The safety of mining professionals and local communities, and sustainable operations that minimise the impact on the surrounding environment, are paramount to modern mining companies. Miners have embraced the move toward Zero Harm, enhancing their social license to operate by seeking to adopt digital technologies that build transparency and accountability. However, with operations in remote areas without cellular connectivity the norm, reliable connectivity is key to these technologies delivering on their promise.

Inmarsat is enabling safe and sustainable mining operations by connecting your people, machinery and vehicles wherever they are in the world. With a heritage in maritime and aviation safety – we were set up by the United Nations to deliver safety at sea communications – our L-band Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) network offers levels of reliability (up to 99.9%) that make it ideal for critical connectivity.

Tailings dam monitoring

Recent dam failures have moved tailings management to the top of mining organisations’ agendas. Today, thousands of tailings facilities across the globe are monitored inconsistently or not at all, posing a significant risk to human life and health, the environment, brand reputation and social licence to operate, as well as potentially reducing access to capital from bodies demanding compliance with ethical standards.

Inmarsat’s award-winning Tailings Dam Monitoring Solution is an end-to-end data collection, storage and monitoring system enabling consistent governance across your global tailings portfolio. It delivers a new depth of insight into the conditions and management of your tailings dams, presenting data from key metrics at site level in real time on a cloud-based application.

How it works

Instruments such as piezometers and ultrasonic height sensors are connected via edge connectivity before Inmarsat’s ultra-reliable Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) service transfers the data to the cloud. The application offers granular insight, as well as auditing, alarm and note-based functionality. The solution works with standalone power infrastructure meaning it will work on any mine site – closed or open – and is supported on an ongoing basis as a managed service by Inmarsat.

Features of the solution:

  • Provides key decision makers consistent, near real-time situational awareness across a portfolio of tailings storage facilities to enable accurate, fast decision-making
  • Provides an off-grid, highly reliable, global connectivity network, storing data securely in the cloud, and visualised via a user-defined proprietary dashboard
  • Delivers real-time monitoring enabling the establishment of user defined processes to reduce the risk of an unexpected incident and the resultant potential for environmental damage, operational loss and loss of life
  • Provides a record of action, enabling regulators, legislators, investors and insurers to audit the implementation of policies and procedures with confidence
  • Able to integrate multiple sensor types, utilising installed hardware infrastructure where possible
  • Flexible visualisation options, including integrating existing customer platforms
  • Delivered as a managed service, operations are supported with solution updates; edge and network security; a 24/7 global service desk; and installation and training services

Remote worker monitoring and communications

Workers often have to operate in remote locations and in difficult conditions, making it essential for them to be visible and to communicate with control centres and other colleagues at all times. Unreliable communications makes normal operations much harder, and can also put people’s safety at risk. In times of emergency, being able to communicate effectively and to find out a worker’s location co-ordinates may make all the difference.

Inmarsat offers a range of services that keep workforces connected at all times. Vehicular tracking enabled by BGAN and IsatData Pro (IDP) allows control centres to understand the exact movements of their fleet, while push-to-talk (PTT) functionality ensures teams are able to communicate wherever they are. Inmarsat’s rugged IsatPhone 2 can be trusted to keep people in touch with colleagues and loved ones wherever they are and also features GPS tracking functionality. All of these services are enabled through Inmarsat’s L-band constellation providing rock-solid reliability.

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