IMEC Mining owns and operates iron ore mines in South Australia, including the Iron Baron, Iron Knob and South Middleback Ranges sites.
These operations have a combined total output of more than 10 million tonnes of iron ore every year. The sites are mined for hematite, which is primarily exported by rail and sea, and magnetite, which is used locally within the Whyalla steelworks.
SIMEC had previously used analogue radio solutions on its earlier sites, but with the re-opening of Iron Baron in 2011, the limitations of analogue were identified.
Analogue systems suffered from numerous coverage blackspots, meaning there were periods when either vehicles or individuals could not be contacted.
There were also issues with radio users talking over each other, blocked calls and no feedback as to whether a call had gone through, while the audio quality was poor.
Enhanced functionality to evolve the system was also not available.
Investigating the options to deploy a critical communication solution, SIMEC turned to TETRA, identifying functionality that could significantly improve safety and efficiency on site.
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