The Kolsky Peninsula Mining Company is testing "earth glasses"

The Kolsky Peninsula Mining Company is testing "earth glasses"

Jan. 27, 2023

The georadar scanning technologies at the Kolsky MC are used to detect soil anomalies at an industrial site. Use of radio waves to detect what is hidden under the surface is not new. Yet in recent years, thanks to digital technologies, ground penetrating radars have been steadily gaining popularity. The devices have become smarter – they allow not only to identify potentially hazardous places like, say, karst cavities, but also to mark their boundaries on maps. Why is it necessary? E.g. to avoid mistakes when designing future objects.


“This is one of our joint pilot projects with the Innovation Department – an attempt to use the deep GPR scanning technology to search for underground utilities, including those cut off from operational networks or for some reason non-existent on the general layout. Now these communications are in the ground, and when excavating or planning construction and installation works, the communications abandoned or not marked on the general layout can interfere with us”, explained Andrey Andreichuk, head of the Technical Expertise unit of the KMC Innovation Projects Department.


“At a first glance, scanning looks simple: a man with a triangular frame walks around a section of an industrial site. At one end of the frame there is a transmitter that sends impulses deep into the earth. At the junction of ground structures with different electromagnetic properties, e.g. earth and water, they are reflected. The reflected signal is captured by the receiver on the other end of the frame.”


“Due to this reflected signal, the device shows the ground anomalies. This method is used along with already existing classical methods of engineering surveys, such as drilling”, Mr. Andreychuk explained.


“Perhaps the main part of the GPR is its "digital brain". It analyzes the speed of radio wave propagation, the signal attenuation, etc., and thus determines what and at what depth is hidden below – wet or dry sand, or clay, or granite.”


“In Nornickel’s Polar Division, this technology was used in the to analyze ore bodies and search for anomalies in underground grooves, and at the Bystrinsky Ore Mining and processing Plant, to survey the state of the dam body of the existing tailings”, Mr. Andreychuk said.


To find abandoned networks, it is enough to ‘X-ray’ the ground 4 meters deep. Yet the device is able to look deeper. The Kolsky MC experts believe that the results of such surveys can provide new data for and expand functionality of the recently created virtual model of the digital twin of the Company's industrial premises. The said model is to be used in the construction and management of the Company's buildings and facilities.