IoT solution delivers real-time tailings dam monitoring

28 February 2019: Inmarsat is joining forces with Knight Piésold UK to deliver highly accurate tailings dam monitoring, analysis and real-time management capabilities for the mining industry.

Mine tailings dam

The collaboration will combine Inmarsat’s satellite-enabled IoT (Internet of Things) solution with the industry-leading international geotechnical, tailings management and engineering consultancy of Knight Piésold UK. This will enable smarter decision making and improved safety standards as well as supporting regulatory compliance, offering a new approach to the way tailings dams are currently audited and managed.

Mine tailing audits are typically carried out at infrequent intervals, with employees and third-party consultants making long distance trips to collect data and audit the status of the dam. The solution makes data available between site visits to any accredited users, anywhere in the world. This means that current on-site auditing practices can now be supplemented with a remote, customisable daily management cycle, with auditor recommendations and real-time decision making made available to on-site engineers.

Cloud dashboard

Inmarsat’s solution collects data from a range of industry standard sensors via edge connectivity such as LoRaWAN (Long Range Wide Area Network) before it is transferred across Inmarsat’s L-band satellite network to a single cloud dashboard. This enables mining companies and national regulators to gain a comprehensive view of the status of their dams, with granular metrics such as pond elevation, piezometric pressures, inclinometer readings and weather conditions displayed in one place, no matter where the mine is located. The solution is also highly versatile and features sensor-agnostic capabilities, so it will work with both existing sensors and new devices.

Working with Inmarsat means mining companies only need one technology partner to manage all of their remote tailings requirements, anywhere in the world, and with Knight Piésold UK they have a respected, independent, leading industry auditor with extensive experience of international tailings management. The solution will be available to all of Knight Piésold’s clients immediately.

Richard Elmer, Regional Manager for Knight Piésold UK, said: “The current tailings auditing and management business consists of semi-annual or annual site visits with recommendations based on these visits. Instrumentation data is often collected on-site and mining companies are largely reliant on human activity for the collection, storage and analysis of the data. Our collaboration with Inmarsat provides our clients with access to the latest and best available technology for real-time data collection and analysis. We see this as a game-changing improvement in how companies monitor their current tailings storage facilities and we are proud to be at the forefront of this latest industry innovation.”

Smarter, safer

Paul Gudonis, President of Inmarsat Enterprise, said: “We have been working with Knight Piésold’s UK practice since 2017 to develop an approach to tailings dam monitoring that supports smarter, safer and more regulated mining practices. Following successful trials we are pleased to be able to bring what we believe to be a truly disruptive solution to market. We know that the industry is committed to zero harm and by teaming with Knight Piésold to launch this tailings dam solution, this is another step towards achieving complete health, safety and operational success in the mining sector.”

Inmarsat is a leading provider of managed Industrial IoT services across the mining world, and has an unrivalled 40-year track record of operating the world’s most reliable and secure commercial satellite networks, meaning it is well placed to help organisations succeed in their IoT initiatives.

For further information on the new tailings dam monitoring solution, or to speak with Inmarsat, visit: