Radio Frequency Identification Systems (RFID) are one of the automatic data capture technologies taking over from bar codes and magnetic swipe cards in many applications involving automatic hands free operation in arduous environments. RFID systems are based on the use of miniature radio transponders carrying encoded electronic data that is used to uniquely identify the identity of transponders. The paper reviews the types of system available and compares the various techniques involved in the different systems. The various types of transponder are described including the latest state of the art passive read/write high performance types. The problems involved in designing and certifying a system for use in hazardous areas are described, with particular reference to the problems of inadvertent detonator ignition by radio systems. Applications of RFID systems in the mining industry are described, covering applications both on the surface and underground. 1 ref., 10 figs.