The mining industry is full of opportunities for tech based companies that can solve critical problems such as worker safety, efficient use of natural resources, and maximizing productivity. Doug Hockstad, Director of Tech Launch Arizona will lead this panel in discussing the latest tech innovations, resources available to mining startups, how startups can access capital.
I have a longstanding interest in the development of new technologies to improve mine safety and productivity, specifically miners health and safety, geomaterials characterization, rock breakage, energy/process efficiency, and renewable energy. I am leading efforts to provide options for mitigating heat-related emergencies in hot underground mines through a combination of adaptive ventilation-on-demand, identifying factors specific to deep, hot, underground mines that contribute to heat strain risk, reducing the requirement for refrigeration in deep mines thorough the development of extremely low thermal conductivity geo-foams employing recycled mine tailing materials, contingency cooling, rapid evacuation protocols, and shelter-in-place. My physics background provides deeper insight into low-temperature geothermal energy extraction from underground mines, electricity production from photovoltaic (PV) panels installed on tailings, reducing evaporation on supernatant water (a huge concern in semiarid environments), and improving the thermal efficiency of concentrated solar thermal power generation. I am investigating the reasons for the significant improvement in rock fragmentation – up to a factor of five – when the surface charges in geomaterials are canceled. I have extensive experience in geosensing and the development of contact, non-contact and distributed sensing systems to measure physical, mechanical and geotechnical properties of geomaterials. Collectively, my efforts constitute a unique and novel contribution.