Cloud Computing

Mining innovation: Underground mining visibility, locating assets and protecting people


Enabling autonomous operations and understanding the location of people and assets in real time are necessary for realizing fully operational smart mines. Smart mines require the ability to make good decisions based on large volumes of data, specifically within tunnels. This capability requires enhanced network availability and corresponding visualization tools to provide an intuitive understanding of the large amount of information generated.

The drive to digitize and automate underground operations requires the gathering of real-time data. Underground smart mines deal with complexities such as operations occurring in three dimensions over hundreds to thousands of kilometres; power, ventilation, and airflow considerations; potential for personal safety concerns with ambient temperatures sometimes over 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit); and airborne pollutants that can impact worker health. It is imperative for both safety and efficiency that an underground mine be able to locate people and assets as close to real time as possible.

Improving workforce productivity while increasing safety and optimizing fleet productivity and payload are key objectives in underground mining. Visualizing worker and asset locations and producing useful metrics from the increasingly digitized operational technology (OT) edge has been shown to be helpful in achieving these goals. These metrics provide inputs into both environmental management and cultural heritage protection systems, which show proximity to protected areas and prevent operations on impinging via alerts or geofencing.

Cisco’s forward thinking and commitment to the future of mining aims at digitization, automation, and net-zero emissions outcomes in mines. These objectives require network and communication reliability in order for customers to achieve high levels of visibility over their operations. To deliver on this goal, Cisco collaborates with ecosystem partners that deliver complementary solutions like GeoMoby. GeoMoby provide blueprints for reliable operational environment network infrastructure combined with a sensor-driven visualization layer that brings real-time insight into mining operations.

 

Solutions and benefits

  • Underground mining benefits from ecosystem-based, end-to-end solutions to fulfill specific requirements for sensor-driven connectivity and augmentation such as last-mile connectivity, temporary coverage, and low-bandwidth coverage for areas without Wi-Fi.
  • Cisco Spaces provides location and telemetry data for indoor and outdoor use cases. This data produces connectivity, environmental, and location-based insights for ecosystem-based solutions.

 

Opportunity with GeoMoby

  • Reduction or elimination of gaps in network connectivity and communication
  • All-in-one 3D map and real-time location, including existing Cisco tags and infrastructure
  • Convergence between OT/IT: traffic management, ventilation automation, IoT sensors, data collection, etc.
  • New solution blueprint that extends value for customers using Cisco solutions and specialist ecosystem partners such as GeoMoby

The common goal of GeoMoby and Cisco is to accelerate the digitalization of the mining industry. GeoMoby uses, extends, and enhances Cisco technology within mining operations. The result is a readily implementable mining platform that enables continual optimization of operations and safety in underground mining.

 

Use cases

Objective Description Use Cases
Improve workforce productivity
  • Monitor employee and contractor movements and record any delays in order to provide insightful data that can help identify areas for improvement.
  • Enhance visibility into operations in order to optimize decision-making and increase productivity.
  • Contractor management
  • Workforce management
  • Automatic check-in and check-out
  • Idle time detection
  • Ventilation on demand
Increase operational efficiency of assets
  • Monitor vehicle movements and record any speed excess in order to identify where and when vehicles are being underutilized or overutilized.
  • Increase efficiency by reducing fuel consumption and overall costs.
  • Promote compliance with safety regulations.
  • Predictive maintenance
  • Driver management
  • Maintenance management
  • Speed management
  • Ventilation on demand
Increase worker health and safety
  • Monitor critical health metrics, such as temperature and blood oxygen (Spo2) levels, in real time.
  • Enable proactive intervention by sending instant notifications in case of emergency, enabling prompt action to mitigate potential health issues and risks.
  • Provide insightful data that can be used to evaluate the overall health of operations and make informed decisions for improved safety and productivity.
  • Health and safety management
  • Collection of health metrics
  • Enhanced compliance with regulation
Increase fleet productivity and payload
  • Track and analyze the payload of every asset with time stamps, distance travelled, and in-use time, enabling informed decisions on resource allocation and waste reduction.
  • Help to increase productivity and efficiency by reducing cycle times and optimizing truck utilization.
  • Payload management
  • Fleet management
  • Payload budgeting
  • Performance tracking
Visualize people and assets with an electronic tag board
  • Display real-time location data for both people and vehicles on a map and a table.
  • Enable optimization of operations by improving safety, productivity, and efficiency.
  • In emergency situations, help to locate personnel and assets and facilitate a prompt response by visualizing people inside the refuge room and the closest refuge room for people in danger.
  • Electronic tag board
  • Emergency response management
  • Historic location data of people and assets
  • Offline navigation to refuge chambers or fresh air bases
Environmental management system
  • Provide real-time environmental data and quickly identify potential environmental risks and hazards.
  • Send alerts for anomalies and safety risks.
  • Provide historical data on environmental performance, enabling tracking performance over time and making data-driven decisions about operations.
    • Air quality management
    • Temperature management
    • Gas monitoring system
    • Historical data management
Cultural heritage protection system
  • Track people and assets and sends alerts when they are nearing or inside protected areas.
  • Improve compliance with regulations in order to prevent potential abuses and disruptions.
  • Help to ensure that only authorized individuals are granted access to protected areas.
  • Environmental, social and governance framework (ESG) reporting
  • Compliance with regulations

 

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