Anako 13 improves safety for geothermal technicians in Lihir

Newcrest Lihir’s geothermal team has successfully tested and commissioned the first of the ‘Safe Mining to 150°C’ safety initiatives for Lihir mine, a Temperature Measurement Unit (TMU).

The TMU, christened Anako 13, has engineered out the risk of personnel exposure to geysering events.

Anako 13 allows Lihir’s geothermal technicians to remotely operate a mobile arm from the vehicle and lower or raise a probe safely and simultaneously in the measuring and recording of temperature, water level and depth. This is all done from the safety and comfort of the vehicle cabin. 

Operation’s project manager, Adam Garczynski, said the manufactured equipment was brought to Lihir then assembled onto a donor vehicle by Lihir’s Mobile Maintenance team to create Anako 13.  

“This system is customised and is the first-of-its-kind. The technology is readily available, however the team has done a great job to engineer it into a solution that’s never been done before. Apart from reducing risks, it also saves a lot of time at the back end when processing information,” he said. 

The team included Lihir’s geothermal team, technical services team, Newcrest’s Technology & Innovation team in Melbourne, and business partners Dyno Nobel and Olitek. They worked collaboratively over 12 months to turn a concept into reality.

The name Anako 13 was inspired by an incident at Lihir four years ago. In 2013, geothermal technician, Samuel Ayata of Eastern Highlands and Morobe parentage, sustained burn injuries from geysers when collecting data. His father, Ayata Anako, was shocked upon receiving news about the incident and collapsed. He was bedridden for almost three weeks and begged his son to quit his job. 

“The scars on my body were a drive for the team in the last four years to achieve this safety initiative. We have named the TMU after my father and the year of incident,” said Ayata.  

Lihir’s Anako 13 is the world’s first machine with a fully equipped system to probe into the earth’s geothermally active crust. 

Mine manager Iso Ealedona described Anako 13 as a ‘game changer’ as it has a profound impact on the people within the Lihir operation and Newcrest as a whole. 

“It is an excellent demonstration of our values. The leadership, commitment and collaboration continues to be displayed between the team onsite, the project team and the leadership team to work towards limiting and eliminating the risk of exposure of our people to the risks associated with a geothermally-active work environment,” said Ealedona.

(From left: Geothermal engineer Dinah Maibani, geothermal technician Kevin Francis, project manager Adam Garczynski, Olitek’s electrical & controls engineer Simon Paech, geothermal engineer Philip Asing and geothermal technician Samuel Ayata standing in front of Anako 13, ready to commission it)

Press release