Mine lighting is an essential part of underground mining and always has been. The overall project was based on reviewing the area of mine lighting used in Underground Coal Mines in Australia, an area with not much research carried out in. The issue of how the human eye and light interact with each other particularly in regard to working had to be investigated.
Not only the link between the human eye and light but also their interaction in an environment such as an underground coal mine where the conditions are constantly dark and surface reflectance is very minimal compared to say a building, impacting on lighting and visibility significantly.
It was carried out through researching the work carried out by others in the area of mine lighting and in books about the human eye and light. Also an underground coal mine was visited in NSW to observe and take note on the types of lighting used there.
Research was carried out on the various standards relating to workplace interior lighting, cap lamp standards and other various standards relating to the topic on the Australian Standards Online data base. Information was also obtained at AIMEX 2007 from various mine lighting companies that were displaying their products and made contacts with people to obtain more specific details about their products.
The results obtained were that all the mine lighting that was investigated all complied with Australian Standards and provided ample lighting to the workplace and task. The design of cap lamps headpiece, cable and battery are much like the older models however there is some work being done on cordless cap lamps which whilst very little at present should be investigated in the future. There are now communication devices being installed in cap lamp batteries offering possibilities such as early, more efficient evacuation warnings or just improved communication.
The LED is now becoming the main type of light being used in mine lighting such as in cap lamps however also the recent emergence of LED luminaires for use in longwall lighting with only vehicle headlights not using LEDs as the main source of light. This is likely to change, the vehicles currently use the halogen dichroic lamps however with the industry looking towards the future as being LED it is likely that they too will use LEDs as their main source of light.