In early November we received a call from our client contact at Rio Tinto's Northparkes Mine seeking our input and assistance in designing and installing a spatial design for the new state-of-the-art automated mine control room facility.
The control room operators drive the large machinery of the underground mine, but they do it from the surface, reducing the need for large numbers of men and women to work underground and thereby improving safety on site.
This is a world leading operation and as such there are elements that we cannot show here due to the commercially sensitive information divulged within those images, however, the images here give a good indication of the finished room.
We were tasked with creating a theme in the viewing room outside the control room and also housing two scale models depicting the block cave mine and the crushing station below ground along with a 3D TV set up to show video of the underground operations.
The treatment we applied was to create the feeling of being in the underground mine without the need for the visitors to go underground. We covered the walls and ceiling bulkheads with adhesive prints of images of the mine walls taken in the mine and utilised the glass panels of the folding doors to create image screens illustrating the underground mine and some of the activities conducted in the mine.
The models are housed in a false wall built to enable us to incorporate lighting for the models and the input devices to feed the TV with content. The false wall is covered with a copper look print and bolt heads were added to complete the feel of a copper sheet wall.