November 2003 – Tucson, Arizona

November 2003 Tuscan, Arizona Meeting



Radisson Hotel Tucson
6555 East Speedway Blvd
Tucson, Arizona 85710

Meeting Minutes

November 14th

8:02 a.m.

Martin Reyes called the meeting to order and welcomed everyone to Tucson. Martin called for a vote of Jed Jensen for 2nd VP. A show of hands approved the vote.  Martin then called for a vote of Ed Barnett for 1st VP.  A show of hands approved the vote.   Jim Van Emmerik read the minutes and they were approved as read.  Jerry Endres provided the Treasure report. Current balance of US funds is $10,681. WMEA has had two disbursements since the last meeting. One was for the printer replacement and the other one for $405, which is for this meetings mailing notification.  A show of hands verified that the treasure report is approved as read.   Martin announced that we have 17 new members at this meeting.

8:16 AM
Group Discussion – Broke into 5 groups 

       – Safety

       – Problems and Solutions

       – Innovations/New Technology

       – Agenda items for next meeting

       – Future meeting sites    

Martin Reyes announced future meeting sites:

  • May 12 – 14 2004            Rapid City, South Dakota held at the Ramkota
  • Nov 17 – 19 2004            Reno, Nevada held at the Silver Legacy
  • May 8 – 10 2005            Calgary, Alberta held at the Sheraton
  • Nov 16 – 18 2005            Denver, Colorado held at the Renaissance


Technical Presentations

9:35 AM
Don Smales, Greg Rice of Cortez Gold Mines, and Aaron Engleman of P&H
2800 XP digital drive upgrade


10:40 AM
Mike Casson of Flanders Electric
Visual Safety and Maintenance Inspections on Excavators


 11:30 AM
Adjourn for Lunch


12:45 PM
Joe Latimer of Barrick Goldstrike Mine
Ground fault / Ground check protection


1:50 PM
Skip Hicks of Electro Test Inc.
On-Line partial discharge testing


3:00 PM
Curtis Stacey and Manuel Trevino of Flanders Electric
Projects at Merency


3:30 PM
Meeting adjourned for the day


November 15th

08:00 AM
Summary of group discussions held on Thursday


 9:10 AM
Mike Osmat of General Electric
GE BHP field exciter upgrade


 9:55 AM
Don Patterson and Chris Schroeder of DCS
Mining Modification Update


 11:40 AM
Meeting adjourned


Topics Discussed

  • Barrick Goldstrike BHP Field Exciter Upgrade
  • Cortez 2800 XPB Digital Drive Upgrade
  • DCS Mining Modification Update
  • Electro Test Inc. Online Partial Discharge
  • Flanders Visual Safety & Maintenance Inspections
  • General Electrical BHP Field Exciter Upgrade
  • Electric Drive System Interface Advancements



Group Discussions

Group 1

Group 2

Group 3

Group 4

Group 5



Group 1 Discussion

Lead by Terry Taylor


  • Discussed issue involving disabling of the ground monitor system during dragline boom lowering. Respondents are following the recommendations documented in a letter from a local MSHA inspector covering the Wyoming area. Most important to maintain radio contact between individual at the substation and person coordinating the activity at the dragline.
  • Bert Serak/Industrial Motor & Control: said at one of the gas plants he visits, vendors are being supplied with colored Nomex coveralls to distinguish them from employees. This is done as a safety precaution so in an emergency, people that may not be familiar with evacuation procedures can be easily identified and escorted to safety.
  • Jim Hansen/Phelps-Dodge:
    •  Adding ladders/platforms to rolling stock as a means to decrease fall potential/injuries. Caterpiller is getting onboard with this through new upgrade offerings for their equipment.
    • Phelps Dodge is working closely with NIOSH in a number of areas. One of the current projects involves developing collision avoidance systems for installation on vehicles. Technology involves the use of radar and video cameras.
    • Commented that NIOSH, as an arm of the federal government and the engineering arm of MSHA, carries a lot of weight when a company is using data collected in a joint venture for backup on compliance issues.
    • In the case of Phelps Dodge, NIOSH is providing most of the equipment being used for the projects being carried on. The company participating doesn’t see a lot of out of pocket expense.
    • For companies that would like to investigate a possible joint project, the NIOSH contact is Todd Ruff, 1-509-354-8053. Todd’s email is ‘[email protected]
  • Comment regarding MSHA; site was cited for having sagebrush within 25 feet of a fence surrounding a transformer installation.



