) to reduce supply chain variability. Optimised scheduling (production and maintenance) is improving productivity. Colocation of controllers, schedulers and planners improves collaboration, decision making and  role consolidation.Yeates’s key messages were that BHPB is “striving for a step change in productivity through the systematic introduction of autonomy, remote operations, and standard processes and systems.” It is “replicating technology implementations across our organisation (made possible by our common organisation design, processes and systems).”  This enables “a planned, controlled and safe work environment for our people.“Why are we doing it?: Optalert recently received validation for its real-time operator alertness monitoring system by academics from one of the most prestigious research institutions, Harvard in the US.  Optalert CEO Scott Coles said Professor Czeisler of Harvard Medical School was part of a cross-institutional study concluding the Optalert fatigue detection product as setting the ‘gold standard’ in early fatigue detection – a key component of workplace safety.“Recognition as holding the ‘gold standard’ in safety is an extremely significant reference,” Coles said. “The term goes beyond recognising we are worldclass, and asserts our wearable technology products as setting the benchmark for early fatigue detection and risk reduction. This then translates into real benefits for the many places in which we are currently operating across the world.”Optalert’s fatigue detection products have been developed with more than 20 years of research by a team including current General Manager of Scientific Research Dr Andrew Tucker. Tucker said over the years the team developed new methods of measuring eye and eyelid movements. This then led to the world’s first validated scale of drowsiness – the Johns Drowsiness Scale – after Optalert founder and Chief Scientist Dr Murray Johns.“From there we developed products to measure an operator’s fatigue levels in real time with the levels provided immediately to operators and their supervisor. This information enabled both the operator and supervisor to simply determine if their fatigue posed a potential risk to their safety and the safety of others,” Tucker said. “We are now on version eight of the product, and our results combined with the recent academic validation, demonstrating drowsiness can be predicted by ocular movements, means the Optalert product is the only scientifically-proven real-time alertness monitoring system.”Tucker said while the academic validation was reassuring, the results out in the field of the many companies in which their products had been installed were most fulfilling. “We are thrilled with the results we have received from the constant flow of incoming data we are obtaining from work sites all over the world. Not only are we helping prevent fatigue-related incidents but we are also effecting real behavioural change in our operators. Once operators see the daily information about their fatigue levels, it has been shown they are becoming more alert over time, meaning they are better managing their fatigue levels.”The full Harvard research paper about Optalert will appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine and can be found at http://www.aasmnet.org/jcsm/AcceptedPapersRhonda Locke, General Manager Marketing, explains that Optalert “also provides fatigue management and education advice based on the most solid set of data you could imagine. Indeed a number of customers have changed their shift allocation and rostering systems based on the results of our 24 hour global data collection which provides a detailed analysis of each driver and operator who has been using the Optalert technology.”Seeing Machines has signed a strategic agreement with Caterpillar Global Mining for DSS in-cab Fatigue Monitoring Systems for use in mining machines. The agreement covers a multiple-phase approach that commences with a supply and support agreement of the systems through the global Cat® dealer network and progresses to further phases that include joint product development and technology licensing agreements.Stemming trucks are become more prevalent in large open pits. Ausroad Systems has two new stemming trucks available for hire, specifically manufactured for mining, both fitted to a Volvo FM 8×4 cab chassis with 11 m hopper capacities. These trucks are designed to take the time and labour out of the stemming process. The machines allow for backfilling (stemming) ofblastholes in a fast efficient manner.Rio Tinto’s focus on managing fatigue has led to truck drivers at Coal & Allied’s Hunter Valley coal operations wearing an innovative hi-tech cap to better manage their fatigue levels and reduce the risk of accidents.  The SmartCap looks like a standard cap but holds sensors across the wearer’s forehead to monitor signs of fatigue and assess their level of alertness (IM, April 2013, p76).  Hunter Valley Operations General Manager Operations Tom Lukeman said: “Safety is our number one focus and we’re excited about using an innovative technology like SmartCap to continue making our workplace safer. Fatigue is one of the main factors in accidents involving heavy mobile equipment, so SmartCap will help to make sure our workers go home safe and healthy to their families and friends at the end of each shift. Providing operators with real time information on their alertness levels allows them to better understand and manage their own fatigue.“The operator is notified if their fatigue levels begin to rise so they can stop for a break or take other steps like moving to a different task or using the fatigue hut, a purpose built sleep room. An alarm is sounded in the operator’s cabin if they get to the point of sustained tiredness or are at risk of a micro-sleep. As a final precaution, in the event the operator’s fatigue levels continue to rise an alarm is then sent to the mine’s dispatch centre so that supervisors can intervene.“The decision to use SmartCap was made after a successful trial at Hunter Valley last year which involved 48 operators and captured more than 4,200 hours of data. SmartCap adds to a number of fatigue management measures we have on site including soft controls such as diet, healthy lifestyle and training.”Hunter Valley Operator Anne-Marie Henry said: “SmartCap is a great use of technology that helps people understand personal fatigue.  It is difficult to assess your own fatigue levels but SmartCap allows me to work out different techniques over the shift changes to help reduce my fatigue risk to both myself and others.  Since using SmartCap my fatigue levels have decreased as I am proactively trying to change the way I do things. I have more energy now during dayshifts which is where I struggle most with fatigue. This user-friendly tool helps me to reduce my fatigue risk and improves safety on site.”Surface minersVermeer Terrain Leveler in iron oreSurface miners cut, crush and sometimes load rock in a single operation – a single machine completes the job of various different pieces of equipment. Drilling and blasting is not required.  Vermeer’s Mark Cooper points out that his machines do not load – “Loading is more efficient as a secondary operation.  With that being said, surface miners have a very bright future. They have the potential for autonomous mining.Vermeer is on a product development path heading toward autonomous surface miners.  Surface miners produce a consistent, predictable uniform product size that is required for autonomous mining. Vermeer will be releasing new features each year for our products that will add value as standalone products, but when put together as a complete package will have the ability to create an autonomous mining machine.”Additional primary crushing is eliminated. The material can be either directly loaded (only some machines) onto trucks via a conveyor system or, alternatively, deposited as a windrow right behind the machine.The cutting depth of the surface miners can be adjusted to allow thin seams of material to be mined selectively and with a high degree of purity, thus maximising recovery of a deposit. AMC Mining Consultants noted in last month’s Advancing Australia article surface miner technology is particularly applicable to semi-hard material—where the ore lenses are thin and conventional excavation methods result in excessive dilution—and to flat lying orebodies.Last year Fortescue Metals Group took delivery of 14 Vermeer® Terrain Leveler® surface excavation machines (SEMs) to be used in Fortesque’s vast iron ore mining operation in Western Australia.  Vermeer said at the time of the order that its SEMs allow mines to use precision surface mining — “meaning mine operators can selectively extract mineral seams. Operators can also control material sizing — producing small-sized material in a uniform configuration so minerals can be handled more efficiently than product produced by drilling and blasting.  The uniform product size allows more efficient settings on secondary and tertiary crushing systems; savings that can continue well past the primary crushing stage.”Shenhua Beidian Energy became a shining example in China for the environmentally friendly mining of coal using surface miners. “We have been very interested in the innovative surface mining technology right from the start. What convinced us in the end was a visit to coal mines in India that were operated solely by means of surface miners. We were very impressed by the efficiency of the machines,” said Mr Liu, President of Shenhua Beidian Shengli Energy Branch.Wirtgen’s 4200 SM is capable of loading heavy-duty trucks of up to 200 t in a matter of minutes. The 4200 SM is the biggest surface miner in the Wirtgen line and is capable of mining up to 12 Mt/y in soft rock. It has also been proven in hard rock – like iron ore operations in Western AustraliaA Wirtgen 2200 SM equipped with a 3.80 m wide cutting drum has been a great success in the Shenhua mine, demonstrating very ably, how highquality material can be mined without the environmental stress of drilling and blasting operations.  The 2200 SM has been in operation in the Shenhua mine since the spring of 2009. It is cutting coal seams up to 250 mm thick. The cut material is deposited as a windrow behind the machine and once the machine has moved onto another mining area, the coal cut in the first is loaded onto trucks by wheel loaders.More than 150 Wirtgen type 2200 SM miners are in operation around the world. The standard 2200 SM model is equipped with a 2.20 m wide cutting drum. The optionally available 3.80 m cutting drum enables productivity rates in soft rock to be increased significantly.  Some 40 of the 2200 SM miners currently in operation are fitted with the 3.80 m drum. The Shenhua example cuts up to 5,000 t of coal in an eighthour shift. A 1,500-litre fuel tank enables operating times to be maximised while keeping breaks in operation as brief as possible. In addition, the miner has been designed so as to minimise the time required for maintenance procedures. Vital machine components, such as the cutting drum, are readily accessible, allowing the quick replacement of wear parts, such as the cutting tools.Conveyors advanceAs noted on Sandvik’s new website Minestories.com, Craig Wheeler, Associate Professor in the School of Engineering at the University of Newcastle in Australia, sees a growing future for conveyors. He began a career with BHP Billiton in 1989 as a cadet mechanical engineer and earned extensive belt conveying experience working in maintenance, operations and design positions at BHP’s Newcastle steelworks for more than a decade and says “the scales of new mining operations are resulting in unprecedented demands for greater haulage lengths, lifts and, of course, capacity.”Today Sandvik designs, manufactures and installs complete conveyor systems in mining operations around the globe. “Many mines investigate how quickly they can introduce conveyors toreplace some of their expensive trucks,” Thomes Jabs, Vice President Product Lines, Sandvik Mining Systems, says. “We have a mine planning group to help operators determine at what point it becomes feasible to make the investment to replace trucks with conveyors.”Important factors to consider include mine life, geology and deposit shape, scheduled material tonnage rates and the price of diesel fuel versus electricity.  “Every mass mining operation will eventually ask those questions, especially new mines,” Jabs says.In addition to popular overland and in-plant systems, Sandvik offers innovative mine conveyors, compact-type conveyors, apron feeders and special conveyors that overcome differences in elevation.  Solutions for open pits also include semimobile, shiftable and fully mobile trackmounted systems tailored to operator needs.The ThyssenKrupp shiftable conveyor system consists of portable conveyor modules mounted on sleepers and linked by rails. A side tractor with crane-suspending shifting unit causes the rail to bend and the conveyor modules to move sidewaysJabs also notes the ever-increasing popularity of in-pit crushing and conveying (IPCC), which IM covers extensively through its annual conference and regular articles.  “It’s an efficient way to move part of the processing plant into the mine, bringing it closer to the shovel, to the face, so that trucks don’t have to travel a long distance to a processing plant outside a mine,” he says. “Conveyors are an integral part of each IPCC system, and they’re the crucial link between primary crushers and spreaders.”Today, single flight conveyors tens of kilometres long can move up to 20,000 t/h at speeds of more than 9 m/s.  Today’s intelligent conveyor designs drastically reduce friction and rolling energy losses. Optimised trough shapes and pronounced curvatures are now common. Higher-quality materials have improved operability and increased the life expectancies of today’s overland conveyors to more than 30 years in some cases, reducing capital and operating costs even further in new mines.Wheeler says conveyor systems offer distinct advantages over truck haulage in efficiency and environment. “Belt conveyors being continuous, rather than a batch transportation system, are used wherever they are technically and economically feasible. With the demand for more and more automated mining operations, belt conveyors have clear advantages.”Overland conveyors can be routed more directly than haulage roads and can effectively traverse grades of up to 20o, while haulage road systems are often limited to less than 5o.  Conveyors carry more material per hour, further and at higher speeds, increasing efficiency and reducing operating costs.Conveyors also offer distinct environmental advantages over trucks. A conveyor belt in the average mine uses one-fifth as much energy as a heavy truck, reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Trucks burn diesel on empty return hauls, while conveyors haul material continuously. Conveyors are also quieter, generate less dust and occupy less land.  Each mine’s operational needs are unique, and Wheeler says different factors should be analysed to determine whether ore might best be transported using belt conveyors, trucks or a combination of the two.Conveyors carry a high cost per metre, and many operations that lack fixed haulage distances will always require the mobility of trucks, he says. Some mines have learned to combine the flexibility of trucks conducting level haulage with the lower operating costs of conveyors for primary haul out of a pit.  “Choosing the appropriate bulk handling system depends on transportation distance, throughput and terrain, among other things,” Wheeler says. “Research has shown belt conveyors are generally more cost-effective on a life-cycle cost basis than both road and rail transport for throughputs up to 5 Mt/y over horizontal conveying distances up to 40 km.”Pit mobilityEquipment mobility is crucial to squeezing that additional 1%-2% of productivity out of a mine operation. This is especially true with selective mining. Chris Friedel, International Sales Manager for TowHaul Corp explains that “nearly 200 TowHaul customers around the globe have achieved this mobility with a TowHaul Lowboy.”“TowHaul pioneered the use of heavy-duty, off-road lowboys for mining more than 20 years ago and so the use of lowboys for improved equipment mobility is nothing new. However, the way lowboys are perceived today has changed greatly. Lowboys used to be seen as a ‘nice to have’ maintenance tool. In the last decade however, more and more clients report that their TowHaul lowboy is a priority one machine onsite for both production and maintenance. This distinction is backed up by the fact that numerous mines have more than one TowHaul lowboy and many are installing the equipment on lower hour and sometimes brand new trucks. Improved equipment availability is at the heart of this shift in perception.“Equipment availability is the crucial aspect of productivity. Having the ability to move a machine from point A to point B in an efficient manner not only increases availability (and therefore productivity) but also reduces the wear and tear on the machine. Mining equipment is designed to move material, not commute.”Equipment mobility is not just limited to moving tracked equipment on a lowboy.  TowHaul features a front loading lowboy that quickly and easily disconnects from the gooseneck so the unit can be used in multiple other configurations. The most popular of these configurations is the TowHaul TowHook Conversion Package, Friedel explains. With this option, mines are able to recover disabled haul trucks for transport back to the shop reducing traffic disruptions, field repairs and overall truck downtime. The gooseneck can be reconfigured for this task at the push of a button. The versatile TowHaul Gooseneck allows a mine operation to convert a single haul truck into a machine that accomplishes many critical onsite tasks safely and efficiently.A front loading trailer itself is simple and effective. With this type of trailer, the full width of the lowboy rests on the ground while loading equipment, providing a wide and stable loading platform for heavy mining machinery, such as a blasthole drill. Coupled with the TowHaul Low Profile Front end, equipment loading is safe and secure while also taking into account the need to have as flat a surface as possible to avoid interference with the drill’s levelling jacks. The single axle design allows the lowboy to turn around in the middle of the haul road without ‘skidding’ the tyres.TowHaul has introduced the first modular offroad lowboy for the industry, he claims. “Shipping costs are a factor when purchasing such a large piece of equipment, as are on-site erection times. The TowHaul Low Profile Modular lowboy eliminates the logistical concerns of getting a lowboy to site while keeping onsite erection times to a minimum. More recently, TowHaul has developed the ‘Oil Sands Configuration’, a lowboy trailer specifically designed to better handle the challenging conditions found in Alberta’s oil sands region.”PHIL rear loading lowboy trailers feature a kingpin hitch, swing out wheels and sloped deck with unified loading ramps. They achieve rear loading in 10 to 25 minutes. Top unit without Jeep and lower with Jeep and optional wheel motorsSpecialist manufacturer Philippi-Hagenbuch offers lowboy trailers for moving large machines around large pits but warns that when considering such a purchase “it’s important to forecast what your mine site environment will look like in 15-20 years.  How large will the haul trucks be at that time? What’s the footprint of the mine and the approximate number of equipment you will have in your mobile fleet?  Below is a checklist of the top things to take into consideration when looking to purchase a lowboy trailer:1. What is the maximum sized piece of equipment you may need to transport? Does this size differ when you forecast equipment sizes in the next 15-20 years?2. How far will the longest haul be within the mine? (Make sure to take into consideration the size it will be in 15-20 years)3. Will you be transporting tracked vehicles?4. How does the loading of tracked vehicles on the lowboy trailer impact undercarriage maintenance?5. How long does it take to load a piece of equipment and start the transport?6.What modifications are needed to the prime mover?7. What’s involved in the installation?8. Which trailer will offer the most versatility, capacity and strength as well as the quickest return on investment?”PHIL notes its new trailer has multiple patents pending, and “we believe it to be substantial enough to change the face of mining.” It features ultra-capacity rear loading.  The trailer gooseneck is firmly attached to the towing tractor, whereas during the loading process the trailer is firmly and positively anchored and does not pose a risk of sliding out from under a piece of equipment while being loaded.The deck angles up as it moves forward towards the towing tractor, defining a very deep section which maximises the ‘beam’ strength of the trailer deck and minimises the lowboy trailer deck weight.The axle up/down mechanism is locked in an ‘over centre’ position while in the transport mode. This technology enables the hydraulic cylinders to have no hydraulic pressure on them during transport, eliminating the concern about the hydraulic cylinders ‘drifting down’.This trailer consists of two completely independent axles each with four tyres. Each axle arrangement will oscillate vertically independent of the other insuring uniform ground contact at all times by all eight trailer tyres. Trailer axles rise up (lowering the deck) and swing outward so that the trailer can be loaded.The width of the lowboy trailer in the transport mode is substantially wider than either the trailer deck or the piece of equipment being transported, which results in much more stable and safe operation. (The width is typically considerably less than normal mine haul road widths).   IM  One-on-One:  A session with a MineSight expert, using your data to develop a tangible model that you can continue to build post QuickStart Data analysis (evaluation & alarm module): Notification by SMS or e-mail, as well as on site signals. Operators found SAFEmine was very helpful in keeping track of light vehicles around heavy equipment Symptoms of fatigue manifest themselves in many forms: drowsiness, slow reaction times, inability to evaluate risk Operators will change their driving behavour to avoid dangerous situations Higher productivity to be achieved through better planning, compliance to plan and transparency of performance With more than 15,000 units installed worldwide in more than 45 mines, “SAFEmine’s traffic awareness and collision avoidance system has become a standard as one of the best proven,” says the company’s Peter Stegmaier.  SAFEmine uses GPS to determine vehicle location, speed and direction of travel and broadcasts this information to other nearby vehicles to increase operator awareness of nearby traffic and potential collisions. It can also operate boom gates and features further options such as voice annunciations, obstacle and overhead power line warnings, and operator identification.“Recently concluded large sales include Albian Oil Sands in Canada, Samarco in Brasil, and Mina Sur in Chile, with major trials underway at large coal, iron ore, gold, and diamond mines, leveraging SAFEmine’s local support in many countries.”At Premier coal mine in Australia where the SAFEmine traffic awareness system has been installed for more than four years, Dean McAllister, Maintenance Superintendent said: “Premier had a more than 50% reduction in metal-to metal contacts within the year following SAFEmine full implementation.” Moreover, McAllister said that the operators trust the system, the maintenance team has found it to be reliable, and the technology has not caused any downtime.The SAFEmine SafetyCentre integrates SAFEmine GPS-based CAS with up to six cameras and radars onto a single touch-screen pertaining to traffic safetyOne of the challenges seen in the modern cab involves the number of displays and alarm sources that require the attention of the operator. At Haulage and Loading 2013, Todd Ruff of SAFEmine USA also described the SafetyCentre System (SCS) that integrates multiple safety technologies into a single, simplified operator interface, de-cluttering the cabin.A single touchscreen colour monitor displays a top view of all surrounding equipment locations with respective identifiers. Multiple camera views are displayed and automatically selected based on direction of motion. Radar detection alarms are digitally integrated into the top view display and on the corresponding camera view and indicate the area where detection occurred. The SCS can also detect motion on camera images. This development has been a co-operation with Kumba Iron Ore’s Sishen mine and Trysome in South Africa and is currently being rolled out on more than 300 haul trucks and 25 shovels at Sishen and Albian Sands, with further mines trialling the SCS.Fatigue managementThe area of fatigue detection and management has become increasingly important as research suggests more than 30% of road fatalities are caused by fatigue, and some reports have suggested fatigue causes more incidents than alcohol. SAFEmine also offers a Personnel Protection System which has shown very good results in a trial of a major tyre handling company and is now being rolled out.SAFEmine is currently testing a predictive fatigue monitoring system which is based on multiple technologies featuring live estimation of an individual fatigue score and integrates with SAFEmine installations into a traffic safety system with consistent interfaces – for the operators in the vehicles as well as in the control room. This Fatigue Monitoring system works on three levels: Early training and operator involvement is essential and a strong site commitment is needed.In Level 2: Collision Avoidance intelligent warnings alert the driver, based on Dynamic Safety Zones Useful tool to increase operator awareness in poor weather, at night, or in the fog Fatigue is a major safety and performance issue Reduced operating variability, higher proportion of planned work leads to safer work.” Real-time tracking and reporting increases value Alerts in control room, in cab, through text message (SMS).Guardvant in-dash Operator Fatigue and Alertness Monitoring system offered by Liebherr as an option. The middle node is the IR camera. The nodes left and right are the IR illuminators. The image also shows the Proximity Awareness and Detection functionality on the built-in display screen available on the Liebherr trucks Technology has the ability to record in a single database the events for both fatigue and proximity and determine correlation. Data management (core server module): Central database on high-performance servers for good data accessibility and security Document management Trial was successful and an additional trial is in progress at Teck’s Carmen de Andacollo mine in Chile. The Bingham Canyon slideOpen pit mines are getting bigger, and as they get deeper, the importance of understanding and controlling slope stability increases. A wall failure can not only lead to safety issues, but also to significant losses due to production interruption and rehabilitation work.An effective slope monitoring system aimed at managing potential large-scale instabilities as well as local scale movements is a critical component for risk management practices in modern open pits. Slope monitoring radar have been extensively exploited for displacement monitoring and alert generation in natural and engineered slopes thanks to the high accuracy, long range capabilities, wide area coverage and opportunistic character of the system (no need for artificial reflectors to be installed on the walls).The Italian radar manufacturer, Ingegneria dei Sistemi IDS, with more than 90 installations in mines all around the world, is helping to define a new standard in safety-critical slope monitoring. The company says its “long record of successfully tracked failures has been possible by the innovative radar technology employed by the IDS IBIS radar. The IBIS system is based on a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) technology which is able to provide the highest spatial resolution at the longest range distanceIDS says its IBIS FM is the most advanced interferometry radar system it has designed, able to “measure mine wall movements, 24 hours a day and 365 days a year, with submillimetre accuracy at great distances, up to 4 km. The radar system provides reliable early warning for progressive slope movements,which potentially lead to failures of mine walls, and can map the long term evolution of slow moving slopes”available on the market, along with the fastest acquisition time.“IBIS-FM is able to measure the entire range of spatial scales of the typical slope instabilities within a pit, from bench scale to overall slope failures passing through multi-bench and interramp scale failures and the entire temporal scale of the slope instabilities, from fast movements (cm/day), to very slow movements (mm/year), becoming a critical component for risk management practices in modern open pit mines. These features enable [the equipment] to fulfil the needs of both safety critical slope monitoring and background monitoring of the largest mines currently in operation. The integration of those two concurrent aims is made still more effective by the employment of the new FPM360 system recently released by IDS. In fact, it extends the capability of critical safety monitoring collecting and managing data from multiple IBIS-FM systems which are displayed stitched together, providing 360° full pit coverage with still the benefits of monitoring resolution from sub-bench to multi-bench failures.”A recent clear example of the IBIS effectiveness for safety critical monitoring in open pit mines is described in the IDS press release showing how its radar system helped Kennecott technical staff to increase mine safety and protect the lives of employees. Following the massive slide which occurred on April 10, Kennecott acknowledged the use of slope monitoring radar at the mine as part of their slope-stability monitoring activities.“According to Kennecott, real-time data received through radar monitoring systems has been used to anticipate areas that have shown movement as well as to assist in short-term and long-term mine planning and to maintain a safe and efficient operation, before and after the slide.”“The radars scan the entire wall constantly, capturing over 380,000 images every four minutes” Ted Himebaugh, General Manager of Integrated Operations at Kennecott told ABC 4 News.IDS is pleased to recognise that these capabilities, unique to the IBIS radar system, have been openly acknowledged by Kennecott for the safety-critical monitoring of the northeast wall in the Bingham Canyon mine. The company says “geotechnical engineers can benefit greatly from the capabilities of modern slope monitoring radar, such as the aforementioned IBIS system, in collecting high resolution images of entire open pit slope faces over a short scanning period and at a long range, far removed from the areas at risk within the mine. These capabilities allow the radar to track the movement history of a mine wall from start to finish, by first detecting initial small movements and accelerations and then detecting the large movements immediately preceding a slope failure. Additionally, this type of system can also provide relevant alerts and alarms based on user defined velocity, acceleration or inverse velocity thresholds.”“Due to their wide area of coverage, two of the three IBIS radar units installed in the pit at Bingham included the northeast wall where the slide occurred and supported the local geotechnical engineers in first detecting the movement in early February. The radar units measured the accelerating trend of the slide in March, indicating the progressive nature of the movement, which, according to Kennecott, reached a velocity value of 2 in/d on April 10, the day of the failure.”Kennecott was aware of the slope movement and had been monitoring this movement for months in advance through a combination of radar, prisms, and geotechnical sensors. By the morning of April 10, all mine personnel had been evacuated from the area surrounding and below the slope that was predicted to fail. The slide occurred at approximately 9:30 pm that evening. This is an excellent example of how a modern slope monitoring program that integrates the most advanced technologies, such as slope monitoring radar, can support the decisionmaking process in relation to an impending slope failure at a large open pit mine such as Bingham Canyon.GroundProbe cites another very interesting example of slope stability monitoring from Indonesia where the geotechnical team at PT Bayan Resources knew there was potential for improved coal recovery at a number of its mines. The location of the coal seams and the adverse geotechnical condition of the open-pit slopes meant that in areas adjacent to unstable sections of the pit the cost of additional overburden removal and the risks of coal extraction outweighed the benefits to production.With declining global coal prices, PT Bayan developed a strategy to address these challenges. The mine undertook a number of pit design changes to economically optimise the coal seam reserves. Ground control systems were installed to enhance mine safety and provide reliable and accurate slope movement data to the geotechnical, mine operations and coal production teams. An upgrade of slope monitoring and reporting systems was carried out at four key mine sites. To maximise coal recovery in unstable pit areas, the GroundProbe Slope Stability Radar (SSR™XT) was deployed.