The State of Global Mining Operations - Rajant Corporation

The State of Global Mining Operations

As a global leader in wireless mesh networks for mining, Rajant is fortunate to have a number of experts on staff who have their ears to the ground across the globe. With operations in over 300 mines in 80+ countries, our team is privileged to see firsthand the successes and challenges this industry brings.

Knowledge sharing is important to us, as we can’t make global mining operations safer without feedback from our partners and customers. To gather some of their input, we asked several of our employees who maintain international relationships what they’re hearing from their connections and friends who work in the mining industry. Here’s what they had to say.

Communications Challenges

We began by asking our global mining experts about some of the communication challenges their local connections face. Limitations of traditional Wi-Fi/LTE networks and a lack of reliability are commonly cited.

Here are some of the insights our team shared with us.

“With open-pit mining, my connections note the challenge of reliable data transfer throughout the entire mine footprint, including the working face. Those who work in underground operations note difficulties in getting away from very dated technologies like leaky feeder while still continuing to use existing infrastructures.” — Darrell Gillis, Sales Director, Canada

“Wi-Fi networks don’t work properly. I often hear about typical problems with roaming and coverage zones. I have a few sample emails with messages that say ‘no network at the zone/excavator operation area…please fix immediately.’” — Marcin Kusztal, Sales Director, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, TR and MN

“The typical challenges are a need for a reliable wireless network for real-time connectivity with the haulage and loading fleet. Recently, it’s been more about reliable coverage for using autonomous and tele-operated fleets. These solutions have a higher demand for bandwidth and low latency that most standard wireless networks cannot provide. Having a reliable wireless network is very critical to ensuring ROI is achieved.” — Sagar Chandra, VP of Sales, the Americas

“I most often hear four main challenges: LTE has a single point of failure; the constantly changing mining topographical environment causes coverage gaps for LTE; the deployment time is often very long for LTE/5G; and there are often inconsistencies in coverage.” — Erich Smidt, VP of Sales, EMEA

“Sufficient bandwidth for an expanding list of applications is almost always listed as a top communication challenge.” — Todd Rigby, Director of Sales.

“My connections tend to cite getting coverage right up to the face, mobility, and an easily expandable network as their top challenges.” — Marnus Kruger, Director of Sales, Africa

“More and more data and systems are becoming available now for V2X or critical mining requirements. Many systems onboard mobile assets now require more robust communications to address mining requirements. The panacea is to have a solution that can span the entire coverage of a mine and seamlessly connect to mining equipment while managing increased throughput requirements.

Dropouts, latency jitter, and ghosted data are now no longer acceptable for mining operations as they push towards autonomy in mining to improve efficiencies, system uptime, and workforce safety. The communications systems must be universal in how they adapt and connect to the mining enterprise in an almost plug-and-play nature. Mining systems now must extend beyond core mining activities onsite into remote operations centers where deeper pooled specialization can provide greater insight into optimizing the cost of mining to maintain competitiveness and meet with dynamically changing market influences.” — Troy McKay, Sales Director, APAC

Rajant’s Technology in Action

Next, we asked our global mining experts which features in our technology are the most beneficial to their partners and customers. Most often cited features include the robustness of Rajant’s Kinetic Mesh® networks as well as the redundancy and reliability they provide.

Here are their responses.

“For open-pit operations, my customers are most excited about true mobility of a mesh network with BreadCrumbs® on mobile equipment and mobile infrastructure nodes. For underground mining operations, it can easily add so many other technologies to the mesh network, such as voice, video, fan controls, air quality monitoring, and tracking. I also hear a lot about the ability to use existing infrastructure, such as fiber, LTE, and leaky feeder.” — Darrell Gillis, Sales Director, Canada

“My customers rave about Rajant’s ability for seamless scaling, autonomous packet path choosing, and ready to work.” — Marcin Kusztal, Sales Director, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, TR and MN

