Large Copper Mine goes Digital for Mine Communications & Tracking

Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) in Zambia have undertaken a major upgrade of their underground communication infrastructure by introducing MST’s digital backbone and tracking applications to their main Konkola Mine.
KCM, a subsidiary of Vedanta Resources Plc, are the largest copper producer in Zambia, with their Konkola Mine located in the northern part of the famous Zambian Copper Belt. The mine was looking to introduce advanced communications technologies to support their productivity goals through improved access to information for the management of their underground equipment and processes.
Apart from two-way voice communications using VoIP phones, Konkola is introducing a tracking system to allow better management of their equipment underground.   In particular the tracking of vehicles will allow these assets to be managed and more effectively deployed at the operation.
To achieve communication along the main roadways underground, and track equipment & vehicles, Konkola are installing:
  • 59 ImPact Wireless Network Switches (WNS). Each of MST’s WNS units consist of a 4 port, single mode gigabit fibre switches with one or two wireless radio cards, as well as 4 PoE external ports.
  • 8 ImPact PoE Access Points. These are MST’s basic single Access Points that form minor spurs off the main WNS based backbone, to provide Wi-Fi coverage at specific locations.
  • 12,000 metres (39,370 ft) of ImPact Composite Fibre/Power cable to link the ImPact WNS’s and form the main digital backbone.
  • 100 Wi-Fi  RFID Tags are being installed to begin tracking key assets. The Tags are AeroScout’s advanced T3 Wif-Fi Tag.
  • Tracking software is will be using AeroScout’s Mobile View and Positioning Engine.
  • 10 Spectralink VoIP phones are being installed initially to begin the introduction of two-way digital voice communications into the mine. This will complement the existing fixed phones and overcome the limited coverage from the mine’s existing leaky feeder radio system.
The core hardware in the digital backbone is based on MST’s ImPact Wireless Network Switches. These provide the wireless link to various Wi-Fi enabled devices, such as the VoIP phones. Importantly, they also act as the readers for the Wi-Fi enabled RFID Tags. The ImPact WNS’s are configured with single or twin radio cards; twin radios being used where immediate determination of direction of travel is required.

MST look forward to working with Konkola engineers in the introduction of digital communication to their mine, and appreciate the support offered by our representatives in Africa, Gijima AST, in securing the project and offering high quality, first line support to the mine.

More information on MST's digital communication solutions can be seen at: