Tag Archives: MineHop

Newcrest Toguraci Bore Pump Newtrax

Newtrax Bore Pump Monitoring System Lowers Risk of Floods at Newcrest Toguraci Mine

CASE STUDY: Newtrax Bore Pump Monitoring System Lowers Risk of Floods at Newcrest Toguraci Mine

Newcrest Toguraci Bore Pump Newtrax

Abstract: By teaming up with Newtrax, Newcrest’s Toguraci Mine was able to implement a dewatering solution that made their mine safer and more productive. It has proven to lower the risk of flooding while at the same time reducing downtime of standard operations when flooding did occur. Lastly, by moving past hardwire interlocking connections and replacing them with wireless network controls, Toguraci has made their mine into a safer work environment.  

Introduction

The Toguraci Mine in Gosowong, Indonesia has been in operation since 1999. It is operated by the Indonesian mining company PT Nusa Halmahera Minerals (PTNHM). 75% of the project is owned by Newcrest, an Australian based company and one of the world’s largest gold producers.

Gosowong is a small, remote island located off the coast of Indonesia. Because of its location, and the extreme depth of the mine, it is affected by intense and invasive flooding of high-temperature water. Ground water that makes its way into underground workings is up to 80 degrees Celsius further compounding surface air temperature and humidity problems as well as nullifying any cooling initiatives. This, in effect, slowed down production and endangered the lives of mine workers. Furthermore, cooling of the air that was brought underground to 16 degrees Celsius had little effect on the wet-bulb temperature of the face.

Over time, Toguraci realized that operating under their current flooding conditions was no longer realistic and began to seek out advice and guidance for a more permanent solution that would be both cost-effective and safer for their employees. Toguraci reached out to Newtrax in 2016 to form a partnership.

Together, they were able to implement an IoT based telemetry system designed especially for Toguraci. The implementation of this system has made their mine much safer while also maximizing productivity.

Challenges

The Toguraci mine operation is a small mine (1.5ktpd) that needs to pump 300 Litres per second for dewatering purposes. Flooding of specific areas would shut down the production of the mine from several hours to several days and occurred frequently over the course of many months.

There were many causes of flooding in the mine:

  • Changes in the earth’s water table levels that occur due to heavy rains or other natural events
  • Internal issues with the mines dewatering pump system and stations
  • Inability to take timely action when changes in water levels occur due to mining activities

Besides flooding, Toguraci is also affected by unusually high water temperatures ranging from 70-80 degrees Celsius. Water at this temperature causes 3rd-degree burns if it comes into contact with human skin. The high water temperature also causes the earth and the mud that surrounds the mine to become extremely hot. Besides the threat of burns to personnel, these high temperatures change the climate of the mine, making the mine extremely hot and humid to the point of it being unsafe for workers to enter.

Newtrax Global Support Manager, Martina Barnett, explained how Toguraci used to manage their dewatering pump system and how that system was defective.

“They had a problem with their pump interlock, because the way that they would implement their dewatering was in multi-stages. If the pumps on one level stop working, the pumps that feed into that pump also need to stop working. Otherwise the [mine] floods.”

She went on to break down how the borehole pump system is configured at Toguraci, explaining that, there are three levels of pumps that were being controlled manually and by hardwire connections.

Newtrax Global Support Manager, Martina Barnett, on site at Toguraci mine

The lowest level borehole pumps were responsible for the intake of water coming directly from the earth’s water table. When it would fill to capacity, overflow water would then be distributed to the midlevel holding tanks (or “fish tanks”). When the Fish tanks reach capacity, they would pump water to the top level holding tanks. Communication between the different levels of holding tanks was facilitated through a hardwire system, enabling the lower holding tank to know when the fish tanks above were full.

Unfortunately, the connection was often lost and the midlevel tanks would flood, creating substantial damage and setbacks before workers were able to rectify the situation. When these issues would arise, an employee would then be sent, sometimes by boat, to manually turn off the tanks and manage the pumps correctly to effectively dewater the mine. Having an employee descend in these hazardous conditions obviously poses many risks to the individual and subjects them to an unsuitable environment.

