This year, Coal Mines Technical Services (CMTS) celebrates 40 years of helping to protect miners from risk. We take a look at how the business has grown from being a support function to Mines Rescue to a valued industry partner.
The gases that may be encountered in an underground coal mine have not changed over the years and continue to pose a risk to miners working in that environment. Fortunately, the technology used to detect and monitor these gases has evolved and offers a means of identifying potentially hazardous conditions in advance.
Until the 1980s, canaries were an early warning system used in Australian underground mines to detect the presence of harmful gases and oxygen deficiency. The practice of using canaries was phased out and replaced with electronic gas detectors.
It was also around this time that the NSW Mines Rescue Board was exploring the best practice for mines rescue agencies and the type of technical support available to them in the event of an emergency.
The Southern Mines Rescue Station Technical Services was established in 1983 as a result of the recommendations made to the NSW Mines Rescue Board and the Southern Mines Rescue Station Committee. It was set up as a division of the Southern Mines Rescue Station to provide gas analysis support in an emergency, though its services would also be available to the other NSW mines rescue stations.
“The primary purpose for CMTS was to support Mines Rescue in an emergency, but also to provide gas analysis support to the mines,’ explains Brian Howell CMTS Manager.
“At the time, mines didn’t have much in the way of real time gas detection. The gas detectors in the eighties required calibration, so it was also an opportunity for CMTS to get the appropriate accreditation to calibrate the gas detectors at the mines as a related service – not just being available to attend a mine emergency that required gas monitoring,” he added.
Today, CMTS is part of the Coal Services group of companies that provide essential health and safety services to the NSW coal industry. CMTS is the largest provider of statutory gas detector calibrations for underground coal mines in Australia and also has an international client base. Their range of products and services also includes portable and fixed gas detection sales and service, gas chromatograph sales and atmospheric contaminant analysis, diesel exhaust analysis, accredited repair facilities, self-rescuer sales and service, training and consultation.
“Our product and service offerings all align with Coal Services’ purpose; ‘To Protect’. We protect workers from atmospheric contaminants both through the critical safety devices we offer and the affiliated services which ensure accuracy and reliability of the equipment.”
Mining operators and workers trust that the materials and equipment they use are reliable, safe, and accurate; elements that are critical to safety and production.
CMTS’s range of services expanded earlier this year when they entered into an exclusive distribution agreement with CSE Corporation. The agreement involves the distribution of self-contained self-rescuers to the NSW and Qld mining industries, with technical support and expertise provided at the work site. The CSE partnership complements the business’s other services and product lines where the focus is on making it easier for sites to operate safely and efficiently.
“We’ve certainly come a long way over the last four decades,” said Brian. “We’re no longer just an adjunct to Mines Rescue; but remain an important part of the mining industry’s safety supply chain.”