Geoff Whittaker and Gerald Ness establish MineARC Systems in Perth, Western Australia, with a view to improve the safe working conditions for all underground personnel.
The World's First Scrubber
Geoff Whittaker develops the world’s first combined CO/CO2 Scrubbing System for use in underground mine refuge, and begins marketing the unit to existing refuge chamber manufacturers in Australia.
Chamber Manufacturing Begins
Noting the general lack of safety inherent in existing models, MineARC begins manufacturing its own refuge chambers for the ‘hard rock’ mining industry.
Making Headway Overseas
MineARC’s first export model is a hard rock mining unit sold to a salt mine in Ireland. Sales of MineARC’s hard rock mine refuge chamber begin to take off as the underground mining industry embraces new levels of safety.
Tunnelling Into New Industries
MineARC breaks into the tunnelling industry; an industry with similar inherent safety concerns to underground mining. The Dublin Port Project in Ireland is supplied with twin TBM-mounted refuge chambers to safeguard tunnel personnel during the construction phase.
WA Guidelines Introduced
A landmark ‘Guideline’ is introduced by the West Australian government outlining best practice refuge chamber manufacture and deployment: "Refuge Chambers in Metalliferous [Hard Rock] Mines". To this day, MineARC remains the only manufacturer to comply in full with the WA Guideline.
MineARC Chamber Saves 9 Lives in WA
Nine miners take shelter for four hours inside a MineARC refuge chamber after a truck fire fills St Ives Levian Mine in WA with toxic smoke and gas. The successful rescue of all nine miners provides the perfect justification for proponents of the new Guideline.
US Coal Mine Disaster Sparks Action
Tragedy in the United States as an explosion at the Sago coal mine in West Virginia claims 13 lives. President George W. Bush signs ‘The Miner Act’ making refuge chambers mandatory in all underground coal mines throughout West Virginia, however it overlooks a number of key safety concerns, including air conditioning.
MineARC North America Established
MineARC America is established in Dallas, Texas, and immediately begins lobbying industry and regulators alike on the need for higher safety standards in underground mining.
First Intrinsically Safe Coal Chamber
Immediately following the introduction of the 'Miner Act', a number of sub-standard refuge chambers are sold into coal mines across the US. MineARC deliberately abstains until final development and testing of its patented CoalSAFE model – the world's first to feature intrinsically safe air conditioning.
MSHA 'Final Rule' Introduced
After two years of lobbying in the US, MSHA (Mine Safety & Health Administration) introduces its nationwide ‘Final Rule’ - Refuge Alternatives in Underground Coal Mines - superseding the WV ruling and imposing far stricter standards on manufacturers, including the mandatory provision of air conditioning for occupants.
BHP Miner Shelters in MineARC Chamber
Meanwhile in Australia, BHP miner Jason Rose is rescued after 16 hours inside a MineARC refuge chamber following a rock-fall at the Leinster Nickel Mine in WA.
International Exports Grow
MineARC exports continue to grow; now to operations in over 25 countries worldwide.
Expansion into Petrochemical Industry
MineARC establishes itself in the chemical processing industries (CPI) with custom built ‘safe-havens’ manufactured for Potash Corp in the United States.
2010 West Australian Exporter of the Year
MineARC Systems is voted the West Australian Exporter of the Year by the West Australian Department of Commerce, and is a subsequent finalist in the Australian Exporter of the Year awards. MineARC now exports to over 35 countries on six continents.
CoalSAFE MA Certified in China
The CoalSAFE is the first refuge chamber model to receive interim MA Centre Certification in China – the compulsory certification for the Chinese coal mining industry.
NZ Explosion Highlights Need for Safe Refuge
The Pike River explosion in New Zealand claims 29 lives and brings AUS/NZ coal mine safety standards into sharp focus. Unlike other major coal producing countries, the AUS/NZ coal industry rejects ongoing calls to make refuge chambers compulsory. No refuge chambers were deployed at Pike River.