Solutions

Toguraci had two issues that needed to be solved in order to advance their mine and make it safer. They needed to:

  1. Enable remote control of the pumps and holding tanks. This eliminated the need to send down personnel to manage the pumps manually.
  2. Create a system that would alert relevant personnel in the times of crisis. This mitigated the damage and gave personnel more control, enabling them to get the mine back to production sooner.

With these goals in mind, Newtrax knew they needed to create a new product that would be centered around their pre-existing MineHop network. This would allow the mine to run bore pumps on a wireless network that could be accessed from anywhere in the world.

Through the years, Newtrax has gathered extensive knowledge and insight on telemetry technology and were able to use this when engineering the bore pump telemetry for Toguraci.

This project was considered nonrecurring engineering (NRE), an independent product and solution specifically crafted and designed for Toguraci with the intention of making this particular mine safer and more productive in general.

MineHop

Newtrax started by integrating the MineHop system into the current bore pump system present at Toguraci. This application was put in place to connect the equipment underground to the main network above ground. The MineHop network is able to connect individual pieces of telemetry technology and share their status and data through the networks internet connection. This is done through the use of nodes placed in and around the holding tanks that take in real-time data and transmit that information to the server on the surface.

Piezometer

Newtrax also incorporated their existing Vibrating Wire RTUs connected to piezometers, sensors which measure the water pressure in a borehole, thereby allowing the system to calculate the level of the earth’s water table. By adding these devices, personnel could see the current level of the water below ground and prepare the pumps presumptively in the event of a water pressure increase.

I/O Controllers

Induscomm I/O Controller Fan & Pump
Induscomm I/O Controller Fan & Pump

Newtrax then collaborated with Indus-Comm to create I/O controllers that are able to interface with the MineHop system.  These I/O controllers ensure easy and remote access to the pumps and monitor the status of the holding tanks. Combining the date from the I/O Controllers and the Vibrating Wire piezometer RTUs allows personnel at Toguraci to remotely close and open connections on different pieces of equipment. Indus-Comm created two separate I/O Controllers for Toguraci.

  1.  Digital Monitor/Controller- This allows for monitoring and controlling of the tanks allowing personnel to see whether they are on or off, and if there is an issue with the equipment.
  2. Analog Monitor- Allows for monitoring of flow meters and other number-based measurements.

It was important for Newtrax to enable Toguraci with wireless network access capabilities. This is why they chose to use their MineHop network to connect all the systems. Having quick, real-time information, is crucial for allowing Toguraci to recognize and fix flooding issues on the spot.

Being connected through the wireless network enabled anyone with access to the system to easily log in to the dashboard and immediately see the statuses of each pump and their location. The dashboard is animated with widgets that help personnel visualize where the problem is and how they can resolve the problem in the most timely fashion.

This is also an important key point for training new employees. Having a system that is simplistic and user-friendly lends itself to shorter training periods and less room to make mistakes.  

Newcrest Toguraci Bore Pump Newtrax

Another advantage of having an internet based system is it is easily accessible from anywhere in the world. This means that when an issue arises, personnel can quickly log in and assess how to fix the issue. They can then remotely shut off or turn on pumps to new holding tanks. Being able to do this in a timely fashion saves the mine from unnecessary damages and clean up. Having the bore pump system remotely operated also makes the mine safer by eliminating the need to send down personnel to manually manage the pumps in dangerous flooding conditions.

Outcome

The implementation of the system was completed within a week, and the actual installation of the key equipment took approximately two man days. 

The project’s aim was to reduce the insufficient performance of the existing mine pumping stations operating together as a system. Specifically, the system was forecasted to reduce the number of flooding events from the tripping of upstream / top level (primary pumps) from over 10 hours per month to less than 2 hours per month (5 x decrease in duration)  as well as generate a 2x reduction in the number of flooding events.

Since the system was implemented in April of 2016 it has greatly reduced the occurrences and effects of flooding in the mine.

By incorporating this system, it has allowed Toguraci to have a proactive approach when dealing with flooding issues. Whereas before the Newtrax system was implemented, Toguraci was only able to have a reactive response. This was achieved by enabling personnel to see real-time data that they are able to manage online.

In the event of a flood, it is easy for personnel to act fast and spring into action to avoid unnecessary damages. Having quick and accurate access to information has limited the amount of downtime and has enabled the mine to continue production while mitigating flooding issues.

Often when a company decides to integrate a new operating system it requires intense training or the hiring of an outside contractor to come in and handle the operation of the system. This is because many companies’ solutions run from software which is complicated and hard to interpret.

It was important for Toguraci and for Newtrax that the system was easy to use so the local workforce was able to operate the system themselves. As explained by Patrice Corneau, Product Owner at Newtrax Technologies, the goal was to create a system that would have

“easy configuration, easy modification for the local electrician[s]”.

 

Newtrax Product Owner, Patrice Corneau on site at Toguraci mine

Giving the local workforce the ability to manage the system themselves ultimately saves the mine a lot of money while also enabling faster response time and better outcome.

Newtrax Release 7.0

Newtrax Release 7.0

With this latest release, the biggest addition is the introduction of the Newtrax-Enabled Brando Personal Safety Device.

7.0 also includes a new payload feature for monitoring of load scales, the mobile equipment activity widget, a new look and feel for enhanced user experience and more.

Newtrax-Enabled Brando Personal Safety Device

The Brando PSD is the first device of its kind in the market to support a wide range of safety and production features including Proximity Warning, Location Tracking, Evacuation Notification and more.

  • 30% lighter, much brighter, wider spot, brighter outer ring
  • Improved LCD display for user interface
  • Three form factor options all utilizing one charging station: cordless, semi corded, and corded

— MineTrax —

MineTrax Payload Feature

The MineTrax system integrates with mobile equipment scales to ensure that every bucket load and truck load is full before being transported to its destination. This is done by using high precision onboard loader scales that relay information through Newtrax’s MineHop network to the surface about the quantity of material being moved from point A to point B as it is happening in real time.

With the ability to accurately monitor the weight being transported, mine operators will be able to increase the loads to the maximum capacity and in turn be more efficient.

— MineFace —

Mobile equipment widget

Mobile equipment activity can now be displayed as a dashboard widget with a graph option.

— MineHop —

External DC power on nodes

Wireless nodes can now be powered by AC or DC current as well as running off battery power only.

The input could be:
AC, range from 85 to 305 VAC;
DC, range from 4.5 to 18 VCD

For more information on the features released in Newtrax 7.0, please contact support@newtrax.com

Patent MineHop Battery-powered wireless network infrastructure

Newtrax Awarded Patent from USPTO for “Tracking of and Communication with Mobile Terminals Using a Battery-Powered Wireless Network Infrastructure”

Newtrax Technologies Inc. awarded U.S Patent for “Tracking of and Communication with Mobile Terminals Using a Battery-Powered Wireless Network Infrastructure”

Montreal, QC – June 30, 2016 — The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) awarded Newtrax Technologies Inc., the leading provider of safety and productivity management systems to the global underground hard rock mining industry, Patent No. 9,351,242 for “Tracking of and Communication With Mobile Terminals Using a Battery-Powered Wireless Network Infrastructure”. The company’s patents on the invention date back to 2007.

The MineHop™ battery-powered wireless network enables machines, people and instruments to remain online at the face while they work, for real-time monitoring of the mining process and short-interval control during the shift. Safety benefits include instant evacuation notification in areas where stench gas takes the longest to reach, man down detection and check-in of men working alone.

“This US patent consolidates our global patent protection for the cornerstone technology of our real-time safety and productivity management system” said Alexandre Cervinka, President & CEO of Newtrax Technologies Inc..