Future Presentations  

  • Bring in NIOSH representative to make a presentation on how companies can initiate a joint project.
  • Update on what mining companies are doing to employ/expand the use of wireless communication in the mine environment.
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Group 2 Discussion

Lead by Dennis Isaacs
Northwestern Resources-Westmoreland Coal
Jewett Mine,   Jewett, Texas



  • Gary Lozowski – National Carbon – Their Company went one year without a lost time accident and gave all the employees a wristwatch for their accomplishments.
  • Don Patterson – Drives and Controls Services – Noise control – Talked about MSHA noise regulation and where that stands now. He knew of one company that tried to install blankets between M-G Sets to control the noise but that did not help much.
  • He also talked about a mine that has a line painted in the shop to distinguish different hearing protection areas.
  • Texas utilities has designed a small variable speed drive and a small motor that attaches to the shaft of the hoist or drag drum to turn the drum without the – M-G sets running – seems to work well and reduces the noise in the back of the machine and can utilize the electricians better for brush inspection and for working on the M-G Set.
  • Dallas McIntosh – Bucyrus Canada – He said that in Canada they do not have the consistency that the US has with MSHA and would like to see standardization in the Canadian mines if anyone has any ideas.
  • Curtis Peterson – Phelps Dodge – talked about different clothing  for protection – Such as flash coats – their company revisited this issue and the technology has changed a lot – seems that there has been several times this issue has come up. They saw problems with wearing big coats and one employee fell because the coat was too bulky. He was wanting to know if anyone has more information about this concern.
  • Mike Erisman – Cordero Rojo – Talked about their isolation officers – they are responsible for lock-out tag-out – they are also responsible to be sure that everyone is clear when unlocking equipment.


Innovations/New Technology  

  • Don Patterson – Drives and Controls Services – They are still developing and installing Data Acquisition Monitors for looking at the machine functions from the office – XY’s, Currents, Voltages, Vibration Information, also Video that scans an image and sends that to the office – Also he said there is a company in Australia that is planning to link 36 machines together.
  • Mike Erisman – Cordero Rojo – They upgraded their Marion 8750 machine with digital generator field drives – DCS installed them – working out very well – seems to have smoothed out the swing motion. 
  • Don Patterson – Drives and Controls Services – They are in the process of upgrading a dragline with a digital armature drive for the swing motion. This would be a high current drive and eliminates the swing generators.
  • Curtis Peterson – Phelps Dodge – Installed a payload estimation device on their shovel – DCS installed it – seems to be very accurate – it weighs the material in the bucket – he says the accuracy is as good or better than what DCS had promised. They are within 5% accurate.
  • Curtis Peterson – Phelps Dodge – talked about cameras on the machines – wanted to know if other companies are using them. He said they have one installed on one of their shovels that looks off the side of the machine – they had an incident where a hauler operator was washing his windows while the shovel operator did not know the hauler operator was out of the cab but he saw him with the camera and did not dump – possibly avoiding an accident
  • Dallas McIntosh – Bucyrus Canada –  They are installing some cameras for some of their customers – may be the answer to a lot of problems.
  • Dennis Isaacs – Northwestern Resources – use cameras on bucketwheel system and also for boom lowering and raising.


Future Topics

  • Try to get someone from MSHA to explain the discrepancies between the inspectors interpretations.
  •  Protective clothing.
  •  Collision avoidance systems. (Motion detectors, Cameras in blind spots, Etc.)
  •  DCS probably have a presentation ready for next WMEA on Armature drive upgrade.
  •  DCS probably have a presentation ready on Digital Camera troubleshooting with photographs and stories.


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Group 3 Discussion

Lead  by Aaron Spielman


  • MSHA’s memo concerning part 77.501- waiting on clarification from MSHA.
  • RAG incident.  One pickup pulling another.  Welded clevis to bumper of first vehicle busted and went through windshield of second pickup killing the driver.
  • Antelope coal 2300 incident with contract cleaner.  Center pin grease line access hole had been widened.  Contract cleaner used an aluminum wrapped broom handle, attached to vacuum hose, to clean came into contact with high voltage slip ring.  Contractor was injured but not killed.
  • Two incidents on trucks rolling away from not following proper procedures.  Operator was told that truck was on fire.  Operator jumped from the truck.  No brakes were set.  Truck rolled backwards down a grade until it came to rest on its side.  Rio Tinto property, a truck rolled backwards, the bed of the first truck crushing the cab of the one behind it.  Killing the operator.


Innovations/New Technology

  • Startco has a ground monitor unit that can monitor 2 cables simultaneously.  First application was on submersible pumps.



  • Way of pulling ropes onto drag and hoist drums on a dragline without the MG’s sets running.  Antelope has a controller that mechanics can use to roll drums with reduced reference.  However the MG sets are still required to be running.


Future Topics

  • Go over MSHA fatalities/incidents that we have had  in prior meetings
  • Representative from MSHA to visit and discuss
  • Vibration analysis: on-line monitoring, National Carbon is working on this
  • Production monitoring system presented by an end user
  • Retrofitting obsolete equipment with updated components


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Group 4 Discussion

Lead by  Ed Barnett



  • More Vendors than miners
  • Hans Larisch High wall failure in Tyrone
  • had previous problem in an area and they were monitoring it and also patrolling it. Noticed cracking and evacuated the area.  Within 2hrs High wall failed. 
  • Roger Lorenz, with Argo, Brought up that. he has noticed individual working very close to high voltage ring.
  • Working on mouse holes, while doing an Audit, or other misc. Work.
  •  Phelps Dodge has created a Cooperation Electrical Safety Team, they had to many forms.  Came up with 1.Energy Control Form.(Standard form) it. was developed by the people that. will have to use it.
  • Greg at Cortez Gold.  They have implemented new procedure, that will keep the trail cable away from the bucket while working on it.
  •  P&H uses a light tower to heightened awareness-  could be used in various ways.  Bad weather, incident rate,
  • anything to heightened awareness.
  • Mike Casson mentioned he experienced a plant that had a touch screen that was used to identify lock out equipment.  You could touch an. area and just. Kept on breaking down to identify procedure

Innovations/New Technology

  • Phelps Dodge using wireless system on pumps
  • STARTCO is coming out with 5yr warranty.
  • DCS talked about wireless system
  • MacDonald Douglas coming out with laptop/cellular service up to 42′
  • GPS. PDA  Communication.
  • Letournea (50 series ) eliminated a lot
  • of wiring harness. Has onboard panel, laptop not needed, numerous trouble shooting advantage.
  • P&H new Dipper trips system that will have 2.5 torque value.   Also testing dual hoist drum to angle dig or drum.
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Group 5 Discussion

Lead by Dave Hisey


  • Lee Adams – North American Coal – Sabine Mine 
  • They moved PCR Room reset to the outside for operators. PCR rooms are locked.  They have a program where mine personnel can fill out cause analysis sheets and submit them; then they have a monthly drawing for a day off.  Sabine rotates operation supervisors through Safety Department for development.
  • Steve Casille – P&H Mine Pro – Mesa, Arizona 
  • P&H is on a revitalized safety program, upper management is setting the tone; asking personnel to rethink safety.
  • John Donahue – Electro Test 
  • They work around hot gear a lot so they have work procedures they follow and monthly safety meeting to discuss procedures. 
  • Don Smales – Cortez Gold 
  • Their company uses observation cards by employees to report good and bad things they see – monthly reports on these long range is to get employees to bring things to the attention of others.
  • Jon Vendela – Spring Creek Coal 
  • He discussed KEC safety issues and ways to get everyone to discuss safety when they see problems.
  • Mark Fuller – American Cable
  • Their company has given cable handling talks and made videos of problems they see on site to help your company with safety.


Innovations/New Technology

  • Mark Fuller – American Cable 
  • They have a new reflective strip they put into the jacket, it works at night and has been in oil sands six to eight months and doing well.
  • Don Smales – Cortez Gold 
  • He discussed new digital upgrade on 2800.
  • Lee Adams – Sabine Mine
  • They use VFD on 100HP well to stop start up dimming lights.
  •  Brian Clark – Barick Gold 
  • Their new DCS Accu Weight system on shovels is doing well.
  • John Donahue – Electro Test
  • They can measure contact resistance while hot on up to 480 Volt systems that cannot be shut off.


  • Mark Fuller – American Cable 
  • Discussed shovel feed like cables to VFD drives need to be balanced, 3 grd 30, center pilot and insulated for spikes.
  • Lee Adams – Sabine Mine 
  • Asked if anyone is doing RMS monitoring of machines with digital drives?  Sabine has a long run of trail cable to dragline and is looking for a boost system to hold voltage up.
  • Jason Shaw – Luskar Mine 
  • They are starting to look at hi frequency transformer vibration acoustic analysis.
  • Brian Clark – Barrick Gold 
  • They started program with P&H using IR and Vibration monitoring on shovels to help Barrick with preventative troubleshooting. 
  • Jon Vendela – Spring Creek CoalHe also discussed the their new PLC on the 2300 shovel.
  • Their goal is to reduce cable size and eliminate the back injuries that occur with 500 MCM cable. They are testing a dragline soft start system.  This system is different in that it uses the existing motor and generator field drives to run the sets up to sync speed and then close in the sync starters.  This should reduce the cable size from 500MCM to 4/0 constituting a weight reduction from 12 pounds to 6 pounds.


Event Details

Start date: 11/14/2003