CSIRO 3D Laser Scanner Invention Set To Revolutionise Mining, Industry Says

CSIRO engineers have developed a world first "flameproof" 3D laser scanning device that can "see things our eyes cannot" by transmitting a full panoramic view of an underground coal mine in real time.

Called the ExScan, the device is set to revolutionise the industry, allowing miners to leave the coal face and manage longwall operations remotely from a control centre above ground.

This form of "intelligent mining" is currently being trialled by Glencore at its Oaky Creek mine site between the mining towns of Tieri and Middlemount in central Queensland.

The industry, which contributes $7 billion to Australia's export income, had been plagued with safety issues including the emergence of black lung disease.