“The deployment of the slope stability systems at our key mine sites has empowered our geotechnical staff to be proactive in the communication of timely, accurate and reliable slide movement information to our mine safety, operations and production teams.” – Warren Tamblyn, Manager Mine Geotechnical Services, PT Bayan.At the Wahana open pit, more than 8,000 t of coal were recovered from the low wall toe area, prior to the cracking, break-up and destruction of the coal seams in the slide mass. 24/7 monitoring with SSR-XT, in combination with Bayan best practice safety procedures, made the coal recovery possible with no injuries or loss of equipment – coal recovery value $1 millionThrough a remote monitoring service, GroundProbe’s Geotechnical Support Services team notified PT Bayan of potential movement on a coal seam floor area. Equipment and personnel were removed from the site and SSRXT was left to monitor. Once the slide movement had stopped, PT Bayan, utilizing best practice mining and safety procedures recovered an additional 45,000 t of coal from the area below the slide mass – coal recovery value $4-5 million.In the highwall area, Melak project in June last year, initial geotechnical assessment showed limited access for mining below the unstable highwall slope. A safety exclusion zone of 30-40 m was recommended, thus restricting coal recovery. The deployment of SSR-XT, allowed mining of the coal seam to continue down to another bench. An additional 12,000-14,000 t in this area of the open cut was recovered – coal recovery value $1-2 million.The new RIEGL VZ-6000 is a high speed, high resolution terrestrial 3D Laser Scanner that offers an extremely long measurement range of more than 6,000 m for topographic (static) applications. It operates well in poor visibility and demanding multi-target situations caused by dust, haze, rain or snow. Being the Laser Class 3B companion to the VZ-4000, it is, due to its laser wavelength, exceptionally well suited for measuring snowy and icy terrain in glacier mapping and monitoring applications in mountainous regions.The VZ-6000 is compatible with the wellproven RIEGL software package RiSCAN PRO for terrestrial laser scanning, RIEGL’s interface library RiVLiB, as well as the workflowoptimising software packages RiMONITOR and RiMINING. The software plugin RiMTA-3D provides automatic assignment of the correct MTA zones in multiple time around processing. RIEGL has also introduced a new airborne laser mapping system – the LMS-Q1560. This, it says “introduces a new era in high altitude airborne mapping. This new ultra high performance, fully integrated airborne laser scanner system within a single, self-contained unit features dual highpowered laser sources, dual optical receivers, and a common mirror built into the system, creating precise and effective data coverage on the ground.” The system has numerous potential applications in both the mineral exploration and brownfield mine arenas.”The LMS-Q1560 can be operated at a maximum pulse repetition rate of 800 kHz providing an effective rate of 530,000 measurements/s on the ground, while operating at the demanding altitudes of such projects.  Range ambiguities due to regularly occurring and sometimes even dramatic terrain elevation changes are automatically resolved by RIEGL’s multiple time around processing software, RiMTA. The software manages up to 10 pulses in the air, simultaneously. This enables the user to do simple flight planning, even for difficult terrain. “The result is safe flight planning and flying, faster project processing and exceptional data quality”, says RIEGL.Using a unique dual channel design – RIEGL has provided “an innovative forward, backward and nadir looking capability in this instrument.” This enables more effective and more accurate high point density data capture from different angles producing the best point spacing on the ground, even in challenging terrain. The LMS-Q1560 system design and calibration provides seamless integration of additional sensors and unprecedented customisation options to the user.”CGG’s SlopeSCAN service provides clients with information on the stability of engineered slopes, on-demand and in near real-time. It uses a versatile terrestrial radar interferometry (TRI) system which is capable of generating high accuracy (sub-millimetre) displacement measurements at long distances (up to 10 km) and across a wide field-of-view (up to 360°)Optionally, other sensors may be easily integrated; an IMU, a medium format aerial camera and the capability for a secondary IR camera to complete the system. With all these individual components integrated into one single instrument of compact design, suited for gyro-stabilised levelling mounts, the system installation is “simple and straight-forward.”For 20 years, Soldata, a French company with subsidiaries around the globe, has pioneered sensor-based monitoring systems for use in tunnelling, beginning with work on the London Underground Jubilee line. Since Soldata first began demonstrating the value of real-time monitoring in tunnel construction, its importance has become very widely recognised – by insurance companies as well as the contractors actually doing the construction work.But there’s another important innovation that has helped bring the 40 major tunnel construction projects Soldata have monitored to completion without incident: integration. The company believes using an integrated sensor data management platform significantly increases the effectiveness of all monitoring systems, delivers more reliable information and leads to better and timelier decisions.Soldata says that in slope-stability monitoring “only a combination of different technologies can provide a global understanding of the situation. However, data from these monitoring systems, their analysis and alarms are often managed on an individual basis. Those multiple isolated systems with less than optimal data storage or management could create inefficient and possibly ineffective analysis of data. This often results in a system of multiple non-interfaced alarm criteria.”At Codelco’s Chuquicamata copper mine in Chile, by effectively transforming the slopestability monitoring of one of the world’s largest open-pit mines on the planet, Soldata’s integrated sensor data management system, Geoscope™, has proved its value after being adapted from its application in tunnelling to play an equally crucial role in mining.Geoscope in the integrated monitoring centre of ChuquicamataWhereas Codelco had previously used a combination of independent monitoring systems that generated data in a number of different forms from around the site, Geoscope has streamlined the whole process.  As Eric Audigé, the MD of Soldata Oceania, explains, “We translate raw data into useable information that allows operators to take decisive action when it’s needed. Our system cross-analyses geotechnical, surface or structural and environmental data from any type of sensors in real-time and provides unequalled situation awareness and insights.”One of the key differences of the Geoscope system Soldata set up for Chuqui compared to those used in other industries is that it includes slope stability radar in the same platform as geotechnical sensor data (prisms, piezometer, extensometer, visual inspections…) and crossanalyses the whole package.  Generating the bulk of data, radars are notoriously hard to integrate with other sensors and manage efficiently, so its incorporation represents a real breakthrough.The integration of data from such diverse sources means that all findings can be instantly cross-correlated, massively reducing the risk of false alarms. Also virtual sensors are created to take into account mine-specific factors or provide better insights.Under the previous complex of individual systems, a reading from a single sensor could trigger an alarm. The Geoscope system gathering and processing all data on a single platform not only streamlines the operations but most of all allows for developing alarm strategies based on multiple technologies with cross correlation of alarm validity. If there is a potential problem, its location can also be pinpointed more precisely by comparing data from multiple sources from the same vicinity before confirming critical movement, Soldata says.Easy standardisation of procedures, data security and accuracy are also the benefits of an integrated approach, allowing users to focus on investigation and remediation.“Now that the Chuqui example has shown the way, similar off-the-shelf integrations are on their way to increase the safety and efficiency of mining operations in Australia and the rest of the world,” Audigé explains.  “By drawing on new technologies that have already been ‘road-tested’ in other, comparable industries, miners can avoid the possible teething troubles associated with introducing new technologies in critical areas.”Reutech says “the MSR system, with its 1.2 m dish antenna, is the only slope radar system that is capable of resolving a 15 m bench failure at its full operating distance”Reutech recently delivered the first (Movement and Surveying Radar) MSR 060 series in South America. The system was received by the local distributor CLONSA, and is being demonstrated to a number of prominent clients mining in the Andean region prior to delivery to the first client.  Reutech says “the highly mobile and adaptable modular MSR 060 series affords the user the option to customise their optimum solution for their specific conditions. The compact MSR 060 with its operating range of up to 600 m is ideally suited for mines which require close-range observations with critical real-time monitoring.“When fitted to the back of a vehicle, the high mobility combined with the reliability and accuracy of MSR technology will allow this model to fill an essential requirement, indicated by various mining set-ups globally. The system is extremely robust and a valuable addition to the existing MSR series.  With these new specifications as well as a plethora of customisable options, the MSR 060 still has all the features, functionality and high reliability that the global Reutech Mining family has grown accustomed to.”The MSR product range is designed to operate in harsh mining environments. The systems provide highly accurate, real-time, all weather surveying and slope movement measurements using state-of-the-art radar and surveying technology.  Measurements are fully geo-referenced to an accuracy that allows seamless integration with standard Digital Terrain Mapping (DTM) tools.  The simultaneous execution of stability and surveying measurements, combined with the high-speed external data links for remote operation, and extremely high reliability, makes the MSR range of products extremely useful as an essential real-time mining safety, planning and productivity improvement tool.3D Laser Mapping’s SiteMonitor is being used to monitor the north, east and south face of LaQuinua pit at Newmont Mining’s Yanacocha mine. The system, which is located in a custom built enclosure to provide protection against the heavy rain and thunderstorms prevalent in the region, remotely collects sub-centimetre accurate measurements around the clock. The data is wirelessly transmitted to an onsite central server where surveyors and geotechnical engineers can track movements in the wall to predict where and when a fall may occur.Elexon Mining, a world leader in tracking ore movement in underground mining, is now exploring a next-generation of Networked Smart Markers that has potential to be used in open pit mining, to measure in-ground deformation in slopes.  Elexon says: “Currently, available systems do not give the full picture of what is happening in the depth of the walls in an open pit mine, which is where structural failures could be developing. Elexon’s new solution will target inground deformation monitoring with the Networked Smart Marker System. This solution will enable open pit mines to achieve greater control over slope stability, and therefore mine in a safer and more efficient manner.”For many years DMT has contributed significantly to geodetic, geotechnical and geophysical monitoring in hazardous environments through its numerous geomonitoring projects. To process and analyse the extensive measurement data from various measuring instruments and sensors, the company has developed a hardware and software solution which stores and analyses all gathered data in such a way that it’s available for sharing.DMT SAFEGUARD is a modular system for safe and reliable risk assessment of slope stability in mining as well as the monitoring of subsidence and sinkholes in former mining areas. It includes the following functions:  Follow ups:  Mintec will guide you through additional workflows and make sure Atlas is delivering early results on site. In the same presentation, Todd Ruff, Business Development manager – North America, SAFEmine Technology USA reported: Data collection (data port module): Integration of heterogeneous data from a variety of sources (geodesy, geophysics,geotechnical engineering, hydrology, integration of image and video data) The Guardvant Mobile Server (GMS) – onboard computer – supports OpGuard, ProxGuard and pulls in data from other applications, like machine health, biometric systems and fire suppression systems.  