Anyone who has been even remotely involved in mining over the past five to ten years will know all too well the volatility of the industry. Even in good times, staying profitable remains a challenge for even the most mature underground mine. High running costs, many of them fixed, dictate that improving productivity is a big deal – more ore moved to surface each shift means lower mining costs per tonne, and lower mining costs per tonne mean more profit.
A key element to getting maximum tonnage to surface is the rate at which the mining face advances. Becoming a low-cost producer in the underground mining game demands high face utilization and a rapid face advance rate. To make this a reality, monitoring exactly what is happening at the face is vital – you can’t manage what you don’t monitor.
A working face in an underground mine is a hub of activity, though. Keeping track of people’s movements, vehicle activity, machine health, drilling advance, the blast cycle, and production targets is a huge challenge – especially when the surrounding rock and the atmosphere conditions where you work all seem to be fighting against your objective of maximizing production.
But, maximizing face utilization is possible and practical if you make use of the right types of specialized technology – technology purpose-built for an underground mine.
Two key areas where the right technology can play an important role in better face utilization are:
- Communications: To win in underground mining, reliable communications are critical. Infrastructure based on advanced technology platforms designed to combine high-bandwidth voice & data communications (like LTE over leaky feeder from Metstech) with flexible and scalable real-time communications (like MineHop from Newtrax) is a comprehensive and affordable communication solution suitable to any underground, hard rock mine. Simple and cost effective to deploy, the integration of these two technologies is the holy grail of underground communications infrastructure.
- Interoperability: The debate between real-time information and big data analysis has no winner. To be the lowest-cost producer means to utilize both efficiently. Interoperability is the name of the game. Real-time tracking of anything that enters the mining face – development drills, production vehicles, pedestrians, etc. – to ensure that the face is progressing through the mining cycle at an appropriate rate combined with the large data sets collected by on-board and remote sensors (including real-time alarms) creates the right interoperable technology framework to ensure decisions can be made by the right people, at the right time, with the right information.
At RAMJACK Technology Solutions, we work closely with a vast array of advanced original technology manufacturers to ensure any mine in Africa, Europe and the Middle East can build the technology platform that suits their operation best.
Small budgets? No problem. It does not take a lot of capital to get started on a value-adding technology road map. At Ramjack, we guarantee a return on investment in less than six months. By starting with a small investment, the gains you see from your first deployment can help fund future expansion.
Challenging mining environment? No problem. We have a wide range of solutions available from large to niche technology experts in mining. At Ramjack, we have our finger on the pulse of anything related to production and safety technology in mining. If the solution exists, we can help your mine realize value from it.
Optimizing face utilization at your mine is our speciality.
We are ready to face any challenge you can throw at us.
Contact us now to find out more.