IT Brief Australia logo
Technology news for Australia's largest enterprises
Story image

Digging a little deeper - the role of network monitoring in mining

By Julia Gabel
Wed 18 Oct 2017
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Like other industries, recently mining has been going through a technological shake up.

In addition to improvements in automation and safety, sophisticated new IT solutions are boosting productivity and competitiveness whilst reducing operational costs.

Case in point, Fortescue Metals Group - one such mining organisation that has reported enormous gains, including 10 and 20% increases in productivity alongside $30 million in annual cost savings, thanks to its deployment of advanced technologies across a number of mining sites.

Fortescue Metals Group has reported its use of real-time reporting of productivity data to mobile devices of its field operations team, and its use of autonomous haul trucks are at the heart of these rewards.

With the adoption of advanced and connected equipment, including driverless mining trucks, on-board and off-board computer systems and remote operations centres, the need to monitor assets and networks has brought with it a new set of requirements for the IT infrastructure of mining organisations.

For example, with a huge focus on boosting productivity within mining, there is significant pressure on ensuring that technology remains operating 24/7.

High levels of redundancy are expensive and will not be an option for numerous remote mining sites, which makes proactive detection of imminent failures paramount.

With this in mind, the need to monitor assets, and the networks connecting them, is critical to mining today.

But with the potential for so many “connected” machines and processes on a mining site at any given time, knowing where to start is often the first hurdle to successful network monitoring, both in mining and beyond.

The role of remote power

The first area of consideration is the foundation of any operations - that is remote power.

With the wireless network, delivering power to a number of access points across a large mine can only be achieved with remote power, such as solar, generators and wind.

These solar solutions are engineered specifically for particular mines as precise calculations are required to place solar panels successfully across a site, to meet energy demands.

Despite the mathematics involved, due to maintenance issues and other environmental factors, a number of these solar deployments have gone offline due to depleted batteries and lack of generated power from the solar panels.

However, many mining companies have seen the light and recognised the potential of connecting their power sources to their networks and allowing network monitoring to do the watching for them.

For example, if a battery begins to deplete more than expected, or if the voltage is incorrect, employees across a mine can be notified and can proactively resolve issues with power before they occur.

Mining equipment monitoring

With the introduction of autonomous and semi-autonomous mining trucks comes the emergence of a huge number devices on a mining site’s network.

These machines (or devices) are constantly feeding data back to the operation and maintenance teams, whether they are fully autonomous vehicles or not.

This has increased the perimeters of a mine’s network immensely and results in huge volumes of data being sent across sites, and to alternative locations, from across machines.

Interfacing these systems, to collect and fully leverage the data coming from a mine, requires a huge amount of customisation – from database sensors and custom scripting, to the deployment of gateways to successfully convert data.

That said, for those who make such changes, the rewards will be worth it - the potential applications for this type of monitoring on a mine include vehicle position, load data and vehicle health - critical to increasing productivity hugely.

For example, if any sensors are unresponsive on a machine, vehicle operators are alerted and can respond accordingly - hopefully able to fix problems as they arise, to keep machines running.

Mine site environmental monitoring

Most mines can be environmentally challenging to work in.

Dust, moisture, water run-off, as well as outdoor exposure to sunlight, wind and rain.

This can undoubtedly have an impact on the equipment, operators and the community living nearby.

Government bodies in Australia such as the New South Wales Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have been tasked to monitor and minimise the environmental impact from the neighbouring coal mines, which directly impacts the coal mines and the environmental levels that they have to adhere to.

Mining companies have a responsibility to minimise the impact of their operations within the local environment, it is therefore vital that they are able to easily measure environmental metrics such as air and water quality, noise levels, ground stability, wind speed and direction and humidity.

For example, weather stations have quickly become another go-to connected device used by mining organisations to monitor environments and pull data from sites regardless or whether they are stationed and with no disruption to the workforce.

As we’ve seen with remote power and equipment monitoring, environmental data can be fed back to teams across a mining project or organisation, in a timely manner, to keep people and machines safe and operations running smoothly.

As the mining industry becomes more connected, tools to monitor physical sites, people and machines will become critical to everyday operations.

With the ability to provide visibility into mining operations, network monitoring holds the key to tremendous gains including increasing productivity and bonus cost savings.

In addition, network monitoring allows mining to dig a little deeper - providing the visibility into the technology infrastructure to ensure issues are detected before they become critical disruptions.

Article by George Wilson, director of sales operation, APAC, Paessler AG - PRTG Network Monitor

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Infoblox's State of Security Report spotlights Australian remote work hazards
Attackers exploit weak WiFi, remote endpoints, and the cloud, costing 50% of organisations over $1.3 million in breach damages.
Story image
Cradlepoint expands its Cellular Intelligence capabilities
Cradlepoint has announced additional Cellular Intelligence capabilities with its NetCloud service.
Story image
Customer experience
Research unveils precarious customer loyalty for retailers
New research has found customers are reassessing established brand loyalties as their priorities and behaviours shift.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Trading up: It's time to swap core systems for flexible digital applications
This year will see more oranisations planning and commencing high tech renovations that will shake up the way they operate.
Story image
A third of companies paying ransom don’t recover data - report
Veeam's report finds 76% of businesses who are victims of cyberattacks paid the ransom to recover data, but a third were still unable to get their information back.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
SAS unveils AI experience to improve kids' batting abilities
SAS has created The Batting Lab, an interactive experience using AI, computer vision and IoT analytics to help kids improve their baseball and softball swings.
Story image
Managed service providers: effective scoping to avoid costly vendor pitfalls
Managed security services are outsourced services focusing on the security and resilience of business networks.
Story image
Airwallex launches new bank feed integration with NetSuite
Airwallex has launched a new bank feed integration with NetSuite, developed in partnership with NetSuite solution partner, Onlineone.
Story image
Ivanti and Lookout bring zero trust security to hybrid work
Ivanti and Lookout have joined forces to help organisations accelerate cloud adoption and mature their zero trust security posture in the everywhere workplace.
Story image
Fortinet's Security Fabric hits new record for integrations
The Fortinet Security Fabric has surpassed 500 technology integrations with more than 300 Fabric-Ready Technology Alliance Partners.
Story image
Adyen expands partnership with Afterpay as BNPL payments increase
Adyen has expanded its partnership with AfterPay allowing more of Adyen’s merchants in more countries worldwide to use the BNPL provider.
Story image
Remote Working
How zero trust and SD-WANs can support productive remote working
The way people connect with applications and data has changed, users are remotely accessing resources that could be stored anywhere from a corporate data center to the cloud.
Story image
Data Center
Preventing downtime costs and damage with Distributed Infrastructure Management
Distributed Infrastructure Management (DIM) can often be a lifeline for many enterprises that work with highly critical ICT infrastructure and power sources.
Story image
Sift shares crucial advice for preventing serious ATO breaches
Are you or your business struggling with Account Takeover Fraud (ATO)? One of the latest ebooks from Sift can provide readers with the tools and expertise to help launch them into the new era of account security.
Story image
Application Security
What are the DDoS attack trend predictions for 2022?
Mitigation and recovery are vital to ensuring brand reputation remains solid in the face of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack and that business growth and innovation can continue.
Story image
Voxel hits total funding of $18M following ongoing wins
Since raising its seed round in September, Voxel has grown at pace, by decreasing on-site injuries by upwards of 80% and increasing operational productivity.
Story image
Workato unveils enhancements to enterprise automation platform
"The extra layer of protection with EKM, zero-logging, and hourly key rotation gives customers a lot more visibility and control over more sensitive data."
Story image
Google and CSIRO use AI to help protect the Great Barrier Reef
Google has partnered with CSIRO in Australia to implement AI solutions that help protect the Great Barrier Reef.
Story image
Grasping the opportunity to rethink the metrics of a sustainable data centre
A data centre traditionally has two distinct operations teams: the Facility Operations team, and the IT Operations team. Collaboration between them is the key to defining, measuring, and delivering long-term efficiency and sustainability improvements.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
CFOs using digital workers and AI to prevent unnecessary loss
New technology is now allowing CFOs to use digital workers to automate their accounting processes, making it easier for them to avoid unnecessary losses.
Story image
Cybersecurity starts with education
In 2021, 80% of Australian organisations responding to the Sophos State of Ransomware study reported being hit by ransomware. 
Story image
Remote Working
IT teams deploy powerful technologies to enable remote work
"We found that IT teams mastered the challenges of remote work last year in large part by employing powerful yet easy-to-use technologies."
Story image
Public Cloud
Cloud adoption still a work in progress, NetApp finds
NetApp has announced the results of the annual Cloud Infrastructure Report based on a survey of public cloud business and IT decision makers.
Find out how a behavioural analytics-driven approach can transform security operations with the new Exabeam commissioned Forrester study.
Link image
Story image
Cloudflare launches instant serverless database for dev teams
"Today we’re announcing our first serverless database which we expect will quickly become one of the largest databases in the world."
Story image
Telstra, Google and Accenture launch 5G AR experience for AFL
Telstra, Google and Accenture are developing a new 5G powered augmented reality (AR) experience at Melbourne's Marvel Stadium for the footy season.
Story image
BeyondTrust integrates Password Safe solution with SailPoint
BeyondTrust has announced the integration of BeyondTrust Password Safe with SailPoint identity security offerings.
Story image
The 'A-B-C' of effective application security
Software applications have been a key tool for businesses for decades, but the way they are designed and operated has changed during the past few years.
Story image
9/10 Aussies to stop spending if personal data compromised
"Based on the patterns we are seeing among Australian consumers, it is evident that trust in a brand is exceptionally important."
Story image
New SAS service overcomes subscription fatigue for media companies
SAS has launched SAS 360 Match which helps media companies move towards a AVOD model to generate revenue as subscribers cancel.
Story image
HINDSITE wins Aerospace Xelerated Pitch Challenge with solution to support Boeing
Brisbane-based startup HINDSITE was the winner of the first ever Pitch Challenge organised by Aerospace Xelerated in partnership with Queensland XR Hub. 
Story image
Apple previews new features for users with disabilities
Apple says new software features that offer users with disabilities new tools for navigation, health and communication, are set to come out later this year.
For every 10PB of storage run on HyperDrive vs. comparable alternatives, an estimated 6,656 tonnes of CO₂ are saved by reduced energy consumption alone over its lifespan. That’s the equivalent of taking nearly 1,500 cars off the road for a year.
Link image
Story image
Data solutions
South Australia state satellite makes significant progress
South Australia’s first state satellite has successfully completed the Critical Design Review (CDR), moving it closer to providing tangible data solutions.
Story image
A10 Networks finds over 15 million DDoS weapons in 2021
A10 Networks notes that in the 2H 2021 reporting period, its security research team tracked more than 15.4 million Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) weapons.
Story image
Power at the edge: the role of data centers in sustainability
The Singaporean moratorium on new data center projects was recently lifted, with one of the conditions being an increased focus on power efficiency and sustainability.
Story image
SAS Viya on Microsoft Azure to deliver 204% return - study
The Forrester Total Economic Impact study finds SAS Viya on Microsoft Azure brings a 204% return on investment over three years.
Story image
Could your Excel practices be harming your business?
While Excel has been the de-facto standard for budgeting, planning, and forecasting, is it alone, enough to support organisations in the global marketplace that’s facing rapid changes due to digital transformation?
Story image
Digital Transformation
The impact of COVID-19 on healthcare environments and care delivery
The COVID-19 pandemic has revolutionised the healthcare industry while overcoming staff shortages, social distancing requirements, and lockdowns.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
AI-based email security platform Abnormal Security valued at $4B
"A new breed of cybersecurity solutions that leverage AI is required to change the game and stop the rising threat of sophisticated and targeted email attacks."
Story image
Data and analytics could be key to higher selling prices in APAC
Sisense's latest report has found that almost half of data professionals in APAC think customised data and analytics can create better selling prices for their products.
Story image
Hawaiki Cable
BW Digital completes acquisition of Hawaiki Submarine Cable
BW Digital has completed its full acquisition of Hawaiki Submarine Cable, with all applicable regulatory filings and approvals now received.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Clear Dynamics closes $35M funding round, invests in global growth
The funding is a major milestone and speaks to Clear Dynamics’ vision for AI-enabled ‘composable’ enterprise software, the company states.
Threat actors are exploiting weaknesses in interconnected IT/OT ecosystems. Darktrace illuminates your entire business and takes targeted action to stop emerging attacks.
Link image