Capehart summarises: Speeding events were drastically reduced due to SAFEmine speeding alarms Continuous reporting on overall fatigue situation “The data from the complex monitoring network is consistently merged, saved centrally and securely managed, while simultaneously displaying up-to-date results to numerous users via web-view”, says Project Manager Karsten Zimmermann. DMT SAFEGUARD is designed as a SaaS solution (software as a service). DMT says it “will gradually be enhanced with additional project-specific functions.”Mine planningMine planners can now benefit from the newly released MineSight Atlas from Mintec. This is a complete package for manual scheduling and stockpile management. It provides a resourcebased, true calendar approach to scheduling, and manages all material movement and reclaim. It works with multiple block models and makes mine areas for open pit and underground mining easy to manage. It integrates seamlessly with MineSight 3D, MineSight Reserve and MineSight Haulage and has profound implications for both open pit and underground operations, the company reports.“It has been two years in the making, but Atlas’s impact will be felt for far longer,” said Mintec Vice President-Technical, Glenn Wylde.  “There’s nothing else like it on the market.  Everything is new, and we’ve built it with functionality and usability in mind.” Mine planning engineers can use Atlas for the following:  Manual scheduling for short to long-term schedules; Resource-based scheduling; Multiple activity types; Calendar-based schedule with Gantt representation; Direct 3D design of polygons and solids.   Atlas has already made an impression on MineSight clients in previews at Mintec’s MineQuest seminar series.“MineSight Atlas looks like a fantastic tool,” said Justin Watson of Australia’s Xstract Mining Consultants. “The culmination of a number of separate engineering tools into a single userfriendly package is a great enhancement.”Abel Puerta of Peruvian company Hochschild Mining agrees. “Atlas seems to me like a necessity,” said Puerta. “Integrating the different parts … or programs into just one to make it more robust, reduces training time and makes the product more complete because you have all of those tools at your fingertips.”MineSight clients interested in the new product can now shorten their learning curve with QuickStart MineSight Atlas, a streamlined approach to training. The service includes the following: Central analytics server with common systems databaseGuardvant’s ProxGuard Proximity Awareness and Object Detection System screen. The frontright camera is prioritised because the pedestrian just walked into the area and was detected by the radar. The other areas around the truck are also shown with detected objects and approximate distance shown by the LED indicators OpGuard – operator fatigue and distraction monitoring Also at the Austmine meeting John McGagh, Rio Tinto’s Head of Technology and Innovation, explained that Rio is “in the process of deploying the world’s largest autonomous haulage platform. We have two mines operating today on the autonomous haulage platform and will commission a third before the end of 2013.“We have moved 100 Mt with our autonomous haul fleets since we started the trials in late 2008, in addition close to 300 operational people have been trained on the technology. At current rates we should move our next 100 Mt during Q4 2014, depending upon new mine commissioning schedule this could be much sooner.From its purpose built operations centre located adjacent to Perth Airport Rio operates some 14 mines, all rail and port infrastructure plus power and water distribution systems.“Rio Tinto Iron Ore now possess unsurpassed experience on how to operate this type of facility. We have not rested on our laurels with the operations centre, we have turned our minds to increasing the efficiency and productivity that we can gain from these facilities, importantly, we have built into our operations centre many of the philosophies of human systems engineering.“We believe the next generation of operations centre efficiencies will come from the seamless integration of the people who oversee and command these facilities with innovative systems design that makes the human interaction seamless. Our operations centre experience is going from strength to strength providing a capability that grows to support our expanding business needs.”McGagh then introduced Rio Tinto’s new excellence centre. “The excellence centre facility went live this year and we are now able to interconnect, in near real-time, operational data on from large complex facilities; using this we model, analyse and optimise the performance of chosen processes irrespective of where they are situated anywhere on the globe.“The excellence centre brings together hundreds if not thousands of man years of discrete process expertise by way of embedded computer models; it houses experts into one place and links these assets with the operations in real-time. It is also a critical training engine for our technical people.”Another Austmine speaker was Mark Rexin, Production Systems Manager, Leighton Contractors, who discussed his company’s use of iVolve technology to gather real-time data. He recommended talking to “all levels of your team to find out what they really want and determine what they really need. Try your best to deliver both.”Leighton has established real-time dig rate feedback in supervisor vehicles. This uses a Trimble Supervisor Tablet or ruggedised PC, with several iVolve dashboards to choose from. The system allows supervisors to see true rates based upon truck weights. One Senior Supervisor commented: “It’s great to be able to see the real time dig rates and be able to change the digging area, dig procedure, or process and watch the result that you have just implemented.”Recovering the satellitesNeptec Technologies, a spin-out of Neptec Design Group, an award-winning space flight technology company and NASA Prime Contractor, has introduced its new OPAL-360 series of obscurant-penetrating 3D laser scanners to the industry.“OPAL-360 represents the first step in Neptec’s broader strategy to adapt over 20 years of technology innovation for clients such as NASA and the Canadian Space Agency for commercial use on Earth,” said Paul Nephin, Chairman and Founder of Neptec. “It clearly demonstrates the value of government investment in space innovations that can be adapted successfully to commercial markets such as mining.”Neptec Technologies says “its rugged, multipurpose 360 LiDar sensors are uniquely suited for autonomous off-road vehicles and robotics applications in harsh environments, as well as more conventional survey, mapping and monitoring tasks. Unlike conventional laser scanners, OPAL scanners can see through obscurants such as dust, smoke or fog and are packaged to withstand the physical abuse they will be subjected to in applications in mining.”The OPAL-360 is environmentally sealed (IP67) with no externally moving parts, has a – 40 to +65 degree (celcius) operating temperature range, and is ruggedised to withstand significant vibration and shock levels. “It delivers an unprecedented combination of range, data density, acquisition  speed and obscurant penetrating capability.  Different versions in the OPAL-360 series support ranges of 400 m out to 3 km at accuracies of 1 cm and data acquisition rates of up to 200,000 points/s.In real-time applications such as autonomous navigation or monitoring, it’s not about collecting and processing millions of data points per second but about collecting the right amount of 3D data that contains the actionable information you really need.The company says “OPAL sensors collect 3D data in 360o in seconds using a unique, nonoverlapping scan pattern and can adjust the amount of data being collected in real-time under software control – from sparse to high resolution – without relying on vehicle movement to fill in those ‘data gaps’. They are compatible with Neptec’s 3DRi (3D Real-time intelligence) software toolkit, which includes ‘out-of-the-box’ features such as automatic change detection, automatic scan alignment, and object recognition and tracking. OPAL and 3DRi products make it easy to integrate optimised 3D machine vision solutions and reduce development and life cycle costs.”Mike Sekerka, Chief Operating Officer at Neptec Technologies consider full machine automation to be the long-term goal in mining, but “there are many immediate opportunities to improve safety and productivity with intelligent 3D vision applications that assist the operator and reduce workload. We’re already working with clients in the mining sector to define such applications for excavators and haul trucks using our OPAL and 3DRi ‘building blocks’ to provide practical solutions for the industry.”Dave Goddard, Portfolio Manager, Intelligent Machine Solutions, Leica Geosystems Mining explains that the satellite problem with machine guidance systems that require high precision GNSS positioning to provide robust 3D positioning is being solved. The problem is that the machines need at least four satellites and good DOP (Dilution of Precision) for X, Y, Z axes resolution and time. Augmentation systems can solve the problem. Leica Geosystems has partnered with Locata to deliver augmentation products exclusively to the mining industry to at least October 2014.Locata has invented a ground-breaking radio positioning system that is equivalent to a GNSS positioning constellation but is ground-based instead of satellite-based. It is believed to be the world’s first radiolocation technology which replicates GPS in a ‘local’, rather than a ‘global’, area and has been granted 94 patents around Locata’s core IP – TimeLoc™. This allows localarea ultra high-precision time synchronisation of LocataLite transceivers to within ±3 nanoseconds.This delivers a new and previously unattainable level of positioning reliability in areas where GNSS-only positioning is unreliable, Goddard explains. This has resulted in improvements from 75.3% to 98.7% in availability over a GNSS-only systems (maintaining RTK accuracy).So, LocataLite networks are established in areas with GPS availability issues. The signals must be line of sight, so the shape of the pit needs to be considered, and edge obstructions avoided. The LocataLites need to be above the receivers. Leica’s Jps receiver is the world’s first GNSS and Locata rover. The system was described in detail in IM, September 2012, pp68-79.  One result has been a 6.5% improvement in daily drill positioning daily (almost an extra two hours). In two months on two drills, this equated to 4.7 days or nearly 113 hours of additional guidance – worth a lot of operating profit.  One of Goddard’s conclusions is that Leica Jps “has tremendous potential to improve positioning availability and safety for autonomous vehicles, during solar storms, etc.”Thiess and Automated Positioning Systems (APS) say they “have set a new world standard for machine guidance system application, working together to place one of the most advanced GNSS based Machine Guidance Systems available on one of the world’s largest hydraulic excavators, the Leibherr 9800, at Thiess’ Lake Vermont operations in Queensland, Australia.Thiess worked with Leibherr to develop the 9800 hydraulic excavator to further improve its production capabilities.  “Thiess has been working with APS solutions on a number of our Australian mine sites. We first used APS software guidance systems in 2003 on machines at our Collinsville mine operations and since then its sophistication has evolved significantly.  When we collaborated with Leibherr to develop the 9800 to meet our production needs, we knew the APS mineAPS™ Excavator system was the best guidance solution for it,” explains Michael Wright, Executive General Manager Australian Mining, Thiess.APS develops its systems to be both flexible and scalable, ensuring they are providing the next generation of mine operations and production management solutions. The open configuration of the mineAPS Excavator system installed on the 9800 ensured the exact geometry of the machine could be put into the mineAPS software, enabling accurate modelling of the machine. The high precision capabilities of the system provide improved mining productivity through accurate measurement of the bucket position relative to the target cutting point. The movement and exact position of the excavator and bucket is made visible to the operator via a high quality LCD screen. The safety of the operator is also increased with the built in Proximity Warnings and Fixed Hazard Warnings, vastly improving the situational awareness. The current operator activity, machine status and the geo location of the machine is visible to site manager or supervisor for better management of the machine utilisation.“The application is a great example of the scalability of our mineAPS systems to new machines types and sizes. We strive to ensure our systems and our support are second to none and we will continue developing our solutions to take mine operations and production management to the next level,” explains Dush Wimal, CEO, APS.Traffic controlSolarOne designs and manufactures sustainable safety guidance systems that are used to delineate haul roads to minimise the risk of collisions. The original request for the products came from BHP Billiton for its West Australian open-pit mines.  SolarOne eliminates safety and health issues to do with the recent needs of some open pits to operate after dark to help raise productivity.  Those mines are characterised by their remoteness, extreme temperatures, presence of toxic chemicals and, often, stressful operating conditions, such that roadways that are continually being recreated. So, it is difficult to provide safety guidance, or delineation, particularly using conventional technology.The result is FrontLiner and SolarOne’s Hugh Mitchell explains “the issues that we sought to overcome include durability, functionality, sustainability and reliability. To meet these challenges, the core-technology uses highly efficient, easily installed, industrial quality, photovoltaic-sustained, high-power LED, encased in extremely durable, advanced nylon plastic housingthat are so tough that they are unbreakable with a sledge hammer. Super capacitors that outlast batteries by many years result in a product that requires virtually zero maintenance for over ten years. The lights are visible for over 500 m from a 5 m high ore carrier’s cabin and format and functionality are selected to suit the placement indicating; hazards, roadway conditions and roadway directions.In Level 1: Traffic Awareness, SAFEmine display indicates surrounding vehicles (360º), no blind spots. Several vehicles are displayed simultaneously.There was a trial of the SAFEmine traffic awareness and collision avoidance system on surface mining machines and light vehicles at Teck’s Line Creek Operations in British Columbia in 2012. A six-week trial was designed to evaluate the effectiveness of SAFEmine in increasing traffic safety. Online real-time tracking of vehicles along with vehicle status reports were also demonstrated. Data was analysed regarding alarms associated with speeding, close vehicle interactions and potential collisions. The performance of customised alarming schemes for specific interactions, e.g., trucks with loaders, was also analysed.Teck’s feedback, reported by Tarn Medinski, Teck ART (Applied Research and Technology) Engineer at the Haulage and Loading 2013 conference, Phoenix, May 2013: ProxGuard – proximity awareness and object detection Data visualisation (web-view module):  Online user portal for data presentation with interactive web GIS maps  Guardvant’s John Capehart explains that the mining industry has “become much more focused on the issue of fatigue.” Consideration is being given to the problems of 12 hour, rotating shifts; working against the Circadian Rhythm and significant commute times to remote locations.Guardvant’s operator fatigue monitoring and collision avoidance systems uses advanced technologies to help improve operator performance, create a more productive working environment, and protect assets. The company adopts a customer-centric approach to deliver operator fatigue monitoring and collision avoidance systems for specific applications.OpGuard is a non-intrusive operator fatigue and distracted driver monitoring system that can integrate with ProxGuard, a collision avoidance system that uses radar, cameras, and GPS for proximity awareness and object detection.  Integrating OpGuard and ProxGuard addresses two leading causes of accidents: operator fatigue and blind spots.Both systems can be integrated on a reliable, multi-functional mobile hardware platform which can accommodate other mining technologies, such as fleet management or equipment health monitoring.  SecurityGuard is security monitoring network with remote access and alerts. All three can be combined for comprehensive safety and security solutions.In the case of mobile equipment, he suggests watching for bent ladders, scraped paint, broken mirrors and cut tyres – they can be strong signs of the results of fatigue.  In southern Africa, he says, “GuardVant has just installed the first ever integrated fatigue monitoring and proximity detection system.” It features: Guardvant has developed technology to assist drivers with both fatigue and proximity  Training with Mintec data:  Leave with a workbook and data for future referencelast_img read more

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first_imgThe impending release of the Samsung Galaxy S4 left many owners of the current generation Galaxy smartphone wondering if the upgrade was worth it. Now not only do they have a difficult choice to make, but a recent price drop on the S3 makes it difficult for buyers to decide as well.Despite being a fairly impressive piece of hardware, coupled with a wealth of new features, there’s more than a couple of people in the world today asking whether or not it is worth spending the extra for a Galaxy S4 when they already own a Galaxy S3. After all, it’s not as though the S3 feels at all sluggish or lacking, and it’s already been made clear that the S3 is going to be getting a software update when the next version of Android is available.If you’re alright with a little bit of wait, are you really missing out on enough to justify the extra expense for the $250 GS4? This problem doesn’t apply exclusively to current Samsung owners either, and now that the price of the Galaxy S3 has dropped to make room for the S4 the choice is about to get harder.If you’re not a part of T-Mobile’s new UNcarrier movement, there’s about to be $100 added to the list of reasons you should stop and consider whether or not you really need a Galaxy S4. Much in the same way Apple users have to decide whether they need the next version of the iPhone every year, Samsung owners now find themselves needing to choose. If you know the right questions to ask, however, it’s still more than a bargain to pre-order a Galaxy S4 on a new contract as opposed to a Galaxy S3. The increased performance and battery life coupled with the impressive new 1080p screen in your hand will be enough to help you make that decision, all you’ve got to do is hold the two phones side by side and try to do a few basic things and you’ll see the difference.That’s the point, at the end of the day; if you’re tied into an existing contract because of the Galaxy S3, it’s not worth paying the $600+ for a Galaxy S4 just to stay in your contract. If you’re due for a new contract, or very nearly due, it is probably worth paying for the new Galaxy S4 over the Galaxy S3.last_img read more

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first_imgThe approval by the Greek Parliament on Wednesday of the medium-term fiscal strategy programme was an important first step toward resolving its long-term economic woes, the acting head of the International Monetary Fund told a press conference in Washington. John Lipsky, the IMF’s acting managing director, said that the package of reforms voted upon “was not austerity so much as it was an important, ambitious structural reform. The debt and deficit are really symptoms of the competitiveness problem.” Lipsky said that Greece needs to “eliminate the crippling inefficiencies” in its economy, even as it moves to put its finances back in order and reduce its debt.Source: Athens News Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img

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first_img Turks and Caicos in serious talks with Panama for Tourism & Health relations Obama now in Jamaica Obama coming to the Caribbean on business Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Related Items:cable and wireless communications, Grupo Sonitel, Laurie Bowen, Panama, TMT Deal of the Year for the Americas Recommended for you Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppNovember 28, 2014 (Cable & Wireless Press Release) – Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) has won the TMT Deal of the Year for the Americas Award (2014) for the acquisition of Grupo Sonitel. Earlier in August, Cable & Wireless Business Solutions through their subsidiary, Cable & Wireless Panama, S.A., acquired the Panama-based Grupo Sonitel for US$36 million plus a contingency sum of US$5 million.The deal is considered a strategic move by the telecoms business as it brings together Cable & Wireless’ expansive networks, connectivity expertise, and customer scale with Grupo Sonitel’s end-to-end managed services and solutions, designed to create a market-leading proposition for business and government customers. Additionally, with IT services now added to its data and telecoms offering for businesses and governments, this deal has opened the door for CW Business Solutions to enter and serve new markets such as El Salvador, Peru, and Nicaragua. Laurie Bowen, CEO of Cable & Wireless Business Solutions said: “We are very pleased to receive this recognition that acknowledges our commitment to grow our business and government capabilities in support of the growing needs of our customers. This award is also a testament to the hard work and dedication of our team and their unwavering commitment to better serve our customers.”The TMT Deal of the Year for the Americas is awarded by the AI Group Media Ltd, conceptualizers of the award and publishers of Acquisition International, The Voice of Corporate Finance, and Deal Feed International – Your Daily M&A. Each year the Awards Committee conducts analyses of the market and identifies prominent players and key deals which are announced around the globe. The committee assessed more than twenty thousand deals covering a wide cross section of sectors and regions. Cable & Wireless Business Solutions’ acquisition of the Panama based “Grupo Sonitel” emerged as the winner of the award in the category of TMT Deal of the Year.ABOUT CABLE & WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS (CWC)Cable & Wireless Communications is a full-service communications business operating in 16 countries throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. We operate four leading Business Units: Cable and Wireless Panama, LIME, (Caribbean excluding The Bahamas), BTC (The Bahamas) and Seychelles. CWC offers mobile, broadband, TV, domestic and international fixed line services in most of our markets. CWC also provides premium data centre hosting, telecoms, managed network services and custom IT Service Solutions to businesses and governments through its new unit, Cable & Wireless Business. CWC is a partner in the largest undersea cable network in the Caribbean and Latin America, spanning more than 42,000 kilometres and serves 42 countries across North, Central and South America and the Caribbean enabling connectivity-based solutions for wholesale and enterprise customers. Our mission is to grow customer relationships and lifetime value by delivering an unparalleled customer experience. We are the market leader in most products we offer and territories we serve. In 2014, the company formed the Cable & Wireless Business Solutions unit to bring the necessary focus to its business and government customers’ needs and to drive the required investment in networks and capabilities. For more information visit www.cwc.com.last_img read more

