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AeroScout and Mine Site Technologies Announce Numerous Deployments for Tracking Personnel and Assets in Mines Across the Globe

9/16/09 - AeroScout in a partnership with Mine Site Technologies (MST) announced that Newmont's Leeville Gold Mine has deployed AeroScout and MST's Wi-Fi RFID solutions for tracking workers, equipment and vehicles. The deployment highlights a period of strong global momentum for AeroScout and MST in the mining industry, as mining companies focus on improving safety and productivity.

AeroScout's Asset Tracking and Management solution for mines leverages on-the-surface and underground Wi-Fi networks to deliver automated monitoring of the location of equipment or people throughout underground tunnels and above-ground facilities. The solution is ideal for:

  • Mustering and Worker Safety
  • Security and Access Control
  • Truck and Load Haul Dump Vehicle Tracking
  • Mining Equipment Visibility

AeroScout Wi-Fi Tags and equipment are available in intrinsically safe form-factors for use in coal mines. The tags, which can be worn by miners or mounted to vehicles and equipment, transmit critical information over a mine's standard Wi-Fi network to AeroScout's MobileView software, which provides a real-time visual representation of the assets in the mine. MobileView allows mining facilities to track and manage assets through an easy-to-use interface, a variety of reports and rules-based alerts.

In the past year, MST has successfully deployed mining solutions based on its ImPact Wireless Network and AeroScout's Unified Asset Visibility solutions to improve safety and efficiency at mines across five continents, including:

  • Newmont's Leeville Gold Mine in Nevada, U.S.A.
  • Barrick Gold's Goldstrike Mine in Nevada, U.S.A.
  • Xstrata's Beltana Coal Mine in Australia
  • Crinum East Coal Mine in Australia
  • Yunnan Copper Corporation's Dahongshan Copper Mine in China
  • Agnico Eagle's Kittila Mine in Finland
  • Konkola Copper Mines in Zambia

"Mines are highly complex facilities with limited communication paths available due to the nature of the underground environment and, hence, face special challenges in achieving mine-wide, real-time asset visibility," said Denis Kent, business development manager at Mine Site Technologies. "The integration of AeroScout's leading Wi-Fi asset tracking technology with our ImPact underground digital networks provides a reliable, highly scalable Asset Tracking and Management solution that serves the specific needs and circumstances of mining. The solution is also easy to integrate with a wide range of the enterprise systems used by mines."

Newmont's Leeville Gold Mine has deployed 500 AeroScout Wi-Fi Tags, with 450 of those integrated in the ICCL miners' cap lamps for improved safety and mustering. The remainder of the tags are used to monitor vehicles and other high value assets.

Newmont is committed to ensuring the safety of all of its workers, while still delivering efficiencies and maximizing results. A mine site environment presents some very specific challenges -- Newmont chose AeroScout and MST because of their industry expertise and market-leading technology and solutions.

The Leeville Gold Mine has a total underground network consisting of 40 MST ImPact Wi-Fi POE Access Points and 45 ImPact Wireless Access Point / 4 Way Fiber Network Switches. The access points relay tag transmissions to the network, as well as provide the backbone for VoIP phones. In addition to the safety benefits of tracking personnel underground, the digital network allows for the uploading of enterprise data, which contributes to the overall management and efficiency of the operation.

Similar to Leeville Gold Mine, the other MST mining clients are using AeroScout solutions to operate more efficiently and improve mine safety. All of Beltana Coal Mine's workers, for example, wear cap lamps with integrated Wi-Fi Tags, enabling their location to be tracked over the ImPact Wi-Fi network installed by MST. The location of every worker can be viewed on a map using AeroScout's MobileView software, which also enables users to search for the location of specific workers at any given time. In the event of an emergency, AeroScout's solution can be used to automate the mustering process, ensuring that all workers in the mine are quickly and accurately accounted for at specific evacuation points.

"Safety is a top priority for mines everywhere," said Amir Ben-Assa, industry solutions marketing director at AeroScout. "At the same time, mines are under similar pressure as every other business to cut costs and increase equipment utilization levels. We offer mines a proven solution that will help them operate safer and with greater efficiency. Since it leverages standard Wi-Fi networks, the AeroScout and MST mining solution is cost-effective to install and delivers complete asset and worker visibility in complex mining environments."

By Robert Hoskins

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