Discovering and exploiting new mining opportunities is becoming more and more challenging. The relative scarcity of resources is driving organizations to operate in increasingly remote environments.
The remote mining exploration sites are usually cut off from telecommunication infrastructure and services, making mission-critical communications extremely challenging. On the other hand, no matter what phase the mine site is in – exploration, development, operation or relocation – there is a vital need for effective communications between remote sites and corporate offices to improve efficiency, meet production targets and commercial goals. The ability to deliver voice, data and video connectivity will impact every element of a site’s operations.
A large mining operator approached neXat when it began establishing new mining sites in West Africa. The company already had a central office in Accra (connected through Leased Line) acting as a regional African Hub. The remote mining exploration sites were located in areas cut off from terrestrial telecommunication infrastructure and services, making mission-critical communications extremely challenging. Our solution allowed implementing cost efficient, high quality communications.
It was installed and operational within a short timeframe (less than four hours) using the Point & Play® feature of the antenna pointing and Plug & Play® procedure of the Modem installation. The IDU has been pre-programmed by our technical support team in Brussels before shipping. Finally our in-country local partner for each site provided installation and maintenance trainings.
Private and reliable
Our solution established a Private Network between new remote exploration sites and European HQ as well as the regional HQ in Accra. It enabled the real-time sharing of information between all locations for improved decision-making, bypassing unreliable local Telco networks. All communications between remote sites, regional quarter and headquarters are secured through VPN tunnelling using private IP addresses and traffic encryption.
The remote sites have to function as an extension of their corporate network. Employees in these remote sites have to run essential business tools, especially SAP, as well as transfer large data files and access the Internet for emails and web browsing.
For miner welfare activities, neXat provided its SOHO pre-paid service package for each remote site. This enables the customer to pay for bandwidth only when used, providing a good web browsing experience and email access, as well as access to Skype and other VoIP and IP video conferencing applications.
Management and monitoring
neXat empowered the customer with a powerful proprietary Web-based Customer Management Tool (CMT) for service management and monitoring. This tool will enable the customer to monitor service quality (antenna pointing, signal-to-noise ratio, etc.) and service usage (data rate and volume used) as well as activate new sites, set the appropriate service plan for them, and terminate or upgrade/downgrade existent sites depending on the evolvement of each site’s communication requirements.
A complete operational network was achieved within six weeks of the initial order. The proposed solution was based on a highly available leased satellite capacity on Astra 4A covering all Sub-Saharan Africa, uplinked via a state-of-art teleport located in Luxembourg, connected through multiple and redundant fibre links to the Internet Backbone delivered by Tier 1 providers.
Two ruggedised low cost VSAT terminals have been installed in each remote location to deliver two separate networks: one for professional and corporate activities and the second for miner entertainment and social purposes. Both service plans delivered highly cost effective IP access-based satellite services for the company’s business communication needs, as well as access to social media and tools for miner entertainment activities. This included the initial site survey, shipping, customs clearance, training, installation and testing. neXat solution delivered a high speed, highly available platform for the company’s voice and data services in each of its new remote sites in Africa.
The company benefited from a highly reliable, high performance remote communications network that could be quickly and cost-effectively installed and was flexible enough to accommodate the exacting, bandwidth-hungry requirements of a modern mining operation.