Communication systems for mining are often geographically restricted to specific mines. The mine of the future requires integrated communications throughout the company’s operations. This is not only from the pit to the port but also across multiple field sites and corporate offices.
Mining Industry Faces Challenges
The challenges faced by mining companies are similar to those of the oil and gas sector, which include volatile markets, falling revenues, rising costs and declining productivity. There is also a need for more sustainable practices and a shrinking workforce.
They may operate from remote locations, including underground mines as well as surface and underground mine sites. All business operations will be connected through a communication system capable of handling traditional voice and data, as well as remote oversight and control over large areas. This is the Industrial Internet of Things.
A Unified Communications Solution is required
Mining requires communications solutions that offer the vast coverage of satellite, LMR reliability and worker protection, high bandwidth and low latency LTE and WiFi. All of these are available via the various devices used by mine workers. These requirements can only be met by a unified crucial communications solution.
Companies of larger size have already used converged communication and the most advanced automation technology to create mining applications that improve productivity and efficiency, reduce costs, increase worker safety, and reduce environmental impact. Here are some examples:
Improve worker safety and health
- Collision prevention systems that use mobile WiFi hotspots to track and locate moving equipment, GeoFencing alerts, and location tracking using GPS
- Voice communications and multi-bearer data to connect underground and aboveground operations
- To manage risk, visualizations and dynamic modeling of changes in mines using seismic information are possible.
- Underground miners can be tracked by location and physiological monitoring.
- Underground mines are monitored by sensors that monitor levels of hazardous gases.
- Drilling rigs are an example of automatic equipment that can be used for hazardous operations.
This post was written by Justin Tidd, Director at Becker Mining Communications! For over 15 years, Becker Communications has been the industry’s leader in increasingly more sophisticated electrical mining communication systems. As they expanded into surface mining, railroads, and tunneling they added wireless communication systems, handheld radios, tagging and tracking systems, as well as gas monitoring.