Underground Communications Infrastructure

Objective

Develop a guideline suite to be used as a reference for the frameworks, standards, processes, and procedures supporting digital communications in an underground mine environment.

Description

This project is a five-document guideline suite designed to assist improved communication and network infrastructure underground. It focuses on planning, development, and sustainability in an underground environment.

This guideline aims to provide a high-level view of processes and is intended to be a reference tool that:

  • Steps the user through the tasks and components needed to define the technical requirements for a sustainable underground communications infrastructure.
  • Empowers all personnel to make better decisions based on modern communications and IT requirements, options, and limitations.
  • Enables system providers to communicate requirements and to implement their solutions underground.

The first two parts, “Positioning and Needs Analysis” and “Scenarios and Applications” were published in 2017. The third instalment, “General Guidelines,” is currently underway.

Business Case

The recent rapid development of industrial and communications technology increasingly benefits mining activities around the globe.

Companies need to implement this new communications infrastructure to support new technologies such as tele-remote operation and short interval control. This process is especially challenging for underground mines because:

  • They require more complex and costly communications infrastructure to accommodate remote technologies’ limited range in underground settings.
  • Their environments are continually changing, necessitating careful planning.
  • Many mine personnel lack the necessary background and experience.

The guideline suite, as a consistent and clear reference, is a helpful tool for key personnel to understand how to approach the strategic integration of new technology into the entire mine lifecycle to increase profit, operational effectiveness, and safety.

Participating Companies

ABB, Agnico Eagle, AKROM, Alpha Technologies, Ambra Solutions, Anixter, Austrobots, AVEVA, Barrick Gold, BBA, Bestech, BHP, Boge Boge, CheckMark Consulting, Cisco, Deloitte, DetNet South Africa, Dexcent, Draeger, ECM Networks, Epiroc, Flow Partners, Glencore, Global IO, Granite Technology Group, GroundProbe, Hatch, Hexagon Mining, Hintec, Innovative Wireless Technologies, IREDES, iVolve, JVA, Komatsu, Lac Des Iles Mine Ltd, Laird, Lundin Mining, Maestro Digital Mine, METStech, Micromine, Mine Vision Systems, Minera Yanacocha, MineRP, Minetec, Mobilaris, Motorola, MST Global, Newmont, Newtrax, NHP Electrical Engineering, Northern Light Technologies, Northern Star Resources Limited, Orbcomm Inc., PA Spatial, PBE Group, Prairie Machine & Parts, PSA Integration, Ramjack, Rapidbizapps, RCT, Rio Tinto, Rockwell Automation, Runge Pincock Minarco (RPM), Sandvik, SDMT, Sibanye-Stillwater, Siemens, Stantec, Stockdales Electric Motor Corp, Strategy Focused Innovation, Symbiotic Innovations, Technical University of Madrid, Telstra, Terrative Digital Solutions, Tetherco, Thyssen Krupp, Torex, Tunnel Radio, University of the Witwatersrand, UNSW, Vale, West Arm Consulting Group, Yamana Gold, Yourpace

Project Updates

Underground Communications Infrastructure Final Review Underway

06/01/2017

The Communications Infrastructure sub-committee are set to approve “Section 1: Positioning and Needs Analysis” and “Section 2: Solutions & Architectures” of its guideline for final review by the Underground Mining Working Group. Read more...

Communication Infrastructure Guideline

22/09/2015

Mine Lifeycle Reference diagram and Business Requirements checklists mark progress towards a global communications infrastructure standard. Read more...