Mines are challenging environments. The terrain where mines operate is unforgiving and working conditions are perilous, so effective technology is essential for improving safety.
Even in uncommissioned mines, safety and security is of paramount importance. A new manganese mine in Kuruman recently installed a site-wide network of IP-based security cameras in order to monitor the safety of construction workers and to secure the site, and will not only continue to use the network to ensure the safety of miners once the operation is commissioned, but will grow the number of cameras as the mining gets underway.
The installation, done by specialist company I3S Security Solutions, was simple, despite the nature of the operating environment, and the extensive regulations and approval processes for each element installed. John Gerber, Shareholder of I3S Security, explains that the management of the mine had to provide authorisation for each radio, camera and pole installed, as well as their exact placement.
“Because every element in a mine can impact the operation, the regulations and requirements are extremely stringent. This mine wasn’t yet operational, and therefore this was even more important, because the security system had to be able to cover the mine’s needs once mining got started,” says Gerber. “In addition, there was no communications infrastructure in place at all, so we had to allow for that in the installation.”
As a result, I3S Security had to install a wireless connectivity solution. The company chose RADWIN point-to-point and point-to-multipoint solutions to work with the VIVOTEK IP cameras. These choices were based on meeting the mine’s needs, and the quality these products deliver, partnering with distributor Miro to ensure that the mine’s installation covered all the bases. The distributor partnered with I3S Security to ensure that the installation was a success, providing advisory services and technical expertise in addition to the products.
“This manganese mine is situated in relatively flat terrain, so there was bound to be some radio noise. We believed that the RADWIN products were the best solution to handle this situation, so we installed 47 radios on the 5.8 range, with varying channels, says Gerber. “This provided us with a wireless network that covers 12 square kilometers, allowing us to effectively utilise the camera network as well as provide infrastructure for the Access control system.”
Over 150 VIVOTEK cameras of varying types are currently installed, with more being added on a regular basis. These cover all areas of the mine, from the construction village, to the shaft, to the entry turnstiles, and everything in between. “We chose the VIVOTEK range because these cameras provide clear imagery and are IP-based, so the data can be sent back to the central control room in real time. This not only provides security, but will be invaluable for safety monitoring when the mining starts,” Gerber explains.
Dennis Smith, Consultant at Miro, says that the cameras were selected due to the ease of integration with other equipment eg. Smart phones, access control systems, safety systems and Surveillance Software. The high-end network cameras were perfectly suited for outdoor environments with auto-iris lenses and IR cut filters to ensure superior video quality whatever the lighting conditions night and day. The high-resolution 2 to 5 megapixel video recording, was essential to securing the mine.