West Perth-based geolocation company GeoMoby has achieved a new technical advancement it says will transform the way mining companies can communicate and monitor operations.
A project demonstrating Bluetooth Low Energy’s effectiveness was recently undertaken in an underground section of Karora Resources’ gold and nickel Beta Hunt mine in Kalgoorlie using GeoMoby’s new technology.
It confirmed that live audio and video streams in real time can be achieved using such technology. Previously, audio and video communication from underground to the surface has only possible due to Wi-Fi (a very notable Australian innovation…) or LTW powered wireless networks.
Another significant advantage of these Bluetooth capabilities is that mining companies can reach optimal connectivity without having to stop operations to lay cables and wires – a significant cost to the business.
Along with the transfer of live audio and video streams to the surface in real time, the technology facilities existing real-time location, messaging and photo transfer capabilities.
This ensures surface teams can have both eyes and ears underground.
“Using our point-to-point network of nodes and technology platform, we have been able to stream audio and video in high quality and real time to the surface, allowing those above ground to hear and see what’s going on beneath them,” said GeoMoby CEO Chris Baudia.
Mr Baudia reiterated that the simple, cable free, low disruption deployment method allows for minimal interference when deploying new methods to improve communication.
“Key data transferred from underground to surface includes speed calculation alerts for vehicles and machinery, proximity awareness and real time proximity detection alerts,” he explained.
The deployment of the system at the Kalgoorlie gold and nickel mine involved 16 nodes being installed across 2 kilometres of underground mine tunnels. This was completed in 2.5 hours with no impact on the general operations of the mine.
“Our benchmark is entry level technicians correctly positioning or replacing nodes with no or minimal assistance from GeoMoby,” Mr Baudia added.
“Software diagnostic tools incorporated into the platform allow site personnel to detect any fault in the network and respond immediately, which is critical to ensuring communications remain intact at all times.”
Jody Herd, Karora Senior OHS adviser, noted there had been a steep change in operator since the new system was launched.
“Previously we tracked personnel and equipment underground the old school way with tag board systems, so we didn’t always know where everyone was at any given time without using a radio,” he said.