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first_imgThe crowd for the second Couvapalooza music festival was about five times larger than the first, but the annual show still has a ways to go before it breaks even.About 1,500 people attended the Aug. 17 all-day event, which had 16 bands, including headliner Everclear, on two stages at the Clark College campus.There’s still a lot of work to be done to build the festival, but organizers Heidi Hahn-Troxler and her husband Michael Troxler are calling it a success.“It went really well,” Hahn-Troxler said. “It ran very, very smoothly.”The event, which cost about $50,000 to put together this year, is a fundraiser for Clark County school music programs. Since it didn’t break even, the Troxlers are donating $1,000 each to the La Center Music Foundation, Hockinson School District, Battle Ground Band Boosters, Bridges Northwest and the Clark College Foundation, they said.Despite losing money, the couple said they plan to keep going and are dedicated to using the event to support music in Clark County schools.“I’m really excited for next year,” Hahn-Troxler said. “I’m excited that we had Everclear play. We’re already lining up some of our headline bands for next year.”last_img read more

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first_imgBOSTON, MA — Attorney General Maura Healey announced Wednesday a series of settlements with seven different nursing homes to resolve allegations of systemic failures at their facilities that endangered nursing home residents.The AG’s Office investigated reports of substandard care or regulatory violations at nursing homes based on complaints referred by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH). The AG’s Office found that these facilities had systemic issues that directly led to the death, injury or potential injury to nursing home residents.“Every nursing home resident deserves to live in a safe environment, with dignity and access to high-quality care,” said AG Healey. “These settlements hold facilities accountable and will help restore the trust families need when making critical decisions about the care of their loved ones.”“The Department of Public Health monitors the health and safety of residents in long-term care facilities throughout Massachusetts,” said Department of Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH. “We will continue to investigate complaints of substandard care or violations to ensure that individuals residing in nursing homes are receiving high quality care.”Woodbriar Health Center, of Wilmington, was among those nursing homes that agreed to a settlement with the AG’s Office. The recoveries obtained pursuant to the settlement will be split between a fund administered by DPH to improve the safety and quality of care provided in long-term care facilities and the state’s General Fund.Synergy Health Centers, owner of the Woodbriar Health Center, has settled allegations that a resident fell from a mechanical lift while being transferred by only one certified nurse aide, and that staff miscommunicated regarding the resident’s X-ray results, such that her physician did not learn of her serious injuries in a timely fashion. The resident died thereafter, and the fall, failures of communication, and delay in care were substantial contributing factors to her death.Synergy, also the owner of the Braemoor Health Center, has also settled allegations that nursing home staff there failed to attempt to resuscitate a resident when he became non-responsive during feeding, and then failed to timely report the death to DPH. The AG’s Office also alleges that the facility failed to ensure its nursing staff had adequate resuscitative training.Synergy will pay between $100,000 to $200,000 to resolve the AG’s allegations against both Woodbriar and Braemoor. Synergy, and the company’s two owners, Avi Lipschutz and Dov Newmark, have agreed not to participate in federal or state government health care programs in Massachusetts for the next seven years. Currently, Woodbriar Heath Center is in the process of being sold, and Braemoor Health Center is closed.Members of the public who are aware of similar practices by other nursing homes or health care providers should call the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Division at (617) 963-2360 or file a complaint through DPH’s website.These matters were handled by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Division, which is led by Division Chief Toby R. Unger. Assistant Attorneys General Kevin Lownds, Ian Marinoff, Jay McCormack, Ali Russo, and Anthony Vargas, Investigators Christine Baker, Erica Schlain, Mirlinda Sejdiu, April Waterhouse, and Ruth Zeltzer, and Victim Witness Advocate Amber Anderson participated in the investigation and negotiation of these settlements.(NOTE: The above modified press release is from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedWilmington’s Woodbriar Health Center SOLD To Pointe Group CareIn “Business”Lender To Cancel $1.6 Million In Loans Made To Former ITT Tech Students At Wilmington & Norwood CampusesIn “Government”Health Agency With Wilmington Ties Agrees To $14 Million Settlement Over Improper Medicaid BillingIn “Government”last_img read more

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first_imgAdvocates for kids warn livestreaming apps can be “a hunting ground” for child abusers. Reggie Casagrande / Getty Images Popular video and livestreaming apps like TikTok are under fire from children’s charities in the UK. “We know that a significant amount of children are being contacted via popular livestreaming apps, such as TikTok, by abusers who are using them as a hunting ground,” a spokesperson for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) said this weekend.The NSPCC said it surveyed 40,000 schoolchildren and discovered that 25 percent of the children had livestreamed with a stranger. One in 20 children were asked, while livestreaming or in the comments of a posted video, to take their clothes off, according to NSPCC. TikTok requires users to be at least age 13 to use the app, but it has no way to ensure the user is telling the truth. Several UK schools have warned parents about the app, reported the Mirror on Saturday. Barnardo’s, a prominent UK children’s charity, reported it’s seeing kids as young as 8 years old being sexually exploited online. “It’s helpful when schools share information with parents about potential risks online,” Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan said. “Children need to hear consistent messages at home and at school about how to stay safe. We also encourage parents to have open and honest conversations with their children about which sites they are using and who they are speaking to online — as well as making sure they have the right security settings in place.”In addition to sexually abusive comments, searches on TikTok showed content that appears to promote eating disorders and self-harmTikTok didn’t immediately have a response when reached for comment. Mobile Mobile Apps Now playing: Watch this: Tags 2 5 ways to set parental controls in the YouTube Kids app Comments Share your voice 2:03last_img read more

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first_img 2020 Hyundai Palisade review: Posh enough to make Genesis jealous 2020 Kia Telluride review: Kia’s new SUV has big style and bigger value 2020 BMW M340i review: A dash of M makes everything better Now playing: Watch this: More From Roadshow General Motors Jeep SUVs Electric Cars Car Industry 2007 New York auto show: Hummer H2 and H3 2006 Hummer H3center_img Share your voice Enlarge ImageLooking back at the Hummer H2, it’s kind of hard to see why it went away in the first place, right? Barcroft Media General Motors killed off the Hummer brand back in 2010 for lots of reasons, but increasingly stringent fuel economy requirements coupled with skyrocketing gas prices were high among them. Now though, according to a Bloomberg report Monday, GM may be considering reviving the brand.Here’s the catch, if resurrected, Hummer would likely be a luxury electric truck and SUV brand that could compete with the likes of Rivian or Tesla’s long-promised pickup truck. On the surface of things, an electrified Hummer seems weird, but in the long term, it makes a fair bit of sense.First, turning the image of the brand around — from being a gas-guzzling sign of excess into the cutting edge of GM’s plans for an electric future is a narrative that people can get behind. The brand’s famously boxy and utilitarian style would still work today — look at the Jeep Gladiator or the Mercedes G-Wagen. If GM decides to go through with bringing the Hummer brand back, it likely won’t be for quite a while. Currently, the brand is working on a next-generation battery electric platform for its smaller vehicles that it’s calling BEV3. A larger, truck-size platform will likely come after that, and we’d expect to see electric models from extant GM brands before the company starts to dig into its back catalog.GM representatives didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. 4 Photos Comments Tags 1:06 2last_img read more

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first_imgSharma noted that given the “distressed nature of the circumstances” and other factors, he expects the valuation of the three hotels to drop below $1.34 billion.”Consequently, the current valuation of these properties has also suffered. By conservative estimates the three offshore properties could be worth as little as $700 million and by best efforts basis as much as $1.67 billion collectively,” he said.Sahara’s AngerSahara India had seen a saviour in Saransh Sharma, as it struggles to come up with the required ₹10,000 crore bail amount to secure its chief Subrata Roy, who is behind bars for almost a year now, over failure to abide by market regulator SEBI’s directive to return the funds collected under a bond issuance scheme, later deemed illegal.Both Sahara India and Sharma have been at each other’s throat; while Sahara has threatened legal action against Sharma, he in turn has accused Sahara of reneging on the (hotel properties) deal and sought “formal apology.” Sahara India and US-based Mirach Capital are unlikely to cut the Gordian knot in the near future after Mirach’s latest claim that Sahara’s three overseas hotels can fetch a maximum of $1.67 billion, which is far below current market prices.The three luxury properties – The Plaza and Dream Downtown in New York, and Grosvenor House in London, were bought by Sahara in 2010-2012 for about $1.55 billion. Experts feel the properties are worth more than $2.2 billion, after factoring in market appreciation.  The Plaza, partly owned by the Sahara GroupReutersEven as both sides fight each other, it is learnt that Mirach, led by Saransh Sharma, has reached out to Sahara India to revive the deal and said it was open to remitting the funds directly to Bank of China, the original lender who financed the Sahara hotel takeover deal, and possesses a lien on the property, reports PTI.Sharma had earlier structured a $2 billion financing agreement with Sahara. He produced a letter purportedly written by Bank of America to prove availability of funds. However, the bank dissociated itself from the transaction and denied having issued any letter verifying the existence of Mirach’s account with the bank. Sahara later said that the letter was forged.Full Buyout TransactionSharma has said he was willing to complete a total buyout of the three properties, under revised terms and reportedly agreed to deposit money directly with Bank of China, from which Sahara India has taken a loan.  While he had initially claimed the three properties hold an enterprise value of $1.67 billion, he revised the figure down to $1.39 billion, based on Sahara’s ownership of equity. last_img read more

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first_imgIndian start-ups are increasingly resorting to layoffs and partially closing down their businesses amid intense competition, rising costs and pressure by investors to show profitability.Hyperlocal delivery start-up PepperTap is the latest to join online food-ordering start-ups TinyOwl and Foodpanda, rival Groffers and real estate services portal Housing.com that have downsized operations and laid-off people recently.Gurgaon-based PepperTap has shut down its operations in six cities and will now confine its business to Delhi, Noida, Pune, Hyderabad, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon, Bangalore and Faridabad.The six cities where the company is closing down its operations are Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Jaipur.While PepperTap was non-committal on the impact its most recent move will have on employees, media reports said that the start-up will be laying off about 400 delivery men employed on contractual basis in the six cities.The development is the latest in a series of similar steps taken by Groffers, TinyOwl, Foodpanda, TinyOwl and Housing.com that have restructured operations in view of persisting growth worries around the world.PepperTap currently has staff strength of about 2,500 people and the company has raised $47 million till date, including $36 million in Series B funding from Snapdeal, Sequoia India, SAIF Partners and new investors Ru-net (of Russia), JAFCO of (Japan) and BeeNext between September and December last year, the company said in a statement.Navneet Singh, CEO of PepperTap, in a response put the decision to downsize operations in a cryptic way.”Given the short to mid-term investment climate outlook, we have decided to focus on depth rather than breadth,” he said in the statement.PepperTap is run by Nuvo Logistics Pvt Ltd and was founded by Navneet Singh and Milind Sharma. It commenced operations in November 2014.Mumbai-based TinyOwl cut 112 jobs in November last year, three months after laying off 160 people two months earlier, apparently to cut costs.Foodpanda India was reported to have cut nearly 500 jobs and shut down delivery operations in six cities in December last year.Online housing portal Housing.com cut more than 1,000 jobs last year in a bid to trim costs and conserve capital.At the same time, Groffers decided to shut down business in nine Indian cities, according to DealStreetAsia.Ratan Tata, former chairman of the Tata Group and an investor in many start-ups, had ticked off a couple of days ago about valuations of some start-ups, even while sounding optimistic on business opportunities.  “There are tremendous opportunities in reaching this population and the task is being undertaken by passionate young people. They need backing. Having said that, some of the valuations are pricey,” the veteran industrialist told the group’s internal publication Tata Review.last_img read more

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first_imgA picture of the chip that won’t be inside the ball.Twitter/Kookaburra CricketWe have seen technology in all its multi-faceted forms in cricket. Whether it is the stump microphone which allows the viewers to hear sledging going on in the middle or heat-trapping cameras used for identifying snicks, called Hotspot.But now, the intervention of technology in cricket is going to reach an even higher level with the Australian ball manufacturing company Kookaburra all set to unveil a new type of cricket balls which will have microchips embedded in them. These will not only help in understanding the flight and trajectory of the ball better, but also help out umpires in tricky situations such as figuring out whether the batsman got an edge on the ball or whether a catch was taken cleanly or not.These new type of balls may have their first outing during the Big Bash League in near future. If passed by the relevant authorities, these new specimens of high-technology would revolutionise decision-making process by the umpires. The evidence collected through these technological aids would be so minute and accurate that no room would be left for any doubt.New Kookaburra SmartBall: making the ball talk.Interested? Register your interest today: https://t.co/DocCJujcjW pic.twitter.com/8yP9vnkjc5— Kookaburra Cricket (@KookaburraCkt) August 10, 2019 However, that isn’t the only big advantage of having micro-chips on the ball. It may also provide such insights as would help the players recognise their game better and improve it. The only problem, when it comes to making such balls common at the international level, would be the fact that only Kookaburra is currently in the process of making them. For such balls to become international, companies like SG and Dukes also need to embed microchips in their products.But then, there might be copyright issues that could play spoilsport. This unique cricket equipment has been developed by Kookaburra along with a company called SportsCor – former Aussie fast bowler Michael Kasprowicz is currently its chairman.With every new kind of ball, all sorts of issues come up that need to be sorted. When the pink cricket ball was being introduced for day-night tests, there were several concerns and later, complaints which had to be looked in to. The manufacturers have to make sure that not only are their new products sustainable but also do not adversely affect the quality of the game. The pink balls were initially criticised for swinging too much but have now been considerably improved.Hence, before balls with embedded chips become the norm in international cricket, they will have to undergo numerous trials and tests. Only when everyone is convinced that the chips are not causing any unwarranted changes in the behaviour of the ball, will it be accepted at the top level.last_img read more

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first_imgListen 00:00 /02:09 X Ryan Poppe | Texas Public RadioThe Texas Capitol in Austin.Lawmakers in Austin are examining the ins and outs of the state’s school finance system  ahead of the 2017 legislative session, where funding may be limited.  The state’s highest court found the system to be constitutional, yet inadequate, and now some lawmakers are pushing to change the state formulas that may fund your child’s education.The state’s current school finance formula is essentially made from two sources, state money given out to school districts as a whole through the legislature’s two budget cycle and through property taxes.According to the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association, property taxes bring in $52-billion dollars a year.  But the group’s president Dale Craymer told the joint session of the House Public Education and Appropriations committee that as property values increase, under the current school funding formula, it is the state, not local school districts that benefit.  “Say for example this “poor district,” its values increase from one year to the next and it gets up to the level of the average district, what happens is the amount of state aide it receives declines,” Craymer explains.  State lawmakers have to spend less on schools and the increase in property taxes gets redistributed to poorer school districts.  Houston Democrat, Rep. Harold Dutton says the problem is not every district has the same needs, it costs a district with a higher level of special needs students or English Language Learner students more to operate than other school districts.  “If the formulas and weights are supposed to cover the costs of those kids and ignoring the property wealth of a district, if those two are not in sync with each other than it seems to me that even if we try to fix it today then it will be broke tomorrow,” Dutton says.  And it is for this reason that Dayton Republican Rep. John Otto, the chair of the House’s Appropriations Committee says the legislature can’t just throw money at school finance and expect the problem to go away, he says it is the up the legislature to fix funding formulas that is weighted by the needs of each student.  “The thing I hope that comes out of this hearing is that we need to quit the special outside the formula funding, because all we are doing is making matters worse.  If we were putting that money in the basic allotment at least we are treating everyone fairly,” Otto says.  Texas currently ranks 38th in the country on per student spending while the state is facing an estimated $1-billion dollar budget shortfall heading into the 2017 legislative session.    To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Sharelast_img read more

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first_imgBy The Associated PressDENVER, Pa. (AP) — A flag that was carried into battle by a Black Union regiment during the Civil War and hand-painted by an acclaimed African American artist will join one of the country’s most comprehensive Civil War collections.The Atlanta History Center bought the flag at auction Thursday for $196,800, making it the largest purchase the center has paid for an artifact.This undated photo provided by Morphy Auctions shows the 127th Regiment United States Colored Troops battle flag in Denver, Pa. The flag, carried into battle by one of the 11 Black Union regiments during the Civil War, has been sold at auction for nearly $200,000. The Atlanta History Center bought the flag Thursday, June 13, 2019, making it the largest purchase the center has paid for a single artifact. (Morphy Auctions via AP, File)Morphy Auctions was selling off the flag in Pennsylvania.It depicts a Black soldier waving goodbye to Columbia, the White female personification of America, beneath a banner reading, “We Will Prove Ourselves Men.”It’s one of 11 painted by David Bustill Bowser, the son of a fugitive slave. It’s the only known surviving flag.Center President and CEO Sheffield Hale said the flag “doesn’t need words to tell you what it is and what it represents.”last_img read more

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