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Jose Torres Diaz

Mining is Australia’s largest sector by share of national Gross Domestic Product and employs over 250,000 people. According to the latest data, the industry is worth $528.2bn and is growing at a rate of approximately 16 per cent each year. 

The strength of the sector highlights the size and potential impact of their operations. And in recent years, this has seen environmental, social and governance (ESG) targets and ratings become increasingly important – especially in areas including carbon emission reduction. This increased focused on ESG targets has created a greater need to keep mine sites running smoothly and to minimise operational disruption. 

At the heart of this challenge is the sizeable number of assets required to operate mine sites and the remote locations they operate in.  

Asset tracking at mine sites falls into two categories: critical infrastructure related to processing operations, including high-value machinery, and non-critical infrastructure related to broader site operations, including lighting, building security and lower-value assets. 

Asset tracking to minimise disruption 

Tracking and monitoring the health and location of these assets is key to minimising operational disruption, and in turn, achieving ESG targets. With this in mind, IoT satellite connectivity presents a unique opportunity for the sector. 

IoT satellite provides the flexibility to quickly establish reliable voice and data connections in remote areas where terrestrial networks are weak or patchy. By providing near real-time visibility of assets, it minimises the loss of assets and associated economic loss. 

The rise of lower-cost satellite services is increasing the adoption of this technology. For example, services like Iridium’s Certus 100 network, is built to support low to mid-range data rates. This is making satellite connectivity viable for a much broader range of applications. 

Deploying IoT satellite successfully 

M2M Connectivity’s engineering team works directly with OEMs to understand the unique characteristics and limitations of each device it deploys. We combine this with the needs of our customers, network profile and the knowledge we have gained through successful IoT deployments at mining and utility sites including the Dugald River Zinc Mine in Queensland. 

Key consideration for mining companies who need to extend coverage beyond cellular include: 

  1. Utilising IoT devices capable of operating on multiple networks, reducing the amount of customisation required. An example fo these multi mode networks is the new Skyline 5100 from Blue Sky Network, offering LTE and WiFi connectivity plus Iridium Certus 100 for satellite when no terrestrial connection is available. 
  1. Mixing network technologies to ensure connectivity – especially for assets moving in and out of coverage zones 
  1. Minimising data costs by using dual modes of transmission i.e. Satellite connectivity can be the exception, when required, rather than the default. 

Unlimited opportunities in Mining 

The opportunities for satellite connectivity in Mining are unlimited, and as networks become more accessible, so too will the number of applications. The use of non-IP-based solutions, including two-way messaging systems, will play a significant role in this evolution giving devices the ability to operate more at ‘the Edge’ – reducing manual monitoring and automating decision making longer term.  

M2M’s IoT Satellite expertise 

Underpinned by our global partnerships with satellite hardware and airtime providers, and supported by our in-house engineers, we give you access to a comprehensive range of M2M/IoT satellite devices and solutions. 

With the support of our in-house IoT engineers, we can help you design and deploy the right IoT Satellite solution – drawing on our comprehensive satellite-ready IoT hardware portfolio and our network partners. 

We stock a range of modems and accessories for satellite telemetry covering one way (Simplex) and two-way (Duplex) data communications that operate on the Inmarsat, Orbcomm, Iridium and Globalstar satellite networks globally. 

Whether your application requires short burst simple messaging or prolonged IP connectivity, M2M Connectivity has a solution to meet your requirements. 

Learn more about satellite connectivity  

Learn more about connectivity in Mining