MST Global (MST) provides mine communications networks and operational productivity solutions which assist organisations in the mining, resources and industrial sectors to optimally manage their core business operations. Founded in Australia in 1989, the company specialises in the design, deployment and support of critical technologies for communications, mining automation-enablement, production optimisation, vehicle and tracking miners underground, and safety in hazardous underground and surface environments. A pioneering force within the mining industry, the company has over 600 technology deployments at mine sites worldwide. Working on six continents, MST’s offices and support centres are strategically located in the world’s primary mining regions and continue to expand. Our global headquarters is located in Sydney, Australia.
MST Global was a pioneer in the digitisation of mines, having installed the first mine wide, operational Wi-Fi/IP network at an underground mine in Canada in 2004. For the 24 years prior to that MST established its reputation on more traditional mine communication technologies, such as leaky feeder radio, PED through-the-earth emergency communications and remote blast initiation systems.
These earlier systems are still used by many operations, but digital systems now dominant their product roadmap and technology offerings.
Denis Kent, MST’s Product Manager Mining, summarised MST’s recent developments, “Digitisation of mines, big data, analytics, IoT, the list of phrases roll on depending on the latest fashion and report. What we have focussed on over the last two to three years is developing the digital platform that can support all this in the underground environment.”
Kent goes on further, “And most importantly, making this platform practical to implement, maintain and extend.”
An emerging technology that has received much attention is LTE. MST identified the potential for this technology in 2015 and put considerable effort into assessing and trialling technologies. What became apparent was that the technology was not ready for practical implementation in an underground mine, without severely compromising bandwidth and useability.
“There is still no underground operation using LTE as their prime communication and data network. There has been plenty of trials and testing, but nothing rolled out in anger.” Kent said.
“However, 5G may certainly address some of these major implementation issues, and so our latest digital platform developments have been focussed in making this network LTE/5G ready”.
This new digital mine platform is called AXON, and consists of modular hardware and software elements that can be configured to suit a mine’s physical requirements, as well as the technical requirements of the IT and operational people at a mine.
A major part of the AXON digital platform is expanding the software and business intelligence (BI) capabilities. “Mine operators are constantly pushing us to leverage the data from our tracking and vehicle data systems with more and more analytics and reporting systems. We have done this through being an open platform for third party fleet management (FMS) and enterprise systems to access data, but mines are also wanting us to provide more capability in this area.”
To this end MST acquired the Tucson based Misom Technologies 18 months ago and have been integrating their FARA (Field Analysis and Reporting Application) suite into MST’s broader eco system.
“We still remain very open to integration with third party vendors and sharing our infrastructure and data, as some mining companies prefer particular vendors’ systems. But by providing a broader range of BI means that we can meet many mines basic requirements.” Kent added.
2019 will be MST Global’s 30th year in business and looks to be shaping up as a big one, with major technology system launches and a renewed focus on ensuring mining industry is made aware of the smart things they are doing for digitization in mining.