Inmarsat and Glass Terra develop tailings monitoring solutions

Inmarsat is combining its tailing dam monitoring solution with Glass Terra’s IoT light detection and ranging (LIDAR) capabilities in a new collaboration between the companies.

The combined solution will provide real-time technologies for transparent tailings facility management in Australia.

The partnership will enable technicians and auditors to monitor the structural integrity of tailings dams, as well as piezometric pressure, water quality and flow rate in real-time. This allows for more informed and safer tailings management.

Inmarsat and Glass Terra will conduct a proof of concept project to monitor a key embankment in real-time at the abandoned Mount Morgan mine in Queensland.

GlassTerra has installed one of its LIDAR sensors at the site to demonstrate the safety benefits of real-time tailings embankments monitoring, build a three-dimensional picture of the dam and detect soil slippage or movement in the embankment.

Inmarsat will then deploy its instrument agnostic solution, which visualises key data on its cloud dashboard via its broadband global area network (BGAN) satellite connectivity, allowing miners to manage their tailings facilities.

Inmarsat director of mining innovation Joe Carr said he was excited about the collaboration between the two companies.

“(The) project will mark the first time LIDAR and real-time instrument monitoring being used in tandem like this,” Carr said.

“It represents a steep change in terms of the detailed data picture that engineers will be able to access, increasing their ability to manage mine tailings facilities effectively.

“Satellite connectivity-enabled tailings monitoring solutions, such as those delivered by Inmarsat, can play a pivotal role in providing this kind of transparency at closed mine sites where there is no connectivity infrastructure, as well as at active mines in remote areas.”

Glass Terra chief compliance officer Sophia Li said real-time monitoring would enhance the safety of tailings facilities and the community, as well as improving protection of the environment and advancing the industry’s social performance.

“The combined solution will demonstrate the ability to conduct real-time monitoring of unplanned movements of earth such as embankments on tailings facilities,” Li said.

“Currently, under safety regulations, unplanned movements of earth are generally classed as high potential incidents, which need to be reported and investigated.

“Real-time monitoring of tailings facilities’ embankments enables prompt reporting and investigation and mitigation of high potential incidents.”

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