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Mining operators are heavily reliant on the availability of reliable, always-on high-speed connectivity to support a variety of functions at mining sites including operations, security, and safety. Given that these sites are usually in remote, far-flung locations, cellular networks are not always available and cannot be relied upon for communications. Legacy satellite solutions, like VSAT and lower-bandwidth mobile satellite solutions, have served as options for either first-line or backup communications, but each has limitations and drawbacks.

In a recent webinar hosted by Engineering & Mining Journal, Intelsat’s Scott Congdon explained to an audience of mining industry professionals how Intelsat’s FlexMove solution is uniquely designed to meet the communications needs of the world’s mining organizations across any number of scenarios and use cases.

The safety and welfare of remote mining crews are always of paramount concern for mining operators. Moving workers back and forth from living quarters to the mine location can be a dangerous proposition, requiring travel through desolated and non-populated areas. FlexMove’s Comms-on-the-Move (COTM) solution can enhance both safety and worker welfare during these difficult journeys. In equipping vehicles with a COTM antenna, workers can access high-quality Wi-Fi on their personal devices for messaging and keeping in touch with loved ones. At the same time, management can track vehicle movement, monitor driving habits, collect telematics that might signal the need for maintenance, and respond more urgently should an issue arise. 

As remote exploration gets underway, teams at the mining site need to be able to quickly establish a temporary office with enough bandwidth to support basic communication, data transfer, video streaming, and specialized applications that support business continuity. In cases where the exploration sites can only be accessed for a limited period, the ability to quickly deploy a portable connectivity solution is even more pronounced. Scott explains how a FlexMove Comms-on-the-Pause (COTP) solution can enable exploration teams to quickly establish a satellite-powered Wi-Fi hotspot capable of supporting critical business functions without the involvement of a technical specialist.

Finally, mining companies continue to prioritize and increase investment in automation and virtualization. The use of remote-controlled vehicles and autonomous equipment significantly reduces costs, and boosts efficiency, while mitigating many of the worker safety issues operators face today. Without the presence of high-speed, ubiquitous connectivity, however, the automation of remote mining is simply not possible. Scott explains how equipping trucks, trains, and conveyer belts with a qualified FlexMove COTM antenna will allow mining operators to have constant, uninterrupted control of any vehicle or piece of equipment that can be operated remotely or autonomously.

According to a recent Harbor Research survey, mining industry professionals see network set up complexity, bandwidth costs, and latency issues as the top deterrents to satellite adoption. With its portability, ease of use, cost efficiency plan structure, and high throughput capability, Scott detailed how FlexMove address these issues and more. To learn more about FlexMove’s ability to support mining operators and remote teams anywhere in the world, click here to watch the webinar in its entirety.