Inmarsat says it will partner with Knight Piésold UK to deliver highly accurate tailings dam monitoring, analysis and real-time management capabilities for the mining industry.
The collaboration agreement with Knight Piésold, a member of the international geotechnical, tailings management and engineering consulting group, will combine Inmarsat’s satellite-enabled Internet of Things (IoT) solution, with Knight Piésold’s leading consultancy, Inmarsat said. “This will enable smarter decision making, improved safety standards and will support regulatory compliance; offering a new approach to the way tailings dams are currently audited and managed,” it added.
This pact comes only weeks after the tragic breach to the tailings dam at the Vale-owned Feijão mine in Brumadinho, Brazil, and a number of mining companies have published data on how they monitor these facilities.
Inmarsat said: “Mine tailing audits are typically carried out at infrequent intervals, with employees and third-party consultants making long distance trips to collect data and audit the status of the dam.
“The solution makes data available between site visits to any accredited users, anywhere in the world. This means that current, on-site auditing practices can now be supplemented with a remote, customisable, ‘daily management cycle’, with auditor recommendations and real-time decision-making now available to on-site engineers.”
Inmarsat’s solution collects data from a range of industry standard sensors via edge connectivity such as Long Range Wide Area Network, before it is transferred across Inmarsat’s L-band satellite network to a single cloud dashboard. This enables mining companies and national regulators to gain a comprehensive view of the status of their dams with granular metrics such as pond elevation, piezometric pressures, inclinometer readings and weather conditions displayed in one place, no matter where the mine is located, according to the company. The solution is also highly versatile and features sensor-agnostic capabilities, so it will work with both existing sensors and new devices, Inmarsat said.
Richard Elmer, Regional Manager for Knight Piésold UK, said: “The current tailings auditing and management business consists of semi-annual or annual site visits with recommendations based on these visits. Instrumentation data is often collected on-site and mining companies are largely reliant on human activity for the collection, storage and analysis of the data.
“Our collaboration with Inmarsat provides our clients access to the latest and best available technology for real time data collection and analysis. We see this as a game changing improvement in how companies monitor their current tailings storage facilities and we are proud to be at the forefront of this latest industry innovation.”
Paul Gudonis, President of Inmarsat Enterprise, said: “We have been working with Knight Piésold’s UK practice since 2017 to develop an approach to tailings dam monitoring that supports smarter, safer and more regulated mining practices. Following successful trials, we are pleased to be able to bring what we believe to be a truly disruptive solution to market. We know that the industry is committed to zero harm and, by teaming with Knight Piésold to launch this tailings dam solution, this is another step towards achieving complete health, safety and operational success in the mining sector.”