Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Mining Engineering (MSMIE)

Document Type

Master's Thesis




Mining Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Thomas Novak


In 2006, Congress passed the MINER Act requiring mine operators to submit an emergency response plan that included post-accident communications and tracking systems to MSHA within three years of the Act. These systems were required to be designed for maximum survivability after a catastrophic event, such as a fire or explosion, and to be permissible (meets MSHA criteria for explosion-proof). At that time, no commercially available systems existed that met these standards. Several companies undertook developing new, or enhancing existing, technologies to meet these requirements. This research presents the results of a study that was conducted to determine the present day types of systems being used, along with their average annual worker hours, coal production, number of mechanized mining units, and type of communications and tracking systems installed. Furthermore, 10 mines were visited to obtain detailed information related to the various technologies. It was found the most influential parameters on system selection include MSHA district, mining method, and number of underground workers.