Newtrax’s current portfolio of patents and patents pending internationally (Canada, USA, Mexico, Peru, Chile, South Africa, Russia, China and Australia) include several innovations specific to wireless networking, tracking and proximity warning in underground mines, such as:

  • Context-aware collision avoidance devices and collision avoidance system
  • Post-accident network probe to re-establish communications with isolated sections of underground mines
  • Power management of high-bandwidth wireless mesh network

 

Newtrax - Post Accident Network Probe

The most useful tool we hope you won’t need : The Post-Accident Network Probe

The most useful tool we hope you won't need

By Craig Banks, Regional Sales Manager, USA & Canada

The Post-Accident Network Probe

 

During my fifteen year tenure in mining, I’ve had the great opportunity to visit many mines around the world to discuss applications of different technologies. Lately, I’ve been focused on the capture and reporting of underground production data from the rock face, remote monitoring of underground mining sensors, proximity detection, and safety adherence specifically for underground hard rock mines. With the many offerings from Newtrax, there is a lot to talk about when I’m onsite.

One piece of gear that has been a huge talking point with mining clients is the post-accident network probe. Here’s how it works… with a Newtrax MineHop wireless battery powered network in place for personnel and equipment tracking, we can help mining companies measure workspace performance and monitor the location of their underground assets and staff in real-time. Our system is entirely self-sufficient and MineHop continues to operate during power outages – meaning you can signal your team via their cap lamps when other means are unavailable.

post-accident network probe scenario

In the case of a serious emergency – like a major collapse or a fire near an access point – miners retreat to refuges as communications links are often severely damaged or broken. When these accidents occur, it is critical to know where to rescue (miner locations), if the miners are okay (miner movement), and what are the gas levels and ventilation system conditions. It is also crucial to be able to establish communication with the trapped miners.

With a MineHop wireless network in place and broken backhauls, a Newtrax post-accident network probe can be lowered through ventilation raises or diamond drill holes to reconnect the network. The device can instantly take advantage of the Newtrax network self-healing capability and acts as a new backhaul link giving rescuers a direct link to invaluable underground data in support of rescue.

At Newtrax, ensuring our clients get value from their investments in our equipment is top priority. However, the post-accident network probe is the one tool that we believe every underground mine should have, but that we hope will sit on a shelf in the rescue operations center.

Newtrax Selected By Ernest Henry Mining for Labour and Equipment Monitoring System

Glencore’s Ernest Henry Mining Selects Newtrax Solutions

We are very happy to announce that Newtrax has been selected by Ernest Henry Mining, a Glencore company, to supply and install a Labour and Equipment Monitoring System.
Located 38 kilometres north east of Cloncurry in north west Queensland, Australia, Ernest Henry is an underground copper and gold mining and processing operation.

After conducting an extensive tender evaluation of several vendors, Ernest Henry will trial Newtrax’s MineHop™ MineTrax™ and MineProx™ solutions as their latest Labour & Equipment Monitoring System. MineHop, Newtrax’s flagship solution, is unique in its ability to provide wireless connectivity to the most critical part of the mining process: the face. This enables mine operators to identify in real-time the bottlenecks that could be preventing them from getting the face utilization they need to achieve maximum productivity. MineTrax™ is an application that uses the RF signals from the MineHop network infrastructure and mobile terminals to determine the position of all people on foot (via the monitoring of cap lamps) as well as vehicles (through the monitoring of vehicle devices). MineProx, Newtrax’s cutting-edge Proximity Warning System utilizes sub-GHz RF technology to create a peer-to-peer network of vehicles and miners. Not only will it give out proximity warnings, the system can also be used to alert bogger operators that a truck is on its way even before it appears in its line of sight, enabling operators to prepare for the truck and improve mine production. Once implemented, all three solutions will work in tandem to provide Ernest Henry Mining with valuable tools and information to improve operational performance.

“Newtrax is rapidly growing its footprint in Australia,” said Charlie Forrest, VP Strategic Accounts, Newtrax “given current market conditions, the selection by Ernest Henry reinforces the importance of Production and Safety Solutions to reduce bottlenecks and operational costs, and ensuring zero incidents in mines in the region.”

© Photo courtesy of Glencore