The Internet of Things (IoT) is the rapidly growing network of connected objects that can collect, analyse and exchange data using embedded sensors. Fleets, equipment and even people can all be connected using IoT. The IoT device is linked to an IP network which is connected to the global internet, using a satellite. This enables the transfer of data over long distances and in remote locations that can improve safety and sustainability on-site.

Current IoT mining uses

The technology has the potential to improve safety, automate machinery operations and facilitate predictive rather than preventative maintenance. Assets can be traced in real-time and the data gathered can be analysed and then acted upon straight away.

Rio Tinto and BHP have already adopted integrated remote operations centres in Perth, Western Australia. The centres are used to monitor iron ore operations 1500km away in the remote Pilbara. Further, Rio Tinto’s processing excellence centres in Brisbane, Queensland monitor live data to optimise processing in Australia, Mongolia and the US.

Environmental monitoring and sustainability

Reports released by Inmarsat, a global mobile satellite company, reveal that IoT is increasingly being used to help with environmental monitoring. Resource-heavy mining operators are under increasingly stringent environmental regulations and corporate social responsibility policies, the technology is proving extremely useful in satisfying these demands.

The innovation of environmental monitoring is an exciting development for the technology. A study involving 100 global mining companies found that 47% identify monitoring environmental changes as their number one priority for the technology. Highlighting the importance of such a breakthrough.

It has the potential to dramatically reduce the impact that mining operations has on the environment. The technology will allow for operators to monitor in real time their assets and their impact. As a result there are more accurate and responsive actions to potential issues, reducing environmental damage.

Safety solutions using IoT

An average of 9 mine workers die every year, the industry still has the third highest fatality rate of any industry. IoT technology can help mitigate some of the risks associated with working on a mine. The technology can remove workers from high-risk environments, automate key processes and monitor locations remotely.

Health and safety regulations are driving the adoption of IoT as the sector strives to meet its obligations to staff, governments and stakeholders. The wearable IoT technology provides a safeguard to potentially dangerous conditions. The system of connected devices and sensors allow machines and equipment to react in real-time to hazardous conditions. This prevents the need for human intervention and removes workers from dangerous situations.

IoT is proceeding to innovate the mining industry’s incredibly important safety and productivity outcomes. If you would like to discover how Bend-tech is contributing to site safety and productivity download our free Access and Inspection Door white paper.