MineARC South America Established
MineARC South America is established in Santiago, Chile, with offices and manufacturing facilities to cater exclusively to the Latin American market.
MineARC China Established
MineARC China is established with offices in Beijing dedicated exclusively to the vast Chinese market.
MineARC Chambers Successfully Used in NZ
A truck fire at Newmont’s Waihi Gold Mine in New Zealand forces 28 miners into MineARC and Shairzal refuge chambers for over seven hours. In a textbook rendition of emergency response procedure, all miners are quickly accounted for and returned to the surface safely after the smoke subsides.
2012 West Australian Exporter of the Year
MineARC is voted the West Australian Exporter of the Year for the second time.
First Sales into Africa
MineARC announces its first major sales on the African continent – to Anglo American Coal’s New Denmark Colliery in South Africa.
MineARC Europe Established
MineARC Europe is established with offices in London, England – dedicated exclusively to the European market.
MineARC Africa Established
In October MineARC celebrates the launch of its African office and manufacturing facility in Johannesburg, servicing the entire African continent. The facility is officially opened by His Excellency Graeme Wilson, High Commissioner for Australia.
2013 West Australian Exporter of the Year
MineARC is voted the West Australian Exporter of the Year for the third year, and inducted into the ‘Hall of Fame’.
2013 ITA Awards Winner
MineARC Refuge Chambers are announced the Safety Initiative of the Year at the International Tunnelling Association Awards in London.
MineARC Plays Key Role in ITA Legislation
Landmark tunnelling legislation is set to be ratified across all ITA member states in the 'Guidelines for the Provision of Refuge Chambers in Tunnels Under Construction'. MineARC plays a key role in formulating the new legislation, having been invited to advise the ITA’s WG5 committee.
MineARC Makes a Splash in Industrial Hygiene
MineARC Engineers develop the EnviroLAV, a self-contained highly portable and eco-friendly toilet that can be used below ground and in heavy industrial scenarios. The unique waste-breakdown process of the EnviroLAV means that it only needs to be emptied once every 12 months.
Turkish Coal Disaster is a Tragedy for the Industry
An explosion at a Soma coal mine in Tukey causes an underground fire, which burns for over two days. In total, 311 people are killed in what is the worst mine disaster in Turkey's history. Reports reveal that safety negligence lead to the disaster, again pointing the spotlight on the need for refuge chamber legislation across the globe.
2014 Australian Mine Prospect Award Winner
The MineARC EnviroLAV wins the 2014 Australian Mine Prospect Awards for Innovation in Mine Safety.
First StormSAFE Developed for Atlas Iron
MineARC takes its first step into above-ground disaster relief; developing the StormSAFE Cyclone Shelter for Australian Iron Ore company, Atlas Iron. The StormSAFE was built to withstand wind speeds in excess of 300km/hr.
Miners Escape Underground Fire in Africa
Nearly 500 miners are trapped 2km underground during a fire at Harmony Gold mine in South Africa. Fortunately, personnel are well trained and move to refuge bays within the mine before being safely rescued. The incident reinforces the importance of refuge chambers in underground mining.
Release of CAMS
MineARC releases the Compressed Air Management System (CAMS); a ground breaking innovation in refuge chamber technology. The breathable air system is a first for the market, providing a range of features aimed at reducing running costs and improving operational safety during an emergency.
MineARC Product Rebrand
MineARC announces a company-wide product re brand after 15 years in the industry. The change allows for easier identification of products across MineARC's expanding range.
2015 ITA Awards Winner
MineARC picks up it's second ITA Safety Initiative of the Year Award, this time for the new Compressed Air Management System. The ITA recognises CAMS as an industry leading solution to providing compressed air and maintaining positive pressure within a refuge chamber.
Release of System Intelligence
MineARC releases the Aura-FX Digital Gas Monitor and GuardIAN Remote Monitoring and Diagnotics System that join CAMS to form the MineARC System Intelligence suite. System Intelligence reduces costs, increases productivity and efficiency during servicing and improves operational safety