Canadian Mining Journal


TAILINGS: Inmarsat and Knight Piesold to deliver real-time, tailings dam monitoring

How data from Inmarsat and engineering expertise from Knight Piesold can revolutionize the monitoring of tailings dams.

UNITED KINGDOM – Inmarsat, the world leader in global mobile satellite communications, today announced it will be joining forces with Knight Piesold UK to deliver highly accurate tailings dam monitoring, analysis and real-time management capabilities for the mining industry.

The collaboration agreement with Knight Piesold UK, a member of the international geotechnical, tailings management and engineering consulting group, will combine Inmarsat’s satellite-enabled IoT (internet of things) solution, with Knight Piesold’s industry leading consultancy. This will enable smarter decision making, improved safety standards and will support regulatory compliance; offering a new approach to the way tailings dams are currently audited and managed.

Mine tailing audits are typically carried out at infrequent intervals, with employees and third-party consultants making long distance trips to collect data and audit the status of the dam. The solution makes data available between site visits to any accredited users, anywhere in the world. This means that current, on-site auditing practices can now be supplemented with a remote, customisable, ‘daily management cycle’, with auditor recommendations and real-time decision making now available to on-site engineers.

Inmarsat’s solution collects data from a range of industry standard sensors via edge connectivity such as LoRaWAN (Long Range Wide Area Network), before it is transferred across Inmarsat’s L-band satellite network to a single cloud dashboard. This enables mining companies and national regulators to gain a comprehensive view of the status of their dams with granular metrics such as pond elevation, piezometric pressures, inclinometer readings and weather conditions displayed in one place, no matter where the mine is located. The solution is also highly versatile and features sensor-agnostic capabilities, so it will work with both existing sensors and new devices.

Working with Inmarsat means mining companies only need one technology partner to manage all of their remote tailings requirements, anywhere in the world, and with Knight Piesold UK, they have a respected, independent, leading industry auditor with extensive experience of international tailings management. The solution will be available to all of Knight Piesold’s clients immediately.

Richard Elmer, regional manager for Knight Piesold UK, said, “Our collaboration with Inmarsat provides our clients access to the latest and best available technology for real-time data collection and analysis. We see this as a game changing improvement in how companies monitor their current tailings storage facilities and we are proud to be at the forefront of this latest industry innovation.”

Commenting on the new solution and partnership, Paul Gudonis, president of Inmarsat Enterprise, said, “We have been working with Knight Piesold’s UK practice since 2017 to develop an approach to tailings dam monitoring that supports smarter, safer and more regulated mining practices. Following successful trials we are pleased to be able to bring what we believe to be a truly disruptive solution to market. We know that the industry is committed to zero harm and by teaming with Knight Piésold to launch this tailings dam solution, this is another step towards achieving complete health, safety and operational success in the mining sector.”

Inmarsat is a leading provider of managed Industrial IoT services across the mining world, and has an unrivalled track record of operating the world’s most reliable and secure commercial satellite networks for 40 years, meaning it is well placed to help organizations succeed in their IoT initiatives.

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