“The most valuable features my customers talk about are that every truck/dozer/shovel/drill with a Rajant node works like a repeater+client, helping other mining equipment to stay connected. They also mention direct machine-to-machine connectivity, which means we work with fewer infrastructure points, which helps save time and money. Finally, there are no annual expenses after the mine’s initial purchase of a Rajant network.” — Sagar Chandra, VP of Sales, the Americas

“My contacts always mention Rajant’s more robust, reliable equipment that doesn’t have a single point of failure. We offer flexibility in modifying and moving a network. Mining contractors can take the network with them. The deployment time scale for Rajant is also frequently mentioned. It’s better and faster than what cellular providers can offer. Finally, my customers always say that Rajant provides good value for the money.” — Erich Smidt, VP of Sales, EMEA

“Scalable bandwidth, continuous connectivity, and autonomous self-optimization are the three features I hear about most from my customers.” — Todd Rigby, Director of Sales.

“Mobility, high bandwidth, simplicity, and the fleet becoming the network are my customers’ favorite Rajant features.” — Marnus Kruger, Director of Sales, Africa

“Mesh/pLTE integration is the number one area of interest—my customers desire both networks. Advances in wireless technologies allow for increased throughput/speed for mining operations (future Wi-Fi 6 roadmap). They mention the ability to seamlessly connect to other communications technologies such as microwave and satellite to extend the coverage of mining operations. We simplify bringing last-mile IoT data such as pumps, lighting towers, and generators into the Rajant network. Our technology’s robustness and ability to be a safe long-term decision through backward and forward compatibility with our complete range of technologies. Now, it’s a ~7-10 year decision on a mining communications network.” — Troy McKay, Sales Director, APAC

Why Customers Choose Rajant

Finally, we asked “Why choose Rajant over other providers out there?”. Many of our representatives noted the cost, simplicity, integrations, and ease-of-use as being partners’ and customers’ favorite features.

Here are the responses our employees relayed.

“For open-pit mining, my customers note that our solutions are 10 percent of the cost of an LTE system—but without the complexities and annual fees. It’s a reliable, practical solution. For underground operations, it’s often the cost, ease of deployment, and the ability to use existing infrastructures. They love that Rajant’s technology is made for harsh and difficult conditions.” — Darrell Gillis, Sales Director, Canada

“It’s the easy deployment, simple integration with existing Wi-Fi infrastructure, and seamless extension of the communication area that my customers most often cite as reasons they chose Rajant.” — Marcin Kusztal, Sales Director, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, TR and MN

“Our solution is uniquely designed to provide continuous, reliable, and scalable solutions for the ever-changing working environment in mining operations. With more than 300 mining installations, we have proven that even with fewer infrastructure locations and with higher demand to send data and video, Rajant’s Kinetic Mesh Network will continue to deliver connectivity in real-time.” — Sagar Chandra, VP of Sales, the Americas

“If mines have LTE, they are foregoing 5G because it’s the same as installing a new network. Therefore, the opportunity to install a ‘complementary’ Rajant network that can interface with the existing LTE. Rajant is a trusted solution for open-pit mining operators.” — Erich Smidt, VP of Sales, EMEA

“Simply put, we have a proven track record. Our networks are reliable and provide the needed bandwidth to get the job done.” — Todd Rigby, Director of Sales, Africa, Asia/Pacific, North America, South America, and Europe

“Many of my customers came to us after hearing our praises from others in the industry. They love our simple pricing model without hidden charges, and we keep our promises on what our technology can do. They also love the rugged design of our products.” — Marnus Kruger, Director of Sales, Africa

“We have a global track record and partner capability. Our technology can handle higher throughput than other solutions, making us the best choice for V2X and critical mining operations. We also offer competitive pricing and future-proof operations for inevitable increases in technology and data requirements. The reliability our networks provide allows our customers to connect in environments that other solutions just can’t, allowing them to push their network further.”  — Troy McKay, Sales Director, APAC

We love getting feedback from our global network of partners and customers, who continuously tell us what we’re getting right and where we can improve. It’s our pleasure to work together toward safer more efficient mining operations across the globe.

Watch these videos to see Rajant’s technology that effectively powers mining operations.