In order to improve the conditions of its workers, optimise the productivity of operations and reduce the risk of accidents and injuries, Eldorado Gold has set up a private underground LTE network at the Lamaque gold mine in Quebec in collaboration with Meglab and Bell. The company states: “Increasing the speed of decision-making and our productivity, improving flexibility for instrumentation and simplifying operations represent only a few concrete advantages of this network.”
This initiative to increase the speed, security, reliability and flexibility of operations will be finalised in August 2020. “The success of the network providing audio and video communications can already be seen in the work of our employees through several systems. This connectivity allows real-time management and this quickly becomes an important asset to increase the speed of decision-making. By enabling better communication through the LTE signal, confidential group communications with workers underground and others on the surface are facilitated and result in instant decision-making. In fact, this system is resistant to cyber attacks, making audio communications and data transfers even more secure. It therefore also becomes possible to call in external experts from underground to solve problems.”
The company adds: “Beyond audio calls, Facetime-type video calls are even more of an asset for our employees. The ability to show a fault in real time to an expert or an employee on the surface, to order a part or even to expose the state of the machines directly to his supervisor are just a few advantages of this technology. Providing crisp, fluid vision is a huge complementary resource to audio. The flexibility for instrumentation is also greatly improved thanks to the mobility as well as the ease of deployment that the LTE network allows. This is because the LTE solution does not require any wires or major installations to operate, which simplifies access and makes operations less complex for employees.”
Moreover, as this system allows to have one cable for three systems, the workload is reduced. With the tools offered by this technology, the employees also have the possibility of telemetry of the equipment, that is to say of seeing the state of the machinery in real time, which contributes to the improvement as well as troubleshooting installations. The latter is possible, among other things, thanks to HMI (Human Machine Interface) which allows employees to interact with machines, notably used in the control room, for pumping, ventilation, backfill and electrical networks.
“Not only are communications and flexibility improved, but the implementation of this technology also increases our productivity and reliability by going beyond established QoS (Quality of service) standards. The LTE solution allows you to access data sheets from anywhere with phones, but also to complete reports directly on tablets, improving the speed of execution of our operations. In short, the continuity of operations in a safe and efficient manner is therefore strongly ensured by the reliable LTE solution. It will also be possible to go even further in terms of improvement, among other things, by combining this system with the VOD (Ventilation on demand) system in future projects.”