The new U.S. legislation sent to the Senate floor would require all mines to have two-way wireless communications and tracking systems in place within the next three years.
The Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2006, created in wake of the 18 miners killed in the Sago and Alma mining tragedies in West Virginia, calls for substantial increases in oxygen supplies for miners, improved emergency responses and enhanced training for rescue teams. The wireless technology would provide real-time monitoring and physical location tracking of miners, which is the push in current mine safety. Already, state legislators including those from West Virginia and Illinois have incorporated into their mine-safety laws the need for such technology in emergency communication. This bill will usher in a new era of safety for mines.